Published by Harper Collins on February 25th 2014
Genres: Friendship, Girls & Women, Sexual Abuse, Social Issues, Young Adult
An edgy, realistic debut novel praised by the New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys, as “a beautiful reminder that amid our broken pieces we can truly find ourselves.”Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer by her backyard pool. Instead, she hides in her closet, counts the slats in the air vent, and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does—and deal with the trauma.When Bodee Lennox—“the Kool-Aid Kid”—moves in with the Littrells after a family tragedy, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in this quiet, awkward boy who has secrets of his own. As their friendship grows, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her summon the courage to find her voice and speak up about the rape that has changed the course of her life.
Alexi Littrell can’t tell anyone what happened over the summer. Instead, she lays in her bed at night counting the bars on the vent above her head or hiding in her closet and ripping apart football cards. She’s able to hide her secret through the scratches in her neck; that is until Bodee Lennox moves in with her family and can see right through her. He can see through her façade and directly to her pain, and he wants to help her overcome it. Bodee’s been through a difficult time as well, and as Alexi helps him, she learns to help herself.
Is it possible to give a book more than five stars? This one deserves it. When I picked up this book, I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy it as much as I did. Once I started the book, I had an extremely difficult time putting it down. I got caught up in Alexi and Bodee’s journey to discover themselves and a true friend in the process. There’s no way I could begin to imagine the things that Bodee and Alexi endured, but I needed this book. The afterword from Courtney C. Stevens is wonderful, even if, like me, you can’t relate to the problems that the characters overcame. One of the points that stuck with me the most is that there are people like Bodee that exist, and once you read their story, you’ll have as much hope as I do that it’s true.
The main character, Alexi, couldn’t verbalize what had happened to her that summer night. Slowly, she began to become more comfortable with thinking about how many days had passed or what day the rape happened. The way she thought hid the details of that night and the extensiveness of her pain from me, the reader. When I picked up the book and read the note from the author—before I finished the book—it said who her rapist was. Knowing who had harmed her made me respect Alexi more. I wouldn’t suggest trying to figure out who had hurt her before she tells Bodee, but when you do, it’ll shock you. The man who made her doubt, hate, and lose trust in men all together, walked around her like he had done nothing wrong. She didn’t talk about any one person’s gaze telling about that night and didn’t even distance herself from him. Alexi was one of the strongest protagonist I’ve ever read about.
Bodee, also known as Kool-Aid Kid because he dyes his hair with a different flavor of Kool-Aid every day, was the outcast of the small town that Alexi grew up in. After his father murdered his mother, the Littrells take him in as one of their own. Bodee was the solemn, “if I don’t have anything to say, I won’t” character and hid his built up pain and resentment towards his father in a different way than Alexi hid her pain. However, these two find a common ground: helping the other. This was by far one of my favorite relationships. Watching it unfold in the manner that it did was completely different than a lot of relationships in the Young Adult market. It started out platonic, a shoulder to cry on, a person to confide in, and blossomed into something more genuine than simple attraction. Bodee, the kid whose hair changes color everyday, was a gentleman and a savior to Alexi.
There are too many amazing sections in this book to quote. I constantly had my phone out, taking pictures of uplifting or disconcerting sections, and sending them to my mother until she finally asked me what I was reading.
Everyone faces his or her own personal demons, and Alexi’s story was a gentle reminder that even the worst pain can be overcome.