Just to add some oomph to my bodacious giveaway, here is an excerpt from Anne Pfeffer's book:
We round a corner in the road and stop to admire the combined city and canyon view stretched out in front of us. "It's so clear today," Emily says.
"Los Angeles," I tell her. "Greatest city in the world." She and I have a running argument about it, since I love LA, while she can't wait to move to the East Coast for college.
We start walking again. By now, I've learned that Emily has big plans for her life. For college and grad school, she wants to go Ivy League, then after that, live in Washington DC or Europe, working at a think tank or maybe as a diplomat.
"I'm not sure exactly what," she says. "But it would be nice to—I don't know—help make the world a better place." She looks almost shy. "It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?"
"No." I feel about as deep as a piece of tracing paper. "I wish I knew what I wanted."
"You'll figure it out. You're really smart, Ryan." She slips her hand through my arm, and I press it close to my side with my elbow.
"You really think so?" I feel humble hearing Emily say I'm smart.
"Of course. You were smart about Michael that night. You took him off to a private place and took care of him. You knew he couldn't drive himself home. You told him to wait for you. It's not your fault that he ran off while you were gone for a couple of minutes."
My eyes get this prickly feeling, like I'm going to start crying like a big baby. Horrified, I stop dead in my tracks, which, since her hand is clamped under my elbow, makes her jerk to a stop alongside me.
I focus on a couple of little dogs that have run up to Toby, bristling and yapping to make themselves look scary. "You're not fooling anyone," I say to them.
Toby is rooted in one place, sniffing something interesting by the side of the road. I look down at Emily and her insanely kissable lips, and I know at that moment that she would let me kiss her—in fact, she wants me to kiss her—but I can't. If I do, I'll be lost—so in love that I'll never come back to my old self—and I don't deserve to have love when Michael is dead. And I killed him.
We stand there looking at each other, and then the moment passes. Emily stares off into the distance, her mouth tightening a little in disappointment. We turn around and walk the road back to my car, not speaking.
I can't fall in love when Michael is dead. But the problem is, I think to myself, it's too late.
I already have.