Originally posted at Paperback Wonderland.
After her mother's death, Rose's family relocates to a new state so her father can take up a position in the local hospital. Their new next door neighbours are friendly and eager to help with the move, and Rose and the boy next door, Noah, find themselves falling for each other. There is only one problem: Noah is Amish and so they cannot be together.
The only reason this one isn't getting a five is due to the insta-love, but even that can be easily overlooked, given the setting.This book was so amazing! YA books are never the best when it comes to female protagonists having a spine - oh, they'll be feisty and independent but then they'll meet the boy of their dreams and nothing else matters, there are no doubts in their minds, they'll do anything, leave everything behind, just so they can be with their ~true love~.
So when I started this book I was bracing myself, and I kept waiting for the ball to drop until the very last page. But Hopkins may have just written some of the most realistic and sane teenagers in a romance book.
Rose does want to be with Noah, but she's not blindly in love. We get to see her do a lot of thinking, trying to come to a decision, admitting not to even know what she wants, and yes, making some stupid choices like thinking about getting pregnant so they'd be allowed to be together, but considering her age and immaturity (which she is always quick to point out herself), all of it felt real. Even her final choice was open ended, she didn't close all doors in her life. Noah's behaviour, which I usually loathe in male protagonists, was understandable due to his cultural background, and his thought processes were so well-written that I couldn't even be annoyed with him for any of it.
And best of all, there were no judgemental lessons in this book. We get to see things from all perspectives. It was really refreshing to have Rose's family be so open about teen sexuality and not have the subject just swept under a rug, but discussed rationally. There wasn't the usual slut-shaming or double standards you frequently see in other books (her brother sometimes made questionable remarks, but you could tell he was just being an obnoxious big brother and didn't really mean them). Honestly, I can't wait for the next book!