Sky has lived an unusual but very happy life. When she was five, Karen adopted her, and other than the slight but negligible inconvenience of being raised by a technophobe and a health nut, and having virtually no friends (she was homeschooled), it’s been a pretty great life. The year she turns 17 is a year of a lot of changes. Her best friend Six leaves to Italy on a student exchange program, she joins high school in senior year and finds out that its just as horrible as everyone said it was, meets Breckin who becomes a great friend… And Holder enters her life. Again. After some initial hurdles, they’re in a steady relationship.
But one horrible day, Sky uncovers things that Holder has hidden from her. Holder, his twin Lesslie and Sky knew each other when they were kids, but when Sky was five, she was kidnapped, and had never been found. And her real name was Hope, not Sky. Sky & Holder travel to Austin to see her old house, and Sky realises that she had been sexually abused by her father, but had repressed the memories. They meet her father, who admits to having abused Lesslie and his sister too in a similar manner. After his confession, he kills himself. Holder & Sky return home, and confront Karen, who confesses to kidnapping Sky when she was 5, because she knew she was being sexually abused by her father. How? Karen is Sky’s aunt. Karen is ready to hand herself over to the police, but Sky forgives her, and Holder too, and everyone lives happily ever after.
What went down
- The story opens with Sky and Six ushering boys into their rooms for a make-out session that soon turns sour, with the boys turned out, and the girls pigging out on ice cream. It is the day before Sky starts her senior year at the high school after years of being home schooled. But she’ll have to tough it out alone, since Six is leaving on a student exchange program to Italy.
- On the first day, Sky goes to school early to get the lay of the land. She spies a boy running on the tracks, but just when school is about to start, he leaves. The first day turns out to be the worst day ever, with Six’s reputation leaking onto Sky, and everyone thinking she’s a slut. But Sky takes it pretty much in her stride. During lunch she meets Breckin, who’s a Mormon and gay, and becomes Sky’s self proclaimed ‘very bestest friend ever in the whole wide world’.
- That day, when she goes to the store, she meets the same guy from the track, who behaves very weird and stalkerish with her, insisting on knowing her full name and examining her id. But despite her misgivings, she gives in because of his completely melting look of entreaty. When he finds out her name, he seems disappointed about something, but lets he go. When on her evening run, she runs into him again, and learns his name is Holder, and he has a tattoo across his forearm that says ‘Hopeless’.
- When Sky asks Six about Holder, she says that while she’s happy to learn finally that Sky is capable of experiencing lust (which she is, big time), Dean Holder is not boyfriend material. The previous year, soon after his twin sister’s suicide, he had been sent to juvi for committing a hate crime: beating up a gay student.
- Holder enrols in school the next day, and is in the same class as Sky and Breckin. He seems pretty friendly at first, different from how he was at the store, but then, when he sees Sky with Grayson (the guy from the make-out session), he turns into a completely different guy: angry, demanding, and rude. Sky suspects he’s got a split personality disorder.
- That weekend, Karen leaves to the flea market, leaving Sky home alone. To celebrate, she bakes (Karen is a health nut, so this is rebellion). Holder turns up, and they end up having dinner together and clearing up the air about their various misunderstandings. They spend the next day too together, and get to know each other. Sky tells Holder about her father, and Holder tells her about his twin sister, Lesslie (Les), who committed suicide the previous year. When asked about his tattoo, he only says that it’s a reminder of the people he loved and let down. There’s also an interesting conversation about their first kiss (among other firsts), and things seem to be going in the right direction.
- On Monday, Sky goes to school wearing a bracelet that’s the only thing she has from her previous life. She remembers a girl who gave it to her, and her brother, who were both her best friends, but everything else is blank. At lunch that day, when Holder sees the bracelet, he blows a gasket, and becomes rude and explosive, confounding both Sky and Breckin with his behaviour. Sky is let down all over again. It’s like all of her misgivings were right after all.
- Sky and Holder don’t talk for almost a month. A day before her birthday, Breckin gives her an e-reader, which just about skirts Karen’s rules, but doesn’t break them.
