There are some books that will stick with me forever. This is one of them. Why? Because its scares the shit out of me. Seriously. The adults, the parents that created this world for the kids or who sent them off...I find even after reading this twice that I have no words for that. All I can say is, thank god we were still given characters that I could love, kids, that despite everything, are growing up to be good human beings.
Ruby was never able to grow up. Sure, she's way more mature and hardened than the average 16 yr old at the beginning, but at the same time she's still just that 10 yr old who went into camp. Once she's out and meets up with the others you get to see her stumble through new social interactions. She doesn't know how to make friends, her only experience was walking around a classroom as a kid looking for someone who has the same favorite animal. She doesn't know boys and especially doesn't know the signs that one might be interested in her. You get to watch her take a crash course in being a teenager. She, understandably, is the one I think grows the most by the end.
Liam...Liam is a freakin' boy scout. I can't remember the last time I didn't start of hating a male lead, or at least the girl didn't. They tend to be brooding, distrusting, and borderline hard to be in the same room with. But from the start, Liam is the complete opposite. I could kiss him for it. Sure, he has his darker moments and demons lurking about, but he's still an honest to god good guy.
God. Did you know...you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breathe? I will be looking at you and my chest will get so tight...and its like, the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you."
Shit Liam...you make me happy too. Almost as happy as girl time.
I always wanted a little sister. I got a little brother, of course. I imagine having a one is like Ruby and Zu, at least it is in my hopeful little brain. I would let her braid my hair and dress me up while I too despised that red dress. And I would protect the shit out of her.
Chubs...Charles! This "sidekick" stole the whole f'ing show with his anger and snark and flat out refusal to like Ruby. I actually found myself wanting him to warm up to Ruby because I wanted Chubs to like me. His mouth was killer and probably the only one strong enough at first to stand up and give a big old "fuck you" to the man.
Let me tell you what I think about your fucking rules. You sit up in your room and pretend that you want what's best for everyone, but you don't do any of the work yourself. I can't tell if you're just a spoiled little shit, or if you're too worried about getting your pretty princess hands dirty, but it sucks. You're fucking awful, and you sure as hell don't have me fooled."
I would have knocked fists with Chubs after that if I could, mentally I did. Someone had to say it cause...rawr.
The ending left me, again since this was my second read, utterly heartbroken. It's cruel, but I have hope. I will leave you with this...in hopes that things aren't what they seem and to remember how it should be.
"We all agreed-no strays!" The other boy shook his head. "That's why we didn't take the kittens!"
"Oh, for the love off..." Liam slumped down into his seat, pressing his face into his hands. "What were we going to do with a box of abandoned kittens?"
"Maybe if that black heart of yours wasn't willing to let them starve, we could have found them new, loving homes."
Liam gave the other boy a look of pure amazement. "You're never going to get over those cats, are you?"
"They were innocent, defenseless kittens and you left them outside someone's mailbox! A mailbox!"
"Chubs," Liam groaned. "Come on."