I received a copy from Netgalley.
A very moving novel. Wasn't sure what I was going to make of it, but I was surprised at how much I empathized with Vic. I loved his character. Such a sensible, (mostly) level headed boy. Always at the side lines, in the shadow of his much more popular best friend Brett. Vic was a really nice boy, and what happened to him was horrible.
He was the only boy at the party who looked after a drunk girl, got her some place safe and the next thing he knows....he's accused of rape. Mostly because he's the only one she remembers. He has a stutter that comes out when he's anxious, and the stutter is what the girl remembers. Vic's world is thrown into turmoil, but he handles it remarkably. He has is moments of breakdown, as would any one in that situation. Made even worse by his home life, which wasn't great to begin with.His relationship with his mother is distant at best, and watching her reaction to his situation was heartbreaking. Best friend Brett is the only one who believes him. His dad just happens to be a defense attorney too.
Relief comes in the form of Autumn, the best friend of the attacked girl. At first Autumn is like everyone else - doesn't believe him in the slightest. She blows up at Vic when all he wants to do is find out how Callie is doing. He's thoughtful enough to want to ask after the girl's well being, in spite of everything horrible happening to him. But things progress slowly and Vic and Autumn find themselves getting to know each other and determined to solve the crime themselves.
I loved Autumn. So fierce and loyal to her best friend, softer once she starts to get to know Vic better and their relationship progressive. Vic is delightfully sweet, he's convinced he doesn't deserve her (although he likes her a lot). He's inner monologue feelings go back and forth on everything and its fascinating to read about him working it all out. He's so refreshingly different a lot of YA male characters.
The mystery progresses, and while I had my suspects, to be fair I didn't actually guess who the real criminal was until right at the end.
Vic is hit with some tough family issues to deal with, filtered in throughout the novel as well. His relationship with his mother improves, slowly. A long way to go, but it was nice to see them actually deal with some of the issues raised in the novel.
It was certainly gritty and uncomfortable to read in parts. But all the same, very moving and realistic. Certainly an author I would read again.
Thank you to Netgalley and Entangled Teen for approving my request to view the title.