When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York--and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future.
When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?
I absolutely loved this story. It was a beautiful, heart-breaking story about self acceptance, loss and the loneliness that comes with love. I read it in just a few hours, pausing to breathe only enough times to sustain life.
That's such a crap summation above. If I had read that alone I probably wouldn't have even picked this book up. That makes the story sound common place, sophomoric and shallow, everything it isn't. It is not a story about a poor girl falling in love with all the tinsel and glamour that comes with dating a rich boy. I never once felt that Ari really took notice of the financial differences. When she would compare herself to her wealthier friends it was their acceptance of themselves she envied, not the money. Summer and Leigh, while both rich, were also confident, self assured and at ease with who they were. These were the things that Ari coveted.
Her relationship with Blake, who yes, had the means to wine and dine, spirit her away for day trips in the Hamptons, and enough family connections to get her into any university, never once really meant anything to Ari. She was in love with feeling loved and I don't think for a second that she noticed the "glamorous side of New York". She only noticed how love made her feel. There's a certain high that comes with knowing that someone loves you, truly, for yourself alone. It's perhaps one of the biggest confidence boosters there is. Ari needed that, regardless of the hurt that comes when a relationship ends prematurely. She needed to know that it was possible for her to feel that way.
Knowing that there is to be a breakup in the book is not a spoiler. The events in the book aren't important; the emotions are. Watching Ari learn to recognize love, in all its forms was the real story.
It's been a while since I've finished a book and almost immediately wanted to read it again. While this is a YA novel, the main characters are teenagers and the story is very coming-of-age, the sentiment cannot be confined to YA alone. It's too beautiful for just about anyone to overlook.
I thank Kristi @ The Story Siren whose review of this book made me buy it.