Girl On the Brink by Christina Hoag
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books on August 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Dating & Relationships, Thrillers & Suspense, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
Sometimes the one you love isn’t the one you’re meant to be with.
The summer before senior year, Chloe starts an internship as a reporter at a local newspaper. While on assignment, she meets Kieran, a quirky aspiring actor. Chloe becomes smitten with Kieran’s charisma and his ability to soothe her soul, torn over her parents’ impending divorce. But as their bond deepens, Kieran becomes smothering and flies into terrifying rages. He confides in Chloe that he suffered a traumatic childhood, and Chloe is moved to help him. If only he could be healed, she thinks, their relationship would be perfect. But her efforts backfire, and Kieran turns violent. Chloe breaks up with him, but Kieran pursues her relentlessly to make up. Chloe must make the heartrending choice between saving herself or saving Kieran, until Kieran’s mission of remorse turns into a quest for revenge.
Today is my stop on the blog tour for Girl On the Brink by Christina Hoag! Learn more about the book below!
We head to Crystal Lake and wind up a dark, twisting road to a ridge. We drive until we come to a break in the tree line and turn into a lookout point. A carpet of amber and white lights spreads before us, ending in the soaring New York skyline.
“This is incredible. You can see all the way to Manhattan,” I say.
“Told you. We’ll be able to see fireworks all over North Jersey.” He snaps open a can of root beer, hands it to me, then opens another for himself and points it at New York.
“That’s the place for us, sweetpea. That’s where it all happens.”
“Yeah, maybe we’ll get there one day.”
“What ‘maybe.’ Here’s to your byline in the New York Times and my name on a TV dressing room door with a big star.” We clink cans. He takes a hank of my hair and sweeps his face with it. We pose for a selfie with my hair wrapped around his neck like a feather boa.
“I’m going to call this picture ‘wrapped up in you’.” He dips the tip of the lock in his soda and sucks it.
I crack up. “I totally love these crazy, unexpected things you do. Who would ever think of doing that?”
Kieran puts his head into my lap, his face staring up at me. “Dorian says actors have to be memorable. They have to stand out from the competition so they’ll get cast.”
“You’re memorable, all right.” I laugh.
“Chloe, I need to know you’re committed to me because I’m committed to you.”
Something twangs inside me. “Do you have to even ask me that?”
“I want you to promise you’ll never have any contact with any guy you were ever involved with. We can’t have exes interfering in our relationship.”
“Why are you even bringing this up? I really don’t have any ‘exes’.”
“I want to know your whole boyfriend history. How far did you go with each guy?”
“It’s not very long.” I tell him about my three misadventures.
“How many times did you do it with this Angus dude?”
“Just a few.”
“What an asshole. I’d like to take a baseball bat to him for using you like that. That really pisses me off.”
“Just forget it. It’s no big deal.” Now I regret telling him. I don’t need to hear I was “used.”
“It kills me to think of you with someone else.”
“What about you? What’s your girlfriend history?”
“Girls just don’t know how to appreciate me. I’ve been involved with selfish girls, up until now, that is.”
“I appreciate you, Kieran.”
“I know. What about Facebook? Are you Facebook friends with any of those guys?”
I take out my phone. “Look, I’ll show you if it makes you feel better.” I scroll through my forty-six friends. “See? Nothing to worry about.”
“I just get scared that one of these guys might come back and take you away from me.”
“That’s totally crazy.”
“I can’t help it. It’s my low self-esteem.”
“Kieran, you’re the only person who’s ever been really interested in me, who’s really wanted to know me, the real me. I can’t even tell you how much that means.”
A boom sounds in the distance. “Look!” I point to shooting streaks of red, white and blue in the sky.
“Over there, too.” Kieran signals a cascade of glittery silver and amber. “And way over there.”
Fireworks explode against the black silky night everywhere we look. We ooh and ah as they whistle and burst.
“Isn’t this the best, sweetpea?”
“Yeah, it is.”
When the last grand finale ends, we wind down the mountain, Kieran clutching my thigh and me leaning on his shoulder.
I realize Kieran never told me anything about his past girlfriends. My phone chimes with an incoming text. It’s Jade.
“Thanks for letting us know you weren’t coming to the BBQ.”
Crap. “Sorry, work was busy.”
“Or busy with Kieran. I shouldn’t have even bothered inviting you.”
I don’t answer. Maybe Kieran’s right. Maybe she’s just jealous I have a serious boyfriend.
Girl on the Brink Playlist
Chloe & Kieran: “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. They sing this song together as they’re driving into New York, when their relationship is full of “golden dreams” and their “souls are singing.” It’s a song from the seventies, which Kieran listens to because it reminds him of his dad.
Chloe: “Firework” by Katy Perry. This is totally Chloe’s song. After her relationship, she feels ashamed, humiliated, as if she’ll never get over this setback. But she slowly learns she is a “firework” with “colors to burst” and she emerges stronger than ever, ready for college and her future.
Kieran: “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Clocks. As this haunting song goes, “I can’t stop my violence, no no no.” Kieran can’t control his impulses. And of course, he is bittersweet – sweet at first, then the bitter emerges.
Clarissa, Morgan and Jade: “With a Little Help from my Friends” by the Beatles. Friends and friendship are a key theme in the book. Romances are a key test of any friendship and friends often get pushed to the side when a new romantic interest crops up. Chloe discovers that she needs support from her friends to help recover from Kieran and they come through for her.
Bonnie (Mom): “19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones. What can I say? The title says it all. Mom’s a little strung out by her imploding marriage and has several breakdowns in the book.
Doug (Dad) – “Father & Daughter” by Paul Simon. Coming to terms with her dad leaving her mom and betraying the family by having an affair is an important step for Chloe. Chloe’s predicament wakes up her father to his own selfishness and he realizes he occupies a special role on his daughter’s life.
“An engrossing tale of a dangerous teen romance.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Girl on the Brink is a must have for every high school and public library.” – Isabelle Kane, Wisconsin high school librarian
ABOUT TEEN DATING VIOLENCE
Abusive relationships are widespread, cutting across socioeconomic, racial and ethnic, religious and gender preference lines. One in three high school girls experience dating violence, while more than half of college-aged women reported experiencing controlling behavior in a relationship. Eighty-nine percent of female college students said they were unable to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship, and a third of teens involved in intimate partner violence ever told anyone about it.
For more information, see http://www.breakthecycle.org/dating-violence-research.
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