The Goodreads description:
Max would follow Sadie anywhere, so when Sadie decides to ditch her problems and escape to Nebraska for the summer, it’s only natural for Max to go along. She is Sadie’s confidante, her protector, and her best friend. This summer will be all about them. This summer will be perfect.
But that’s before they meet Dylan.
Dylan is dangerous and intoxicating, and he awakens something in Max that she never knew existed. No matter how much she wants to, she can’t back away. But Sadie has her own intensity, and has never allowed Max to become close with anyone else. And Max doesn’t know who she is without Sadie. There are some problems you just can’t escape.
To be honest, I felt like the story was a lot less about Dylan than that description puts across, although that's not to say that the relationship between him and Max didn't feel interesting and dangerous, because it did. But there wasn't a ton of background information on him, and I really feel as though the heart of the story was within the MC, Max, her desperate feelings about her home life, and how they affected her relationship with her best friend Sadie.
From the handling of Max's sexuality, (she is bisexual,) to the painfully relatable dynamics from both Max and Sadie in their co-dependent relationship, Reed was able to capture the story of a perfect storm with a mix of raw descriptions and literary introspective. There are many things I adored about this novel, and was left thinking about it long afterward.
We were also lucky enough to score an interview with the author herself! See what Amy has to say about the process, her experience in the industry, and what's coming up next:
(YA Highway questions are in bold, while Amy Reed's answers are italicized:)
You've established yourself as an author with serious skills for writing thoughtful, realistic, and truly gritty contemporary. Are there any other genres you'd like to explore in your work eventually, or do you feel as though you've hit your stride?
Thank you! I truly love what I write, and I hope to continue writing it for a long time. I don't want to limit myself as a writer, however, and I definitely want to explore different ways of storytelling, whether it be in style or subject matter. For instance, there's a slight paranormal element in my next book with Simon Pulse, though I think it still reads like my contemporary novels. I also hope to branch out into literary fiction for adults one of these days.
What is your favorite part of the writing process? Your least favorite?
I'll be honest--my favorite part is being done, when my editor accepts my copy edits and I have no more writing to do. Besides that, I love the beginning when a million ideas are bumping around in my head and all I want to do is write them down. But for all of my books so far, I've reached this point where I'm about 3/4 done with the first draft where I have a horrible period of doubt, when I think the book is horrible and no one's going to want to read it and I should quit writing forever. I have no idea why this happens, but luckily I've been able to push through it.
As a writer with four published books under her belt, have you learned anything valuable that you wish you could tell your aspiring/debut author self?
Write the stories YOU need to tell. I think I wasted a lot of time in my teens and twenties writing stuff I thought people would want to read, in styles I thought they'd like, rather than really search inside myself for inspiration. It lacked authenticity. I'd also tell myself to read everything I could get my hands on, and to challenge myself to read difficult books.
Do you like to read across the board or do you generally stick to specific genres?
I mostly read literary fiction for adults. I sometimes branch out into science fiction if it's really well-written. Honestly, I don't read a whole lot of YA these days, unless it's recommended to me by a friend. Or unless it's written by John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, or Courtney Summers, because I always love what they write.
Read any good YA lately?
Like everyone else in the world, I thought The Fault in Our Stars by John Green was stunning. I also liked This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, which is a zombie story written by a contemporary author. Kind of like the book I'm working on now, which has a paranormal element but which I would not call a paranormal novel. I love it when people borrow things from other genres but do it in their own signature style.
Thank you for the interview, Amy. SO excited for your next book! (You had me at 'slight paranormal element.')If you like Amy's past work and/or dig heavy contemporary with a literary flare, pick up OVER YOU as soon as possible!