Completely off its axis the night
I hooked up with Dylan Douglas.
It was New Year’s Eve—five
months ago—so maybe part of that
earth-sway had something to do with
the downers, weed and cheap beer,
a dizzying combo on an empty stomach.
What I know for sure is, when he came
slinking up like a cougar—all tawny
and temperamental—something inside
me shifted. Something elemental.
I, probably the oldest prude in my whole
junior class, transformed into vamp.
When he smiled at me—me!—I knew
I had to make him mine. I would
have done anything. Turned out, all
I had to do was smile back. Just like
that, we belonged to each other.
Three teens, three stories—all interconnected through their parents’ family relationships. As the adults pull away, caught up in their own dilemmas, the worlds of the teens begin to tilt.
Mikayla, almost eighteen, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year and decides to keep the baby?
Shane turns sixteen that same summer and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister’s impending death. Can he accept Alex’s love, knowing his life, too, will be shortened?
Harley is fourteen—a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be.
Love, in all its forms, has crucial consequences in this wrenching story from Ellen Hopkins.
- Margaret K. McElderry Books |
- 624 pages |
- ISBN 9781416983316 |
- February 2014 |
- Grades 9 and up |
- Lexile HL590L
Read an Excerpt
Reading Group Guide
By Ellen Hopkins
About the Book
Three teens—Mikayla, Shane, and Harley—hang by threads to their families and familiarity. As their worlds are tilted, the three must garner strength to forge ahead and readjust amid changing realities. Mikayla is hopelessly in love with Dylan; however, her parents disapprove of their romantic involvement and restrict their time together. Desperately in love, she defies their rules, but an unexpected event drives a wedge between the two lovers, and she is forced into making a difficult decision. Shane, a gay teen who feels abandoned, searches for love and his place in a family threatened by a dreaded and inevitable loss. Harley, a naive “good girl,” heads toward self-destruction as she wrestles with two broken parents who strive to overcome their divorce and build new lives of their own. Shadowing Ellen Hopkins’s earlier plotlines, the lives of this trio intersect and tumble toward a satisfying conclusion.
1. Identify a time of intense struggle either for you or someone you know and explain how you, or that individual, worked through that struggle. Who helped resolve the conflict and how?
2. Think of an incident that occurred to someone you know, an event that shifted, or tilted, that person’s world, and their response to it. You may have bee see more