Bettina is part of a strict Greek family. When she introduces her father to her boyfriend, she isn't expecting her father to approve. Surprisingly her dad likes Brady, who quickly becomes well known at high school for his accomplishments on the basketball court.
Bettina liked it better before Brady became popular. Now, the sweet boyfriend she had often hurts her physically and emotionally.
And yet, Bettina hangs on to their relationship, often blaming herself for the way she is treated.
When Bettina meets Cowboy she feels an instant connection to him. He's older than her- enough older that she knows instantly that her father wouldn't approve of him. And when she sees the scars on his back she knows that Cowboy has had some hard times, too. It is his own experiences that allow him to understand what Bettina is going through and continue to work on getting her to leave Brady.
Finally, just when Cowboy and Bettina decide they will take the risk and have a relationship, tragedy strikes.
I'd read enough reviews that I wasn't necessarily surprised by the way the story unfolded, but even being able to guess at it didn't lessen my sorrow at the way things play out.
Leslie Connor has written a book for teens that seems realistic. There are a few sex scenes in the novel, but aren't graphic, and are well done, but would probably see me recommending it to teen readers and not tweens.
Every once in a while I wonder how out of the loop I am - an adult trying to decide which books are the best for readers a few decades younger than me. When I handed this book to my seventeen year old co-op worker, she started reading and didn't stop (except for to text me about the book while reading) until she was finished, at which point she exclaimed about how much she loved this book.