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This is a powerful book where the main character Joy goes on a desperate journey to figure out who she is without an overbearing boyfriend and her hovering parents. To learn to breathe on her own. Literally. She has severe asthma which her parents micromanage. When she first met Asher, it felt dangerous, fun and like a break from the controlling--boy was she surprised when he begins to question her, be obsessed with her every move, and even hurts her.
She takes very dramatic precautions to escape, and I couldn't believe the minute details that she thought of in order to pull it off. It shows a world that I haven't gotten much exposure to, especially in the ya genre.
The flashbacks are a little jolty, but overall I liked the character that it shows, how she got where she was, and why she felt that way. I could see the measures she took and the end picture, and then little by little what got her into that situation. I just wish there was more indications when the time frame was changing to orient me a little more.
I really loved reading the dynamic and loyalty with the Aves. The lengths they go to protect and care for each other as well as what they're running from and what they have to do to survive really takes my breath. It is powerful, gritty and I couldn't get enough.
The ending wasn't what I expected, but I was still satisfied with the emotional wrap up and the depths of emotional development. It was sweet and powerful, and perfectly imperfect.
Bottom Line: Powerful and emotional, character driven contemporary.