It's a classic story line. Girl meets boy. Girl is the good two shoes type, boy is the James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause bad boy. Girl falls in love with boy, despite friends, current boyfriend and family all being against it.
Cross My Heart at first glance may seem like that typical, cliched high school romance story that everyone (even if secretly) loves. Everything about this book screams the cliche, but the funny thing is, it's not. Or even if you think it is, everything about this book has been written so brilliantly that it simply doesn't matter.
Take the characters, for example. Starting with our heroine, Jaden. She's smart, on the honour roll, salutatorian, works in the school's office, loved by every teacher, supporter of every charity known to mankind. She's also (even though it's only briefly touched on) a cheerleader and dates one of the school's basketball players. Who's also popular, and by the sounds of it, quite a terrible kisser. Yet Jaden is more than meets the eye; in fact, she's one of the most well rounded characters I've ever read. And you can relate to her and what's going on in her life.
And let's not get started on Parker, our male lead. Not only is the gorgeous bad boy such a thrill in a book, he's also smart. He challenges Jaden so much. They argue about Wuthering Heights (I'm on Jaden's side there), Mr. Darcy (how dare he diss the Darcy!!) There's so much more to Parker's 'everyone think's I'm the bad boy but I'm not really persona that comes across, and that's GOOD. The chemistry as well, between these two characters is amazing as well. Hell, everything about this book is just damn amazing. The connection that they have, right from the moment Jaden and Parker get assigned together for the project is like a big BOOM! They just fit.
Even the minor characters in the book are fantastic, from Jaden's best friend Savannah, to her family, especially her brother Daniel. Nothing back the characters in the book is perfect, they all have their different flaws (like her mother won't listen to her, her Dad focuses more on work than on home life...sometimes). But funnily enough, that's what makes them more real. More human. It makes them ALIVE!
This book has everything that a great contemporary love story should have. Brilliant characters, a fantastic plot that isn't at all what you think. I found myself never wanting it to end, or never wanting to put it down. The fact that it is 4:15am on Christmas morning and I am up - having just finished reading Cross My Heart - posting this review is just testament to it's awesomeness. No wonder it was on Amazon's Teen Top 100.
Klein also writes with a great sense of humour and style. The book was full of little quips - like the conversations between Jaden and Parker, or Jaden and her brothers (especially Phillip) that just have you snorting out in laughter. There's also the small things, the mannerisms of the characters and the detail that Klein takes to put these mannerisms in to show off a character's personality. Like Jaden picking off the crusts on her sandwich (which I totally do!).
This book is by far my favourite book of 2011 in the contemporary category at least. An amazing read, one that I'm sure I will never get sick of. I'm looking forward to diving into more of Klein's books, including Guardian, a new series.