~ Eighteen-year-old Arcadia Wells has given up all her dreams since her mother died. She’s become her father’s and four-year-old brother’s caretaker, and now that she’s about to graduate, all she can see is an endless road of emptiness ahead of her. But Cadie decides to commit one small act of rebellion, before she continues with her work and familial responsibilities. She has no idea that one rebellious act will take her on a journey which she may not survive.
“I am alone at the end of Florida with a boy who plans to kill me.”
Hmm. It’s hard to know where to start. I guess I’ll begin with Cadie. This is a girl who not only lost her mother at a vulnerable age, but in a way lost her father also due to his grief. It’s obvious that he loves his children but he can’t cope with taking care of them so most of the household responsibilities fall on Cadie’s shoulders. It’s not surprising that when she’s invited to a party in the woods, she insists on having the night off so she can go. Then she meets two handsome cousins; Matt and Noah, and decides to go on a road-trip with them. This is where I became a little incredulous. Cadie is a strong, smart, and self-reliant girl, and part of me had a difficult time believing that she’d go off with two strangers, even if one of her girlfriends accompanies her. Then it gets even weirder, when the friend disappears, and Cadie still continues with the trip. I tried to keep in mind that she’s only 18, and she’s basically given up everything for her family. Because she’s otherwise such a great character, I was able to tuck my disbelief away for the most part. I went back and forth between which one of the cousins was the psychopath until right near the very end. Arcadia originally hooks up with Matt, but when he winds up with her friend, she finds herself attracted to the mysterious Noah. Their romance absolutely sizzles, but once again, I felt that she was just jumping into a relationship and ignoring the red flags that were popping up everywhere. Despite the stupid decisions Cadie makes, I still found myself rooting for her.
The story itself is intriguing and suspenseful, but in some ways also predictable. I think some of the problems might be because of the short length of the book. At only a little over 250 pages, there wasn’t much in the way of development, especially in regards to the characters. However, the psychological thrills were incredibly written and had me frantically turning the pages because I wanted to know how everything was going to play out. And, this is the second scary book I’ve read in the last couple of weeks that featured a cute dog that didn’t die. Yay! The ending was all right, but it felt a little contrived and I found myself a bit frustrated with how everything was suddenly wrapped up with a neat little bow. I find myself really conflicted about this book. I think it had so much promise that didn’t quite play out. At least not for me. I do think this will appeal to older teens who will emphasize with Cadie’s situation.