A National Book Award Finalist offers an intense portrait of an abusive relationship.
Johanna is steadfast, patient, reliable; the go-to girl, the one everyone can count on. But always being there for others can’t give Johanna everything she needs - it can’t give her Reeve Hartt.
Reeve is fierce, beautiful, wounded, elusive; a flame that draws Johanna’s fluttering moth. Johanna is determined to get her, against all advice, and to help her, against all reason. But love isn’t always reasonable, right?
In the precarious place where attraction and need collide, a teenager experiences the dark side of a first love, and struggles to find her way into a new light.
Protagonist Johanna has survived a difficult childhood, and her experiences have made her a rescuer; she nurtures others at cost to herself. Johanna attracts Reeve, the girl she wants badly. Reeve is scarred and broken; her horrible past enrages her. Reeve is abusive to Johanna, who is determined to redeem her violent lover and salvage their toxic relationship. Can Johanna find clarity and manage to change her fate? Narrator Elizabeth Evans’ gutsy pitch and attitude perfectly match Johanna’s unflinchingly honest description of life in a poor town. No one is above the fray in this world, everyone seems to give pain as well as receive it. Evans sounds older than the character she portrays, but her plain and pithy delivery manifests Johanna’s toughness and vulnerability.
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A love story it isn't.
Yes and no. As a novel no. As a story to understand obsession based on looks yes. Johanna ignores all the signs that tell her Reeve is a user and abusive taker just because she is beautiful to Johanna. Johanna had something missing in her to react like this.
Predictable but probably what would happen in a case like this.
no. The story was told.
- BRUCE L. MANSFIELD