Meg is proud of her rebel ways. She loves her blue hair and racy outfits. She knows that others might not respect her, but she plans on cramming as much life into each day as she can. Meg is known for being promiscuous and the local “bad girl”. She drinks and smokes pot. Her “boyfriend”, Eric, is the town’s rich kid. He encourages her habits and they have casual sex whenever they get high. Then one night they decide to take another couple and go down to the train bridge—the bridge where teenagers have been killed by passing trains. Not the safest place when you are drunk and high. While they are there, they are arrested by Officer John After.
Meg feels like there is something familiar about John After, but can’t put her finger on it. She assumes that he is married with several children and his serious nature makes her think that he is much older than his age. When she catches him checking her out, she is appalled that this older man is hitting on her. Then she learns that he is only 19 and just graduated from her high school and the police academy. Knowing that he is only a year and a half older than she is makes his attention all the more welcome. Meg now has to convince him that she is more than a trouble maker and just might be worth his love.
When I first started this book, I also believed (like Meg) that John was much older than she was which lead a creep factor to the story and made me question whether or not I wanted to continue the tale. I kept reading because the story is so well written. We hear Meg’s voice and feel the emotions as she does. She shares pieces of herself with us and we go along on the journey of discovery with her. When she learns that John is only a little older than she is, we also breathe a sigh of relief with Meg as she accepts his attention and her attraction to him. Ms. Echols does an amazing job of telling this story in such a realistic fashion. We feel for Meg when she is left at the police station by her parents and when she has to give up Spring Break as a punishment. We know her agony at being tied up or trapped and how severe her claustrophobia can get.
I loved this story. Telling the story from Meg’s perspective is the only way that it would work. The characters are so much more real to us as we discover them with Meg. She learns along the way and we are pulled into her world. I think that young adults will relate to Meg and to the pressures that she feels as a teenager in a small town. She works in her parents’ diner, but can’t wait to leave and explore life in a larger city. She wants adventure and a change. Meg hints about things that have happened in her past, but waits quite a while before sharing them with John. We understand her character even better after the revelation.