Claire lives alone with her motorcycle-loving dad. She’s been watching the way her neighbors treat their dog and she’s finally ready to do something about it. One walk turns into a complicated relationship with the dog (Wally) and his side-burned, teenage owner (Danny). With Father Jasper’s book on how to train dogs, Claire finds that she’s not only learning more about Wally, but about herself as well.
I really, really liked this book. I’ve been having a struggle with some of the books that I’ve gotten from NetGalley because sometimes the tone is just WAY too casual. Casual in an immature way. This book had a casual tone, but it wasn’t immature and it just felt real! The narration would sometimes be a little scattered, but it felt like how someone would actually think–not so straight-forward. I felt this made Claire super relatable. She sounded like any teenage girl to me. She’s not perfect, she’s not this social outcast, and she doesn’t have some freakish skill. Her emotions and relationships felt so real. She’s just a normal girl who goes to a normal high school.
I loved Claire’s relationship with her dad. He’s described as being this rough-looking guy who is obsessed with his motorcycle and is in a motorcycle “gang”. Even though he appears tough, Claire describes him as being a sweet teddy bear-like guy. He’s trying his best to be both mom and dad to Claire, but he’s sometimes at a loss for what exactly she needs. He get so excited over small things–like eating subs from the best sub place ever– and it’s so obvious how much he loves Claire and would do anything for her.
Claire’s feelings for Danny change from scene to scene. I could see how this might bother some readings, but for me, I just thought it added to the realness of the character. Normally, I think people’s feelings do fluctuate like that. Too often in YA we see a relationship go from zero to sixty in two pages. Not that that doesn’t happen ever, but I think the majority of the time, it’s like how Claire feels about Danny.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s real and deals with some tough issues like abuse, but it left me with a really good feeling.
Overall Rating: 5
Sexual Content: Mild
Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.