Summary: Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal. When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.
Seven teens. Seven flaws. One secret that binds them together and pulls them apart.
I loved the variety of voices in this book: Olivia, the girl called a “slut” for being unapologetically sexual; her distant, angry sister Kat; her best friend Juniper, who seems to have it all together but is falling apart inside; her other best friend Claire, who wears her insecurities and grudges like armor; Matt, the stoner who finally finds something worth giving a damn about; Lucas, the golden-boy swimmer hiding his pansexuality in their small Kansas town; Valentine, the Sheldon Cooper-like misanthrope that Lucas can’t get enough of. My favorite character was Valentine; despite the fact that he flat-out admits that he finds most people boring and distasteful, his morality guides everything he does. When he learns that a teacher and student at the school are involved in a relationship, he reports it anonymously. But when he figures out who the student is, he is determined to confront her and get the facts before he does undue damage, and when her secret gets out to the others, he convinces them to consider all the consequences before proceeding. Redgate uses the multiple points of view beautifully to build the story, showing the reader the same characters through multiple lenses and highlighting the complexities of individuals and relationships.