When high school cell phone disruption forces a classroom ban, the words on a Post-it note spark a sticky romance between two unlikely friends. Transfer student Talia Vanderbilt has one goal at her new school: to blend in with the walls. Lagan Desai, basketball captain and mathlete, would do just about anything to befriend the new girl. One Post-it note at a time, Lagan persuades Talia to peel back her heart, slowly revealing her treasure chest of pain—an absent mother, a bedridden brother, and an abusive father. In a world where hurt is inevitable, the two teens search for a safe place to weather the storms of life. Together.
There’s this new thing in YA/NA books where the female protagonist is dealing with some kind of trauma in her past or present and she meets a guy and somehow he helps her get over the trauma or get out of the trauma. This book follows that similar format (though it’s not the same). Here, we have Talia, who is living with the psycho father of the year, when Lagan begins to reach out to her.
Talia: I will admit, that the first 25% of the novel is a bit depressing and I was wondering where the novel was going. But once I got past that, and got really involved in Talia, I did not want to put the book down. Ms. Paulus does a wonderful job of making me nervous when Talia is nervous, hopeful when she is hopeful, and scared when she is scared. I was really concerned that the whole novel would be about poor Talia and while there was plenty of reason to feel pity for Talia, that is not always fun to read. But it wasn’t. Talia may have been going through some crazy things, but she has this wonderful personality that looks for hope on the other side and you can’t help but be drawn to her.
Lagan. The only thing wrong with Lagan is that he is perfect. I wished that he had a flaw or two so that he seemed more real. That said, I loved Lagan’s idea of post notes. That was creative and really kind of romantic to leave someone post it notes as a form of communication. And you can’t fault Lagan for his patience. He waits for Talia and that’s beautiful. And frankly, it’s better than most secular novels which have a tendency to rush the romance regardless of the scars that the protagonist has. I also really liked that the story doesn’t just end with high school and you begin to see their relationship mature as they get older. The only other critique I have, is that Lagan does everything he can to get to know Talia, but I didn’t get the feeling that Talia did everything she could to know him.
Let me just note, that I really liked this book, in the case that you feel that I’ve criticized it too much (I read a ton of YA books so I just happen to focus on the small things). It was engaging. It’s different than most Christian YA novels. I hated the ending merely because I desperately want to know what happens next (excited for book 2!). I really felt for the characters and was completely drawn in.
Spiritually, the novel approaches the things of God in a kind of vague, but still there way. It’s complicated to explain, but I love how she shows that Jesus is who you need him to be at the time you need him there (this may sound vague, but if you read the book, you’ll understand). I also love that though Talia really likes Lagan, she turns to prayer first and foremost and doesn’t rely on Lagan to fix her situation.
Overall, if you love YA fiction, get this book!
Romantic Scale: 8.9