When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?
Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends -- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money?
This book is a reread for me, one that I read only a couple months ago, but it’s a quick read and I wanted it fresh in my mind since I just got the sequel. I love this book. Great intricate plotline, awesome three-dimensional characters, and perfect teen voices. I have no complaints. In fact, I think I may have loved it even more the second time around.
First off, the writing is fantastic. Scott really has a spot-on grasp of the teen’s voice. This book is told from both Ally and Jake’s perspective, which already earned Scott some bonus points in my book, as I LOVE multiple POV stories. Both of their voices were distinct, engaging, and honest. I felt like I really got to know Ally and Jake throughout the book. The prose and dialogue were witty and hilarious, with many LOL moments.
So, plot. Ally’s father was an investor. He talked all of his friends—Ally’s friend’s fathers—into this investment that went bad, costing people millions of dollars. So Ally and her parents leave town one night—Ally not having a clue what’s going on—and the father abandons them shortly after. Now, eighteen months later, Ally is back in Orchard Hill, and everyone on the Crest (the rich side of town) hates Ally. Except for Jake Graydon—who now lives in her old bedroom. But he’s friends with all of Ally’s old friends, who are just plain cruel to her when she returns. I won’t say more than that, but let’s just say that I love this storyline. It’s not your typical rich turned poor story. There’s many layers to this, deeper reasons why Ally’s old friends are mad at her. Usually I back away from rich kid stories because they always have this fake air to them… but this story felt real in so many ways.
The characters are awesome. I loved Ally. Everything about her was real to me, her emotions especially. All of her friends hate her for something that had nothing to do with her, and after trying to make things right and failing, she doesn’t mope around and wallow. Her old friends don’t intimidate her out of doing what she wants to do activities-wise. She was strong in that way—but vulnerable in others. And I love that she’s a basketball player. Then you have Jake, the cocky gorgeous guy who is now living in Ally’s old bedroom. He’s not used to girls making things difficult for him. I love Jake. I love watching him realize that he does care about her. He’s stupid sometimes, I will admit. But his redeemable qualities, all the good things he does for Ally, outweigh his teenage boy stupidity. Even the mean girls have depth. Shannen, Faith, and Chloe, Ally’s old friends, all have valid reasons to be angry. Not that all of them are necessarily justified…but I get it. Sometimes a person just needs someone to blame when bad stuff happens.Another thing that was great about this series is that the parents played a significant role to the plot. I love stories where the parents are involved and important to the storyline, because there’s so many stories that seem to have non or minimal-existent parents in them.