I adored this story, which follows Will and Zoe, two teens trying to outrun their dark pasts. Zoe has an abusive father and Will’s been in and out of various foster homes/state care facilities his entire life, constantly moved around on account of his inability to stay out of trouble and away from fights. They hop in Will’s car and head for Vegas, with the mindset that Zoe can finish high school there and Will, finally eighteen and free of the state, can work.
Yup, that’s pretty much it. These two do not
have a detailed or well thought out plan. They do not
always make good choices. In fact, many of their choices are down-right foolish, tunnel-visioned, no foresight, in the moment choices. They don’t seem to see that they have other options. They are so blinded by each other and escaping their pasts that they don’t seek out help when they should. Simply put: they make things worse for themselves.
Even still, I adored their story. Will and Zoe have never been able to count on anyone but themselves, so their decisions to cling to each other at all costs felt real and honest. Told in alternating POVs, we get a good look inside both characters’ heads. (And boy does Halbrook excel when it comes to creating two distinct, separate voices.) Will has a bit of an anger problem and yet it is so clear that he loves Zoe with all his heart and wants to give her the world on a platter. Zoe, however, has lived most of her life in fear of her father, and is trying to learn to stand up for herself, to not always expect/assume the worst of people. These teens are damaged and yet they help mend each other in ways no one else can. As such, I suppose it’s not so surprising that they don’t seek out help when things go from bad to worse. Will and Zoe’s relationship–the entire novel, really–is as much an emotional roller-coaster for the reader as it is for them. And the ending! I wholeheartedly applaud Halbrook for writing it as she did. I imagine it may upset some readers, but I felt it was honest and brave. Truthfully, I don’t think Will and Zoe’s tale would be as powerful and raw if it had ended any other way. Highly recommend!
Originally posted here