It would be an understatement to say that Simone Elkeles makes you think and that she cuts deep into the heart of everything and your psyche. The synopsis had me as to why would an ex-con and his victim find anything to do with each other. I liked the portrayal of a dysfunctional family just 'cause of a simple accident. It's just too much for Caleb's mother to take, his father to really understand and then there's Leah, his mysterious goth twin sister. Coming home to this after a year in juvie doesn't give Caleb the freedom he was yearning for in all the months he was in jail.
And then there's Leah's ex-bestfriend and their neighbor who he is guilty of hitting while drunk and then running off panicked. All Maggie does all day is wallow in self-pity every single second of her miserable life with no friends and a mother who's too tired working. Even more so when she finds out that she has to face Caleb in school everyday before she can go to Spain for a semester.
But what they didn't expect was to actually find themselves in an old lady's home working less than 10 feet from each other. And that they couldn't get out of it even if they wanted to. Caleb has to complete 100 hours of community service and Maggie has to pay for tuition herself 'cause of her revoked athletic scholarship. Raw emotions and guilt run high for Caleb looking at Maggie limp and her loathing for him is crystal clear.
Yet they find themselves coming close as two outcasts in the society who look them up in pity (for Maggie) and fear (for Caleb). Needless to say, this book took my breath away. Beautifully written.