Read This!: RIPPLE by Heather Smith Meloche

RippleRipple by Heather Smith Meloche

Summary: With her impossible-to-please grandmother on her back about college and her disapproving step-dad watching her every move, Tessa would do anything to escape the pressure-cooker she calls home. So she finds a shot of much-needed power and confidence by hooking up with boys, even though it means cheating on her boyfriend. But when she’s finally caught red-handed, she’ll do anything she can to cover up what she’s done.  Jack is a prankster who bucks the system every chance he gets—each transgression getting riskier and riskier. He loves the thrill, and each adventure allows a little release because his smug smile and suave demeanor in the face of authority doesn’t make life at home with his mom any less tough. He tries to take care of her, but the truth is he’s powerless in the face of her fragile mental health. So he copes in his own way, by defacing public property and pulling elaborate pranks, though he knows in the end this’ll only screw up his life even more.  As they both try not to let their self-destructive patterns get the best of them, Tessa and Jack gravitate toward one another, discovering the best parts of themselves in the process. An honest portrayal of the urges that drive us and finding the strength to overcome them.

Tessa and Jack, two teenagers whose lives are spinning out of control, become one another’s unlikely confidants – and maybe more – in this gripping coming-of-age story. Paralyzed by her stepfather’s drunken verbal abuse and her wealthy grandmother’s well-meaning yet myopic plans for her future, Tessa seeks comfort in a series of meaningless hook-ups that she will do anything to hide from her popular boyfriend. Jack is flip and cocky, but also hard working, earnest, and fiercely protective of his brilliant mother even as her mental illness makes her more and more dangerous to herself and others, and his only outlet is the elaborate pranks he pulls to buck the system. When Tessa and Jack meet, the electricity of their connection is more than just romantic – each recognizes the desperation of the other and is able to see through the layers of hurt and artifice to the goodness underneath. Both of their roads to redemption are paved with hard truths and painful confrontations, but in finding the good in each other, they are finally able to see the good in themselves. In alternating first-person narratives, Meloche takes us into the imperfect lives of these imperfect, entirely relatable characters, and shows how good as well as bad can ripple out of human connections.

RIPPLE is out now.

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