Title: Until Friday Night
Author: Abbi Glines
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Synopsis: To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer. Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away. As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.
My Rating: 1/3
I’m a bit unsure how to rate this book because it almost felt like 2 books in one. I think in general, this was a cute contemporary, it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a cute book.
In this story we have 2 characters, dual POVs and some hard themes. The themes in this novel are mainly death and grief in the lives of two teens living in Alabama. Maggie has just moved in to her Uncle’s house with her aunt and her cousin Brady who is in the same grade as she is. Two years ago Maggie’s dad killed her mom in front of Maggie and since then Maggie has not spoken. Brady is pretty pissed that he’s not only gotten stuck with his traumatized cousin but that she’s really pretty and all of his football buddies have taken an immediate interest in her. Enter West Ashby, Brady’s bff. West has his own demons, his father is actively dying of cancer and he’s told none of his friends. He’s a mess, pretending everything is OK while still keeping up the appearance of popular jock and a jerk. Maggie and West collide and find common ground in understand about pain and grief. That’s essentially the story.
I really enjoyed West’s grief and home life because it was palpable. He wants to be able to continue being Mr. Popular with the ladies and the carefree teen he was but the pain of loosing his Dad and seeing his Mom falling apart is killing him. The first half of the book I think Glines makes a compelling hero out of West. However, I did feel that he was lost in a sea of possessiveness in the second half of the book and I didn’t like the turn he took. He didn’t want anyone to talk to Maggie and despite her telling him that it was not OK for him to be this way, that is wasn’t healthy all it took was him telling her he loved her for all that to be swept under the rug. I had that sense that I get when reading some YA contemporaries that a couple would never last? Yeah, I got that from these two.
I did enjoy the camaraderie of the football team, those friendships I felt were very realistic. The boys are all friends with one another yet they still behave like teens, hormone crazy and all. And Brady – despite being a side character, Brady really was the stand out. Being the star-quarterback he’s used to living the dream but he suddenly becomes overprotective of Maggie, I think he genuinely cares for his cousin and doesn’t want his boys going after her after all she’s been through. He’s also torn because once he finds out about West’s dad he hurts for his best friend.
Now, our heroine Maggie I felt was either underdeveloped or just bland. I think West took the reins in this story and she lacked backbone despite being there for West I didn’t really feel for her. I did realize that I can’t always have the strong female I long for, not all women are this way but I think it’s the ones I like to read about.
Either way, it was a cute book, nothing exceptional but good for teens.