Release Date: October, 2012
- Somewhat unbelievable. There were times in this book that I thought things were a little too convenient. For instance, I couldn’t really decide why Vere’s family would have been asked to help with Hunter’s “unmaking.” After all, he had all sorts of people who picked out his wardrobe and made decisions for him – surely they could have found clothes that would help him blend in in a small town and coach him on how to act normal. It certainly would have been safer that way since they didn’t want anyone to know his big secret. But, of course, if it had happened that way, there wouldn’t be a book!
- Teen dialogue. I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the book when Vere and her best friend act and talk like vapid teen girls – discussing how hot this or that boy is and just generally sounding air-headed. Thankfully, this mostly seemed to resolve itself by the time Hunter came into the picture and the real story got underway and I was really able to enjoy the story!
- Hunter/Dustin. At first, Hunter comes off as spoiled – full of himself and angry at the world despite his success. His antics are more than a little reminiscent of some real-life young pop stars’ lives – I’m sure that the parallels are not accidental. But it doesn’t take long to realize that there’s a lot of angst behind Hunter’s anger. The pressure and loneliness has gotten to him and the only way he knows to respond is by lashing out childishly. When Hunter is transformed into Dustin, he finds that he actually enjoys being a dorky kid who isn’t the center of attention – in fact kids at school avoid him whenever possible. (And geeky Dustin is actually great fun – I loved him!) But, Hunter is most endearing because of his crush on Vere. He sees Vere for who she is because she’s able to be herself around him for some reason (she thinks it’s because Dustin is a made-up person, so she doesn’t have to be nervous around him – there’s a little lapse in logic there, but I practiced a little suspension of disbelief). Yet, he loves the little quirks that make her Vere, even those that some other people might find odd. Vere transforms Hunter into a sympathetic character – she brings out the sweet, caring boy that hides behind his self-absorbed mask.
- Vere. Vere is one of those characters who could very easily be annoying – she’s the stereotypical super-shy unpopular girl who can’t cope in social situations (she has a reason for her sudden shyness, but I didn’t completely understand why the incident she describes would cause her so much agony). But, again, it’s Vere’s interactions with Hunter that save her character. With Hunter, she lets her guard down and comes out of her shell. She is funny and sarcastic with him and you start to see how Hunter might love her quirks after all. When you see Vere through Hunter’s eyes, she sort of transforms from an awkward girl into a charming, fun, amazing person!
- The romance. Well, this book is all about the romance, so if I loved the book, it only stands to reason that I was rooting for Vere and Hunter the whole time. And, yep, I was. They were pretty much irresistible together!
- Depression. Okay, it seems a bit odd for me to list “depression” as a positive, but Hunter’s battle with depression is a major factor in this book and I thought that it was handled really well and really appropriately for the book’s YA audience. The book doesn’t get too dark or negative, but it does tackle the issue in one really poignant scene that makes you truly feel for Hunter and love him all the more!