5 out of 5 stars

If you love instant attraction and tales of opposites attract, this is the story for you. While the characters are teenagers, there is a lot of drugs, sex, and adult behavior, so I’m not sure if this is a YA novel, per se.

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“Everything We Might Have Been,” by Megan Walker and Janci Patterson isn’t my typical read, but I received a copy from the authors through Voracious Readers Only and it sounded like a fun read. It was, and it was quick and easy. It also hooked me, and I’ll definitely be checking out the series from which these characters originate.

This is an alternate reality in which two characters from the authors’ “The Extra” series met in high school instead of as adults. This is fine as a standalone, but I felt a little like I was playing catch up. I don’t feel like you have to read the original series before you read this, but if you have done so it will probably provide extra context and meaning.

Jenna is a “bad girl.” As a senior in high school, she is already a mom to a toddler. And, she’s blessed to have such good parents because they still let her party, go to school when she feels like it, and do basically whatever she wants while they raise her kid, all while they tentatively sit back and hope that she will step up and be the kid’s mom. 

Felix Mays is a brilliant student and a shoo-in for Julliard on the cello. He had a respectable girlfriend, but it recently ended badly.

Somehow, the pair have been secretly pining for each other when they get thrown together in a class project. Craziness ensues.

As a mom, the behavior of the two teens and also the permissiveness of the parents was shocking and a little bothersome to me. But it was also a fast-paced, sultry read about two people that want what most of us want – to be loved for who they really are and not what they can do.

That said, I couldn’t put it down. I cared about the characters and wanted to see what happened to them even beyond these pages. Alas, since this is an alternate history, I must go see what their “real” life was like instead. 

I gave it five stars because even though I found the lifestyle enjoyed by the main characters a little unbelievable, I enjoyed the book immensely. If you enjoy sweet, mildly steamy romances with hopeful endings, this is a great read for you.

Content warning: Underage sex and extensive drug use, mention of sexual assault, teen pregnancy, sexism (slut-shaming), body image, mild child endangerment, slight profanity