Author: Gail Giles
Published: September 7, 2010 by Little Brown Books
(304 pages, hardcover)
Summary: It was always somewhere deep inside her...
the thumping pulse of darkness, a rhythmic and hypnotic song.
Ames Ford has a perfect life--that is, she had a perfect life, until her father is fired and her family has to move from their mansion in Colorado to a slum in Texas. Now her mother won't stop yelling, her father won't stop drinking, and her little sister hides with a pillow over her head to drown out the fighting.
Then she meets one who awakens the darkness.
Marc: Mysterious. Experienced, Rebellious. Gun-obsessed. But he loves her more than anything. He won't let anyone hurt her, and he won't let anyone stand in his way where Ames is concerned--especially her parents. And when was the last time they did anything but ignore, dismiss, hurt, or betray her?
Then he gives her a choice. Him... or them.
Just how far is Ames willing to go? For loyalty? For revenge? For security? For love? Gail Giles, acclaimed author of What Happened to Cass McBride? and Shattering Glass, will have you questioning what you'd do at your breaking point.
My thoughts: I was totally intrigued by this book because of the title and because of the cover. When I read the inside cover, I was running to the library counter. The story starts out slow, and I even put the book down for a while because it got downright boring at times. I really liked the way Giles wrote, but sometimes her details got cluttered and the angst-y feelings Ames has got overwhelming. The back story of the perfect family's decent into poverty takes up the full first half, and while it was somewhat necessary to show us how perfect her life used to be, I thought some of the descriptions were unneeded. At times, I would go back and re-read something that had no real relevance to the story just to see if it was connected at all. That being said, the writing was actually really good, just kind of drowned out by some random ramblings.
oAmes seemed like a sweet, nice girl, and while i understand her slow decent into rebellion and why she ends up the way she does, it all seemed kind of sudden. Her mother was cruel from the start, her father 'wonder Dad,' and her little sister was cute and sweet, so I didn't really understand how having less money made her so hateful. The character development seemed a little jerky, and more than a little sudden. It was like going from Point A to Point B without understanding how we got in-between. One moment she hates her mom, and the next she might be 'the only one who understands her.' Her father is great and nice with a small drinking problem and next thing you know, he's almost hitting Ames and is an alchoholic. The descriptions of her parents' downfall were realistic and raw, but I didn't quite grasp how they got so bad so suddenly.
oAmes seems smart through the entire novel. Well, until she meets Marc; suddenly she's blinded to everything but the maybe protection he can give her. Marc was also a bit of an underdeveloped character; by all means was he unstable and I wanted to smack Ames a few times for not seeing how dangerous he was. But he was also protective of Ames, and had obviously been through some sort of trauma that made him the way he was, and I think Giles used him as more of a tool than an actual character. Also, their relationship seemed rushed and made completely out of mutual trust and respect, not real attraction or affection.
oBy no means was this novel all bad, though. I really liked how Giles described the dark parts of Ames' thoughts, and I liked the voice she used for Ames' thoughts; it was gritty and well-written. I got chills a little when I was reading how dark her thoughts became. I also really liked how the story that Ames thought was her real life unraveled. It was sad how fake her parents were with her from the start, and it was a good portrayal of how trusting kids can be if the facade is well done. The story concept was interesting and intriguing. Giles has a talent for weaving a well-thought out novel. The outcome wasn't fantastic, but I enjoyed it.
Writing: 3 stars
Overall Rating: 3 stars