What happens when a major earthquake changes life as you know it and the boy you thought you hated ends up saving you? Three times! Courtland Reese is the guy everyone hates and makes fun of because … well, he is weird. He communicates with animals. Strange or interesting, seventeen-year-old Adela Castielle can’t quite figure out, but when he saves her from being trampled by her own horse, she begins to understand him a little better and wants to learn more about him. But, Max–her best friend/dream guy/someday-to-be-her-husband-only-he-doesn’t-know-it-yet–hates Courtland with a passion. Adela wants to know why, except neither boy is talking. When Max leaves her stranded in his parents’ wine cave with his worst enemy, Courtland, after what the experts are calling a “megathrust” earthquake, Adela starts to question her loyalty to Max as steamy kisses in a dark damp cellar only fuel her emotions with more conflict. But does she really have time to worry about that when fire, destruction and mayhem surround
This book took me by surprise. It was nothing like I expected. I went in believing that this would be an ordinary young adult romantic story. Man, was I wrong. There is nothing ordinary about this story. This not your typical story of teenage love. It is a story of survival, forgiveness, coming of age, learning tolerance and love.
Courtland Reese has loved Adela Castielle since the fourth grade, but she had no idea how he felt. Considered weird, because of his uncanny ability to communicate with animals, he spent most of his time alone. Adela has no idea what to make of him, especially when her best friend Max (the guy she hopes will become her boyfriend and future husband) continues to spout his hatred of him. However, when a catastrophic earthquake slammed into California and Courtland rescued her not once but three times, she questioned the stories she heard and was eager to uncover the mystery that is Courtland.
I don’t read many young adult books, but I found the premise of this title intriguing and could not resist the lure. I am happy to say I had a great time with this story. The story was well written, and it flowed fluidly from start to finish. I never had a chance to be bored. The story was intense and had me on the edge of my seat. I felt nervous for Adela and Court as they traversed earthquake ravaged territory in their quest for survival.
The story told from both the POV of Adela and Courtland, allowed me to develop a connection with them. I got the opportunity to learn the reasons for their actions. It made me privy to their thoughts and feelings, thus allowing me to relate to their pain and fears. I loved that in spite of their fears they were able to keep a level head during times of crisis.
When I first met Adela I was not a fan, as she appeared a judgemental, spoilt and selfish brat. Her treatment of Courtland at the time was unfriendly. Her treatment towards him was no better than that of his other peers. However, when disaster struck, I saw a different side of her. I came to appreciate this version of her, which proved to be sweet, caring and protective. Her actions towards Courtland demonstrated these traits.
Courtland was a sweetheart. He is half Miwok Indian who had to deal with bigotry on many levels. He did not have an easy childhood. He lost his mom at an early age and his dad and the bottle became best friends as a result. However, he remained strong through it all. He is not the type to wallow in self-pity. He is a take charge person, which he proved by his actions after disaster struck. What I liked most about him was he did not allow what people thought of him to change him. Even though Adela treated him with disdain, his love for her never faltered.
Max was the least likable character. His hatred of Courtland was not justified. It was hard to believe that they were ever friends. He is selfish, cowardly and belligerent. In the end, he developed a measure of kindness, but it was too late for it to endear me to him.
There are some areas that I had a bit of a problem with, fortunately, it did not take away from my enjoyment, but it left me with some questions.
*** THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD *** –
I would love to know what transpired with Max after he left Adela and Courtland in his parents’ wine cave on the pretense that he was going to get help. Nothing is heard of him again until Courtland and Adela found him on the brink of starvation.
– It would have been good to know what exactly happened to Adela’s dad. It was stated that he had not survived, but there was no evidence to indicate this. How did he die?
– I am one of those readers who is all for an epilogue, however, in this case, I was disappointed. It would have been nice if it was geared towards what took place years later, instead of what was expected to happen.
*** END OF SPOILER ***
The story demonstrates the value of teamwork, friendships and the dangers of accepting rumours without having the facts. If you are a fan of the young adult genre and looking for a unique story, then you will enjoy this book.