Synopsis from Goodreads: Kate Parker is a 17 year old senior living in Texas. She's on the swim team, has two incredible best friends, and a passion for saving animals. She falls hard when she meets a mysterious and fascinating guy named Lucas. He has a sexy accent and a killer smile. However, she sees unexplained pain and anger in his dark brown eyes. He claims he’s a foreign exchange student from Spain who is attending the local University—Kate knows there’s more to his story than that. She works hard to discover who he is—what he is.
How acquired: ARC sent to me by the author for review. Scheduled release date June 3, 2016.
My thoughts: I didn't know much about this book other than it's a YA/Urban Fantasy, and I really had no idea what to expect. Kate is an interesting character. The word “hyperthymesia” is never used, but Kate has it. In case you're unfamiliar with it, it's also called Superior Autobiographical Memory, and those who possess it can remember every detail of everything that ever happens to them. Kate tells Lucas if she hears it or sees it, she will remember it. Other than her memory, Kate is a pretty normal teenager. She's on the swim team, she likes hanging out with her best friends, she fights with her little brother. She also loves animals, and seems to feel a connection to them. I thought in the beginning that might be explored a little more or be more intrinsic to the plot, but after the first part of the book, where Kate is trying to rescue a starving stray in the woods, it became more secondary.
Lucas is a mysterious motorcycle riding foreigner. He's come to the US from Spain to attend college. They have a “meet cute” moment when Kate walks out of the woods to find Lucas stranded on the side of the road, and she ends up fixing his motorcycle for him. (“Lucas, if you hold my pork chop, I will fix your bike.” That line made me laugh out loud.) There's a slight element of paranormal introduced, as Kate feels a strange anxiety inducing energy when Lucas touches her. Kate's father is a psychiatrist, and she tells him about this weird feeling (I can't imagine telling my dad anything like that at 17!), which leads to an extremely embarrassing moment for Kate when her father meets Lucas for the first time. Her father was a little off the wall with the over protectiveness, and I'm not sure if it's just the way he's wired, or if there's something about Kate that will be revealed in a future book.
Overall the writing felt a little simple, which may be typical of a lot of YA? Since I don't read a lot of it I can't really compare it to the rest of the genre. I was interested in the story, but did not really get engrossed until Kate learned the secret Lucas was hiding about himself. Until then I think I had mixed feelings about him. He had very violent tendencies, and while he seemed to really care about Kate, he did inadvertently physically hurt her at one point, and not knowing what drove him made it hard to feel completely sympathetic to him.
Some of the descriptive passages were vivid, and there was a very funny scene between Kate and her mother in the kitchen, as mom is getting dinner ready and Kate starts acting like a boxer and pretending to throw punches at her exasperated mother. I could see the scene play out in my head and it made me laugh.
This is the author's debut novel, and I think she shows a lot of promise. The book ends a tad abruptly, not on a cliffhanger, exactly, but sort of...I can't tell you any more than that, but it will be interesting to see what unfolds in future books.