From Joya Goffney, author of Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry, comes her third stunning YA novel, a stirring coming-of-age, best friends-to-lovers romance about a girl named Nikki who plans to run away from small-town Texas but ultimately finds that her oldest friend, Mal, just might be the one who’s been there for her all along. Filled with Joya’s signature heart and humor, this book captures complex family dynamics, friendship, and love. For fans of I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest and Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan.
After a painful betrayal by her sister and a heated argument with their mother, Nikki is kicked out and finds herself homeless over spring break, only two months away from graduation. But instead of relying on anyone, especially someone like Malachai and his rich, overeager, overgenerous parents, to give her a home, and instead of waiting for her dad who isn't actually her birth-dad to talk some sense into her heartless mother again, she decides to jet. She'll drive as far as her car will take her, so long as it's away from that woman.
When Malachai catches wind of her plan to flee Texas, he begs her to stay the remainder of spring break with him at his parent-free house. He believes that over the course of a week, he can either convince her to stay in Cactus, Texas, or at least help her come up with a solution that ends with her graduating. All the while, she's dead set on heading to California at the end of the week to get started on her dream music career, no matter how impractical it is. But all their spring break plans are interrupted when Nikki's sister goes missing. Running away isn't something Vae does—it's always been Nikki's thing.
Nikki is forced to work alongside her wretched mother, her mother's ex-husband, and Malachai, who may or may not be moving into the boyfriend slot, to find her little sister, all with the uncertainty of what will happen at the end of the week. Will Nikki find a way to stay in Cactus, or will this spring break be the last time she ever sees these people?