- That night, Holder comes to her room and snuggles up with her (if you’ve read the book, you know this isn’t at all creepy, like it sounds here). Karen’s at the flea market again so it’s just the two of them at home. The next day, Holder cooks her breakfast and is completely different from how he’d been the entire month. Sky comes to the conclusion that he’s on drugs and confronts him. He laughs outright and denies it, saying he left her because he didn’t want her to start loving him, because he’s only disappointed everyone who’s ever loved him. But because he just cant keep away from her, he’s back. He’s somewhere between liking and loving her, so basically, he lives her. As in, love+like=live. Get it?
- Holder gets Breckin, and all three of them spend Sky’s birthday at the flea market, meeting her mother, and with the boys making it up to Sky for the horrible month. Sky & Holder are officially a couple.
- A month later, a boy tries to instigate a fight with Holder, but Sky prevents Holder from retaliating and takes him away to his car. Holder breaks down, and explains that the boy was the brother of the kid Holder had beaten up the previous year. After Les’s death, Jake had said that she’s taken the coward’s way out, and though Holder knew that was the truth, he couldn’t take it, and so beat him up, but he didn’t know that he was gay.
- That night, Holder comes to see Sky, but he’s a little drunk on lemonades, so he’s not really making much sense. Just as he’s about to drift off to sleep, he tells Sky he loves her. Except, he calls her Hope.
- Sky has a dream in which her room’s door is closed and she’s scared of the the door knob opening. She wakes up sobbing, and Holder tells her it’s only a nightmare, and she’s safe.
- Holder and Sky go to see Max’s (Breckin’s boyfriend) paintings which are showing at the gallery, but they have a special night planned for later on. Holder takes Sky to his house, and just when their about to take their relationship to the next level, Sky freaks out completely and starts crying. Holder stops right there, and tries to console her.
- When Holder goes to get her water, she slips into a room, thinking it’s the bathroom, but it turns out to be Lesslie’s bedroom, and everything has been left as it was before her death. She spots a photo of Holder and Lesslie when they were kids. Strangely, she knows the knows the house in the background like the back of her hand. Even the inside of it. Naturally, that kind of freaks out. She realises that she must be Hope.
- Holder tells her that when they were all kids, they were neighbours and best friends. Sky’s father always made her cry. One day, when she was crying on the porch, Holder and Les came to console her, and that was when Les gave her the bracelet. After Les left, Holder had been sitting along with her, but after some time, he left too, but then turned back, knowing that small kids mustn’t be left alone. When he was walking back to Hope, a car stopped in front of her, and a lady talked to Hope for a few minutes, after which Hope got into the car and drove off with her. And that was the last time anyone saw Hope. She’s been missing ever since.
- That night, another repressed memory resurfaces in a dream, and Sky realises that Karen was the one who took her. Sky confronts Karen and asks her why she was homeschooled all her life, why she’s not allowed to have a phone and everything else that’s been odd in her life. Some part of Karen realises that Sky must know the truth, but she doesn’t come out and tell her anything. Sky leaves the house with Holder, needing to just get away from it all.
- They go to Austin, which was where they lived when Hope was taken. Sky insists on seeing the house, and when they’re there, on seeing her room. Her room has a sky theme, filled with stars and clouds. When she lies down on the bed, she gets back some more of her memories. Ever since her mother’s death, her father had been raping her, which was why she was afraid of the door knob turning. And one day, when Holder saw her crying, he told her to think of the sky when she was sad, and then she’d become happier, which was how the sky had become her favourite thing ever.
- She runs out of the house and they return to the hotel, where Sky breaks down completely. Holder consoles her, and very beautifully at that. But Sky says she need to go back to the house one last time, to get her mother’s stuff, and for closure.
- They go there, just in time to see her father come home. Sky goes to him, despite Holder trying to stop her, and her father recognises her. When Sky asks him why he did it, he denies it at first, but then admits to it. He says he struggled with a drinking problem. He also admits to having abused her sister, once, long ago, and also the girl lived next door, who was Les. Holder is in pieces when he hears this, and makes a threatening move at Sky’s father, who quickly pulls a gun on him (he’s a policeman, in case you’ve forgotten). Holder freezes.
- Sky’s father radios in that an officer is down, and then turns the gun on himself and shoots. Obviously, he dies. Holder and Sky return to the hotel, and then go back home.
How did it end?
At home, Karen confesses everything to Sky, and says she’s her aunt, which is how she knew what Hope had been going through. She couldn’t stand to watch her brother spoil another life, and so she took her away. She offers to turn herself in, but Sky sees the real reason why she did it, andthanks her for saving her.
And so they all lived happily ever after.