Alison has a lot of rules. These rules help here stay safe and protected so she doesn't have to think about things. And it doesn't matter how hard her best friend Lindsey or the new boy Patrick try to change things. But then a horrible chain of events rock her world and destroy the safe cacoon she has created.
For the first 174 pages, this story chugs along as a pretty unsubstantial novel and I wouldn't be surprised if some readers didn't give up on it before then. There's the usual predictable YA cliches of love triangle, pranks, conflict with teachers and parents, etc. But then the story turns very dark, very quickly, and basically becomes something else altogether. In this respect, it reminded me of Nicholas Sparks (and I noticed that a lot of people who like Sparks like this one). But in my mind, taking a mediocre story and turning up the volume on the violins at midpoint by an out-of-the-blue tragedy is a cheap way to rescue the story. Yes, you'll cry for the second half of the book, but I'd rather have a single coherant plot line (or at least have the tragedy be sufficiently foreshadowed -- see Looking for Alaska or Almost Home).