Phoenix is two days out of jail when he meets Robin at his cousin's house, and he knows that he has no business talking to her, but he's drawn to her quiet demeanor, sweet smile, and artistic talent. She doesn't care that he's done time, or that he only has five bucks to his name, and she supports his goal to be a tattoo artist.
But Phoenix knows Robin has a secret, and that it's a naïve dream to believe that his record won't catch up with them at some point. Though neither is prepared for the explosive result when the past collides with the present…
For the entire previous school year Robin was the party girl. She skipped classes and went to parties nightly. She made out with a lot of guys but didn't generally go home with them. When she wakes up one morning and finds that she's in bed with one of her best friends boyfriends she's appalled. She can't remember a thing as she blacked out from drinking so much but she knows that she would have normally never stepped over that line. She quits drinking and partying over the summer and keeps to herself - telling no one what happened.
Two and a half months after that night she shows up at the Mann house (where Tyler, Riley, their brothers and Jessica live - from previous books) to paint a pop art piece of Easton Mann and she meets Phoenix. Phoenix is cousin to the Mann brothers and just got out of jail after spending 5 months behind bars. He strikes up a conversation with Robin and then asks for her number. She doesn't quite know how to say no so she hands it over. Not 5 minutes later she gets a text from him that makes her smile.
Phoenix is kind of lost. His mother moved while he was in jail and he has no idea where she went. He didn't have much to his name but now what he did have is completely gone - never to be recovered. He thinks Robin is cute but he knows that she's way out of his league. This unlikely couple strikes up a friendship and end up spending time together just hanging out.
What starts as friendship soon turns into lovers and the pair fall in love. Unfortunately there are obstacles in their way that may lead to their relationships demise.
This was another good story in the True Believers series. I really like the characters in these stories as they just feels so normal to me.
Phoenix is kind of a mess but he really has a good head on his shoulders. He has serious anger issues and has a hard time controlling his temper but really it's targeted at those who are shitheads. He spent 5 months in jail for beating up his mothers boyfriend when he found the man raping her and carving her stomach up. He saved her life but went to jail for it. He doesn't regret what he did as he loves his mother - despite his childhood. He loves with his whole heart and knows what he has to do to get to where he's going. He immediately finds a job and pays his cousins back for all they do. He had this kind of weird code of honor thing going and I just really got him. He was good for Robin and wouldn't give up on her.
Robin was a mess as well. She was living with the guilt of her drunken night with Kylie's boyfriend and on top of that Nathan kept texting her and wouldn't leave her alone. She seemed to find a bit of a kindred spirit in Phoenix as she was an artist and so was he. She liked to get her feelings out in her painting while he liked to sketch and was apprenticing at a tattoo shop. When shit hits the fan with her friends she dives into the deep end and almost ends up dead but Phoenix is there to pull her through and let her know that he won't leave her. I loved their relationship.
While the story wasn't the most gripping thing that I've read I thought it was solid and had a certain darkness to it that I enjoyed. I think if you like McCarthy's writing and enjoy this series this is one you'd enjoy.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5