The Lighter Side of Life and Death
Sixteen-year-old Mason Rice is on the top of the world. He has several close friends, is well-liked by everyone, has a great relationship with his single-parent father, and feels comfortable in his skin—something many teenagers do not often experience.
After Mason’s stellar acting in his high school play, he attends the cast party and is on top of the world from his performance. When he sees that his best friend Kat Medina is bummed out because her boyfriend has hooked up with the fastest girl on campus, Mason decides to take her under his wing, even if it means missing the party. Kat drinks too much thinking alcohol will get out of her funk, which doesn’t happen, so the two leave and go to Mason’s house. Before they both realize what they’re doing, they end up in bed. Mason feels their lovemaking is totally incredible and has secretly desired Kat for more than a friend for three years. Though Kat willingly gave up her virginity to Mason, she becomes standoffish to him afterward. Mason, envisioning them as a couple, is confused by Kat’s rejection. Things only get worse when Mason’s other best friend, Jamie, learns about their tryst and also distances himself from Mason.
Shortly after Mason gets snubbed by both Kat and Jamie, his soon-to-be stepmom is feted at a bridal shower at his house. Mason is introduced to a breathtakingly gorgeous twenty-three-year-old woman at the party, and surprisingly, they both are attracted to each other and soon enter into an affair. Mason, walking on clouds, soon recognizes there is a big problem sneaking around so he won’t be seen with the “older woman” and now too, his friends seem juvenile to him. Add to that, his new stepmom moves into the house he shared with only his dad, bringing her sullen thirteen-year-old daughter and boisterous six-year-old son. The world suddenly becomes too confusing for Mason.
Ms. Martin hits on a very volatile subject—teenage sex—and deals with all the confusion and angst that goes along with it. Her novel contains explicit sex and language, which may be a bit disturbing to some teens, but is a fact of life in our present time. The story teaches the reader about the complexities of love, safe sex, and the value of relationships and friendship.