Standalone. Amulet/Abrams (March 2013) Library
Imogen has always believed that her black belt in Tae Kwon Do made her stronger than everyone else--more responsible, more capable. But when she witnesses a holdup in a diner, she freezes. The gunman is shot and killed by the police. And it's all her fault.
Now she's got to rebuild her life without the talent that made her special and the beliefs that made her strong. If only she could prove herself in a fight--a real fight--she might be able to let go of the guilt and shock. She's drawn to Ricky, another witness to the holdup, both romantically and because she believes he might be able to give her the fight she’s been waiting for. But when it comes down to it, a fight won’t answer Imogen's big questions: What does it really mean to be stronger than other people? Is there such a thing as a fair fight? And can someone who's beaten and bruised fall in love?
Imogen has always been a confident, strong person whose trust in the power of her Tae Kwon Do skills and black belt makes her feel even stronger, even somewhat invincible. Then one night changes everything. She becomes a witness to a robbery where she comes out alive but no longer whole. The robber is killed and that nags at her. She should have been able to prevent it. Why couldn't she prevent it? All these thoughts come into her head and nightmares of blood haunt her.
She only has the hope of meeting the mystery boy who she locked eyes with at the diner. The boy who kept her from being alone on the night that changed her life forever. When they finally meet a whole other mix of feelings start erupting inside her. A connection to this boy because of a traumatic event but also to his heart and who he is. Then there's this third feeling of him being the only chance she has to get in a real fight. A fight that she can prove herself with but that need to prove herself just might be her downfall.
I didn't feel it. I didn't feel the overwhelming emotion that comes with this type of book. I for sure felt upset at some moments when Imogen was hurting but there was always this trace of something... there was just something missing. I wanted to feel more. I wanted to feel wrecked and then I wanted to feel hope. Even if the author didn't intend to make readers feel wrecked emotionally I needed... more.
There were moments when the romance had some real possibility but in the end I was struck by how better I would have liked them if they were just friends. Why does there have to be romance involved? Why can't she face this without having a love interest to help keep her grounded? I wanted her to stand on her own. In a way she did and in a way the romance kind of messed that up.
I do like that Imogen has a genuinely good heart. She wanted to save the gunman of all people. She didn't feel like anyone should die. I also liked her brother who was has tons of ex-girlfriends and messed up one of her friendships. He sounds like a jerk but he really came through for his little sister. I wish there was more interaction with her family. I wish they were the ones who helped her more. There is one last great aspect of this story and that is the fact that Imogen is a black belt in Tae Kwan Do! How cool is that!? She's a girl that can take on a man twice her size if she wanted to because she's just that awesome. That unique part of the story is what kept me reading.
Overall: I liked it I really did but there was something missing that kept it from being a truly great book. Loved that the MC was a black belt!
You can check out Sarah Skilton's website here. Her next book should be out next year (according to Goodreads) called High and Dry.