Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
I have a new book to add to my list of all-time favorite reads, Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols. I loved this book so much that I don't want to reveal too many specifics because I hope you read the book yourself.
After trespassing on a bridge where a couple was killed years earlier by a train, three small-town Alabama high school seniors face an interesting punishment. They have to spend nights riding around in a local ambulance, fire truck, or police car instead of going on the annual spring break trip to Florida. (The fourth teen on the bridge, actually a year older, gets off because his dad is the local big-deal attorney, though you just know that his punishment of never having to face consequences for his actions, along with having parents who probably don't even care about him, is much worse in the final analysis.)
As a result, Meg and John, the police officer who arrests them and chooses to have her ride around with him, have one of those permanently life-altering weeks. They learn a lot about each other, dispelling more than a few false assumptions, and they face their biggest fears--being trapped, literally and figuratively, for Meg and the bridge and leaving town for John.
The relationship between Meg and John develops and evolves at the perfect pace. Regardless of whether they stay together, they make choices that allow their true selves to come through. Choices based on courage and hope, not fear.
My only complaint, and this is a minor one, is that Meg doesn't grasp the reason, which seems obvious fairly early in the book, that John is so obsessed with the bridge.
I almost never cry at books and movies, and I cried during the section that explains why Meg is so afraid of being confined. I cried for her, and I cried for her parents, who made a difficult decision from a place of love. Maybe that's one of the best parts of reading teen fiction at my age--I can understand the parents better than when I was a teenager.
My overall personal review of Going Too Far is an A.