4.5 STARS"Sometimes when people pigeonhole you, you end up being the pigeon."Well I certainly can't think of this book as that pigeon, that's for sure.I've finally caved in because all the cool kids in my feed have read this and have urged me to eff the cliffhanger ending and just jump in, the water is fine. So expectations were high and with the frustrating string of reads I've been having, the disappointment potential was even higher. But boy did this one deliver. Though, I must say, any book with a road trip set in the desert makes me all go a-flutter. I think its all the sexy sand and sweating that does me in, go figure.I think this is the book a lot of other "edgy" writers strive (and more often than not, fail) to be. There's a whole lot of material out there telling the story of damaged characters by saying they're damaged then left the reader to just swallow and choke on that with the usual saccharine trope. But this one didn't shy away from the mechanics of damaging these characters. Which makes that lead in your gut as you read on a little bit heavier.The character sketches of both Camden and Ellie were so layered and textured that it's hard to predict how the plot will twist a certain way. It's always a thrill to read a new author (for me), when everything is still unpredictable. When you don't know yet if she's building up these wonderful characters only to slay your vested emotions to shreds and how she's gonna do it. And what would be the soundtrack of your tears then.I loved Camden's vulnerability as a character. It's hard to encapsulate all his nuances and much easier to simplify him as the weird kid from high school who grew up smoking hot and a little southwest of adorkable. There was this particular scene in Camden's apartment, when his dad comes by that made me realize just how different, how apart this book was from the rest. Ellie's damage is so much greater, I feel, than Camden's that its quite a wonder how one could have hope for someone like her. I don't even know if she has some default setting that she can come back to should she be able to get away from it all. "She fell to the hopes that maybe she could love this strange beast, even though she was more of a monster than he was. She believed that maybe the affection of the weirdest boy in school - her friend - was better than no affection at all." "You've never seen my scars." My voice was barely audible, even in my own head. "No, I haven't. But I've seen what they've made you."I'm gonna stop my gushing because Karina Halle sounds like a really cool chick and I don't want to fangirl myself to embarrassment. I don't usually cast book characters but I'm gonna need to get Javier out of my system.... "He smelled like a million misleading memories."Am I sick for wanting to hear Javier's POV in the next book? Oh and yeah, the cliffhanger? What cliffhanger?