Until Friday NightSeries: The Field Party #1
by Abbi Glines
Published by Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse on August 25th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.
Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.
As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.
West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…
What is up with me and realistic fiction these days?!? Am I an “emotions” magnet or something because these books keep finding me! This time, I was pulled under by Abbi Glines’ new series The Field Party. The first book, Until Friday Night, is a lesson in dealing and healing for both West Ashby and Maggie Carleton.
West is starting his senior year in high school with a huge secret. His father is at home dying of cancer. And it’s ripping West into pieces. He hasn’t told any of this friends / teammates on the football team, including his best friend Brady. But West is on the edge of breaking; drinking to numb and having sex so he can forget about his dad for a few moments. He’s using crutches for the moment but he needs help.
Enter Maggie. Ever since she saw her father murder her mother, Maggie has been unable to speak. Two years after the murder and after having lived with her godmother, Maggie is sent to live with her uncle and his family in another state. Brady, her cousin, isn’t too happy about giving up his bedroom to her nor about having to “babysit” a mute cousin in high school. Maggie is just looking for a quiet place to call home.
After a run-in at a field party, Maggie and West learn that they may have a lot in common. West thinks he may have found the perfect person to talk to; someone he could tell his secrets to. Maggie sees the pain West is going through with his father, no matter how hard West tries to hide with brutish behavior, drinking, and girls. Maggie knows a lot about the loss of a parent so she thinks she can help West.
That’s the quirk that I love most about this bittersweet romance. West goes through a huge transformation throughout this book but he’s not the only one who is helped by Maggie’s presence. And there’s even more to it than that – but I’m not spoiling anything. The sweet story is too good to spoil so no more about the plot! Just let me say everyone is affected and everyone grows up a little more by the end of the book.
Okay, maybe not quite everyone.
Speaking of…. there is some really brutish, loutish behavior on West’s part in the beginning of the book. I noticed that a lot of readers of this book were turned off, incensed, and otherwise throwing the book at the wall about this. I, personally, saw a reason for it in the story and recognized it for what it was. First, I always remember this is fiction and no where does it say that teenagers actually have to act like this for it to be in a book. It just has to be possible/realistic. Second, it takes two to tango. Third, I believe it was used to decisively compare/contrast West in the beginning, West in the middle, and West in the end of the book. He had a lot of maturing to do.
And I liked West. Ms. Glines wrote her characters so thoroughly, I knew the role each supporting character was playing in the book. Maggie was, by far, my favorite character of all. Even though she was mute, she was so incredibly strong and I truly enjoyed watching her blossom throughout the story. Towards the end, with her uncle? sigh… The only characters I really couldn’t get a read on were West’s fellow teammates. I have a feeling that is because their books are coming soon 😉
This was another one of those quick reads I just could not put down. The story is told in dual POV so I was always wanting to go back and see what the other person was thinking or doing. I needed these two to get to their HEA and never knew how that would happen!
I won’t spoil anything but I will say this: by the end of the book, I was surrounded by dirty Kleenex. I don’t think my nose can take anymore of these emotional rollercoaster books…