Kyle has been with Kimberly since middle school. Having injured his arm and lost all chances of playing college football, Kyle thinks he is following Kimberly to a future together, at UCLA. On the night of their graduation party, Kim reveals to Kyle that she is instead going to Berkley, and that she wants to find out who she is without him. Kyle is upset and they drive off to talk things through, but a truck crashes into their car in the stormy weather.
When Kyle wakes up at the hospital, he learns that Kim was killed in the accident. He struggles with the fact that they ended things before she died and distances himself from Sam, who was a close friend to both of them.
Kyle sees visions of Kim, which he attributes to his brain injury and his inability to move on. He finally visits her grave and meets a girl there, Marley, who is visiting the grave of her twin sister. Marley and Kyle feel a connection but agree to just be friends. Marley's influence brings out the best in Kyle--he moves on from Kim, reconnects with Sam, and finds purpose in his sports-writing internship. The two fall in love and Kyle finds true happiness during the year following the accident--until he bangs his head.
Kyle wakes up in the hospital; he has actually been in a coma for eight weeks and Kimberly is still alive. Kyle asks about Marley, but his mum and friends don't know who she is--it seems that Kyle's brain created a fictional happy life. Kyle talks things out with Kim and they agree it's best for both of them end their on-again, off-again relationship for good. Everyone around him tells Kyle that Marley is a figment of this imagination, that he dreamt the perfect girl and perfect life. He tries to track her down and thinks that he has found Marley, but, when he arrives at her house it's the wrong girl.
Kyle is about to lose hope when he spots a nurse that has some of Marley's features. He learns that Marley is the nurse's daughter, who has been reading her stories to him while he was in a coma. She is a very reserved girl who feels responsible for the car accident that caused the death of her twin sister, Laura. Much as Marley brought the best out in Kyle while he was in his dream state, Kyle brings Marley out of her shell and tries to convince her that she deserves a life full of love and happiness.
As he and Marley begin their real relationship, tragedy strikes again; Marley tries to rescue a boy about to be hit by a car--as her sister Laura was--and is gravely injured. Kyle fears that he will lose her, but the near-death experience allows Marley to finally say goodbye to Laura and move on from her guilt. Kyle and Marley start their story together.
A heart-warming contemporary YA story about love, stories, time, the future we want for ourselves, and finding out who you are. A strong second outing from the authors of Five Feet Apart which is sure to delight readers of John Green, David Levithan, and Nicola Yoon.
love, identity, grief, time, stories, coma, choices, moving forward, romance
1. Underage drinking. 2. Mild kissing scenes throughout. Marley and Kyle strip to their underwear, with possible implication that they have sex (nothing occurs on the page) (p. 170). 3. Language: bitch x 3, dick x 7, shit x 37, f**k x 23. Discussion of death throughout. One character is in a coma through most of the novel. During his coma, Kyle thinks he has visions of his dead girlfriend - his girlfriend is actually alive, and the images are just creations of his traumatized brain