Fallon is scarred. She carries both physical and emotional scars from the fire that she survived on November 9th when she was 16. She harbors resentment toward her father, a B list actor who is a legend in his own mind, because he forgot it was her weekend to spend with him and did not think to alert her of the engulfing flames before making his own escape. Consequently, she does not respond favorably when her father, in no subtle terms over lunch two years after the fire, tells her that her own rising star has burned out in the film industry unless an upcoming role includes a female character with obvious scars covering one side of her body. She is about to have a rage induced meltdown in front of her father when their tense lunch is interrupted by Ben Kessler, a disheveled yet handsome college student, who poses as Fallon’s boyfriend in order to salvage the remnants of Fallon’s diminishing dignity.
After her father leaves the restaurant, Fallon and Ben have an immediate connection. Unlike so many, Ben is not afraid to look at Fallon’s scars. Fallon is taken aback by Ben’s infatuation with her as she has not received such favorable attention from guys (or anyone, really) since before the fire. However, their futures do not seem to be following the same trajectory. She is set to move across the country to New York the following day. Even though Fallon’s instincts are telling her there is something special about Ben, she is of the mindset that she cannot fully explore her full career potential if she is also invested in a serious, long-distance relationship at 18. Against Ben’s instincts, he agrees to Fallon’s idea of meeting up in the same restaurant exactly one year from this day to catch up on each other’s lives. They spend the next 4 years apart except for the one day a year where they meet up to reconnect. Things between the two of them are too good to be true…until they are not. Over time, Fallon starts to question where her reality ends and Ben’s reality begins. As the years pass, she struggles to understand whether she is the leading heroine in her own life’s story, or the unfortunate supporting actress in Ben’s fictional story. It will take many twists and turns before they figure out their real place in each other’s lives.
Why I read it: Recommendation from a friend
Trigger warnings: sexual content, suicide, accidental death, language