Nell is completely enamored with her older sister, Layla. So much in fact that, when they were little girls, she called herself “Nellayla” because she felt that their bond was so close, they were like one soul. During Nell’s freshman year of high school, she discovers that Layla is having an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. This puts Nell in a serious bind. She wants to keep her sister’s secret, but she also feels like the situation Layla has gotten herself into is wrong. Thrown unwittingly into her sister’s secret, what should she do?
When I read the synopsis of the book, I was hoping that it delivered a punch that would have me cursing in the air because I was so mad. I didn’t find myself spewing vulgarity to the heavens but was entranced as I read, my eyes transfixed on my Kindle. The story is told from Nell’s point of view. Nell is a very inquisitive and responsible (to a point) teenager, who looks up to her older sister in a way that is borderline loving, hero worship with a touch of creepiness.
Her best friend Felix is her confidant. He doesn’t sugar coat anything for her, mince words, or treat her like she is special. Nell loves that about him. I really liked how the author describes this friendship and was very surprised that this wasn’t one where the two of them eventually fall in love with each other.
Nell has so many things on her plate. She is just beginning high school, she has a crush on a boy, she makes the soccer team and she is worried about the strange way her older sister is beginning to behave. She is going through typical teenage emotions and the author mixes words so that you feel each one.
When Nell learns of Layla’s secret, it is purely by accident. As rumors start to spread about her sister and a teacher who has a reputation of being with a different female student each year, Nell chalks it up as just being gossip. But when she catches Layla in the act of video chatting with this teacher, Nell knows that nothing good can come of it and just how bad the situation can become.
The moral compass is stretched to the limit with this story and I really wish that the author wouldn’t have ended the book the way that she did. Layla was involved in something that teenagers shouldn’t be aware of. She was completely taken advantage of but she felt that it was love. There could have been so much more that would have made this a five star book.
All in all, I really liked the book and would very much encourage people to read it, especially if you are the parent of a teenager.
Formats Available: Book
Reviewed by Damera, Okolona Branch