I'll be honest: I didn't immediately love this book. I liked Jill well enough, but I wasn't sure how to feel about Mandy. She's... different. But, the more I read, the more I came to care for both of these characters.I found Jill easy to relate to. I think I would have been just as moody and skeptical if my mother decided to adopt a baby just before I went off to college and directly after my father passed away. Truthfully, I think I would have been moody and skeptical regardless of the circumstances. Mandy was quite so easy to understand at first, but, in retrospect, I think this made the novel better and built a stronger bond between the character and reader. Little by little, Zarr reveals pieces of Mandy's past and, as the reader begins to fit these experiences together, her actions and thoughts start to make sense. I liked how incredibly different Jill and Mandy are. Both have survived horrible things in their lives... and they've both dealt with their experiences in entirely different ways. On the outside, Jill appears tough and independent, but, on the inside, she's falling apart. Mandy may appear naive and soft, but she's much stronger and determined than one would guess.I loved getting to know both of these characters. There are wonderful friendships in this novel, a hopeful romance, and a fantastic mother figure, but it was these two young women and their strength that have inspired me to recommend this novel.