And I won't ruin the other twist, even though I think the back cover copy does (why do books DO that?). The last person she expects to run into becomes the unintended focus of her summer.
Credit to the author for showing a partying "bad" girl who is ultimately sympathetic and believable without going the preachy route. Definitely a needed book in YA given how many girls are shamed for being slutty or dismissed entirely because of speculated reputations. The story shows the person behind the partying persona and readers can get the sense why Whitley acts the way she does, making her someone to root for so she can get her life together.
I'm sure this book ends up on banned lists as a knee-jerk reaction to strong language, drug and alcohol use, and sexual situations. However, all those factors are told within a responsible narrative, meaning that consequences are shown, and nothing is so outlandish that it steps beyond what many teenagers experience. I like that Whitley made choices for herself that reflected her own self-worth. The lesson here is not that "partying is bad" but the character's understanding of what triggered her destructive behavior and why it was hurting her. Plus, this is packaged in a YA voice that reads very authentic and not strained or like a morality play.