Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…
This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt–with her.
Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…
Kate is different than most of the people at her high school. She’s been called a Jesus Freak, a prude, and most recently, a judgmental bitch. Kate’s been dodging her best friend’s phone calls and emails because she feels guilt and shame for doing something for her friend that she thinks God would not forgive her for. She’s working at a Christian summer camp before she leaves for college. That’s when she runs into Matt.
Matt is a college junior who knows Kate from when they both attended the camp in their youth. Matt immediately starts flirting with Kate and the two quickly become an item.
Kate is very religious. She takes her Christianity very seriously and is pretty judgmental of those who do not follow the bible and church as much as she does. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that she helps her best friend have an abortion. This information is told in the first chapter. So she feels guilt for helping her and wonders if she hadn’t helped Emily, would Emily have gone through with it? Or would she just have gone through it alone? She’s struggling with this and it feels like a stain on her soul. So she cuts Emily out of her life because Emily has started to question God and Kate cannot abide this. The thing is, I loved that we could know what was happening in her head. On the outside, she was very fastidious about sinning and doing what she considered “right,” but on the inside, she was constantly questioning if the things that her friends were doing, even little things like smoking, were really bad even though they went to church and were considered “Christian.” Matt, for instance, is in a fraternity and Kate doesn’t like this at all, but he prays and he reads his bible. Would God want her to be with him? She’s not sure. She’s also very torn about their relationship because she wants to get as close to him as possible and loves the physical aspect of their relationship. She begins to understand how Emily and her boyfriend Jacob could become sexually active despite their position in the church.
I loved Kate. I wanted to hug her and assure her that she would be fine. She stood up for herself and her beliefs and even when she questioned them, she still stuck to them. I love how she changed from being judgmental to realizing that people have their own truth and their own beliefs and that there is no overall “right” but how people interpret it themselves. Kate was a fantastic heroine. She never did anything just to be mean and she actually went against her beliefs on a few occasions when to do otherwise would have resulted in someone being hurt worse. Her views changed and she made new friends, which was something she was lacking in high school when she was so devout. Matt, too, was awesome. I LOVED HIM. He understood Kate and never pushed her out of her comfort zone. He’s definitely a new book boyfriend. Matt was just a great guy and a great character. I personally have a hard time with organized religion and I was afraid that this book would be “preachy,” and at some points I couldn’t believe her thoughts and actions, but I respected them because I could see what was in her head and her heart. I think this book changed me a little, too. That’s a lot for such a short, “teen” book.