Goodreads ~ Returning to Hidden Pines is the last thing Allie Collins wants to do during her final summer before college. For her, the family cabin she spent her youthful summers in now holds a dark memory that has haunted her every day for the last year.
While struggling to forget her past, Allie runs into Damien, a local rebel with secrets of his own. He's dark, dangerous and he keeps showing up when Allie least expects him to. She has every reason not to trust him. So why does she find herself opening up to him in a way she hasn't been able to with anyone?
As pieces of Damien’s identity emerge, answers to a rumored mystery begin to unfold. By the time Allie unearths the secrets of Damien’s past, she realizes just how intricately they are connected. Now she is caught in a dangerous battle that threatens her life and those she loves.
Allie spends the summer before she heads to college at the family cottage with her dad, her fairly new stepmother, her stepbrother (Nick) and her stepbrother's friend (Aaron). She doesn't want to be there because her young cousin, Maddie, drowned there last summer while Allie was keeping an eye on her. Her family feel that by being there, she'll be able to get over her guilt.
She meets Damien, who is just a couple years older than she is. She instantly feels a connection with him and is able to trust him enough to talk about her grief and guilt. He gives her the confidence to get over some of her fears. But he took has had a tragedy in his life too. Once she discovers his secret, his past soon catches up with him, putting them both in danger.
This YA novel is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it. It is written in first person perspective, mostly in Allie's voice. A few chapters towards the end are in Damien's voice as he tells his story. I liked the writing style and didn't find it to be too young for me given I'm probably not the intended demographic.
I liked Allie and Damien. They felt responsible for the tragedies in their lives and this was holding them back being happier. I felt bad for Allie's dad ... he had been out of her life for a few years after the divorce and was now trying to make up for it. Her stepmother seemed nice enough. Nick was a year older that Allie and an mean A-hole ... he was easy to dislike. Aaron was a good friend to Nick (which Allie didn't understand) and became a good friend to Allie. Brooke, Allie's friend, was a bit of ditz and loved boys.
I would recommend this book. As a head's up, there is some violence and mature situations.