Life has never been easy for Holly; every day is a struggle to survive the hurt and pain she feels. Not only does she feel all alone, but, she's also dealing with a horrible secret about what happens to her almost daily behind closed doors. While Holly knows that she needs to tell someone, she can't bear the thought of not being believed. Her whole life, people have called her a liar, a troublemaker, and a bad influence, and in more ways than one, she has lived up to those labels.
Determined to hide her secret, Holly goes to school each day angry and confused. She takes her anger and frustrations out on others, especially those who she feels have more than her. She becomes a bully, determined to hide her vulnerabilities by being a self-proclaimed mean girl.
Matt Shulman is the new kid from LA and to Holly; he seems to have it all. However, contrary to what Holly believes, Matt does not have a perfect life. Confused and plagued with thoughts of wanting to rid themselves of their pain, Matt and Holly are drawn into events that end in unspeakable tragedy and heartache for both teens and their families.
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I read this book in one night and I couldn't put it down. When I thought of Holly, I initially felt that she was a character no one could connect with but when I read further, I realized that Holly like so many others presents to the world what she thinks people want to see. However, underlying her tough girl persona, Holly was the victim of significant sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. Worse than that her own mother does not beleive that this abuse is happening and treats Holly like crap. While the ending was somewhat controversial, I won't give it away. I think this story speaks to a poem I love by a poet by the name of Paul Lawrence Dumbar, "We wear the Mask." It truly highlights how what we present to the world may totally be different from what we are experiencing on the inside. I think that for a first time self published author it is phenomenal and I would recommend it over over any silly sci-fi or pretentious teen novel. For me this book is a must for every teenager or pre-teen.