This book caught me by total surprise. I’m a huge fan of Abbi Glines. I love her Sea Breeze Series, Rosemary Beach Series, and Vincent Boys. Typically, they’re fun, quick, romantic reads centered around young adults. I didn’t even bother reading the blurb about his book before I started it.
This book is very different from her others and it blew me away. This was a new one in her new series The Field Party. It’s filled with your basic teenage love story, but the story around the couple is rather dark.
Here’s a general re-cap of the story. A high school age girl who witnessed her father shoot and kill her mother comes to lives with her cousin. She develops a relationship with her cousin’s best friend whose father is terminally ill and on hospice.
This book struck a little too close to home this week. I couldn’t have read a better book if someone hadn’t written one specifically for me. I’ve faced 7 deaths in the past few months, including the very unexpected and unexplained death of a 22 year boy. And, like the characters in the story, I know a middle-aged parent of a 15 boy and 13 girl that is facing the imminent tragic end to a battle with brain cancer.
The author captured the way in which teens deal with tragedy was remarkably real. West admits,
“My dad’s dying. Doctors can’t do anything for him anymore. Sent him home to just … die. Every day I watch him fall away a little more. further from our grasp. Further from us. He’s in so much pain, and there isn’t anything I can do. I’m afraid to go to school because, what if he dies while I’m gone and I never see him again? But then, like right fucking now, I’m afraid to go home because he may have gotten worse and then I’d have to see that. I have to see the man I adore wasting away. Leaving this life. Leaving us.”
West is only comforted by Maggie’s presence. Her simple statements seem to resonate with West,
“The end hurts … hurts like hell.”
In the midst of devastation, Maggie and West’s hearts sing to each other. It is beautifully optimistic that they can experience a bit of peace and not be completely overwhelmed by sadness. Their relationship transcends simple teenage hormones. But as in all romances, there’s also the element of romantic heart break.
“… there was the way West was looking at her. The way he never looked at me. Like he wanted to eat her up.”
What I found most meaningful in the book was the resilience and strength of the young adults when faced with extreme tragedy.
I generally don’t set my expectations high for romance books, which is to say I’m basically looking to be entertained and not looking for classically powerful literary works. After reading hundreds of romance books, I do have defined standards by which I determine the quality of a romance book. This book went way beyond the typical romance book. It struck a chord in my heart and helped me cope with the overwhelming sadness of death in my life.
to Abbi Glines!