Due to an incident where she was publicly intoxicated she is remanded to community service, mandatory AA meetings and to pay an $8,000 fee forcing her to look for a job in her small town. Her only problem with that? She gets fired from every job and her grandparents consider it a success when she last 2 weeks at Starbucks before she's fired and forced to find work at the local strip club.
As angry as she was, and she had every right to be, she was also pretty damn funny with her sarcasm and sassy banter. I really liked how neither Carter nor her friend Sarah ever put up with any of her crap and gave as good as they got. She was sassy and by simply accepting her for who she was, something that had never happened before, they brought out this trusting/loving/happy side of her she never knew was there.
What I didn't like, which was probably the author's design to segue into book 2: Beautiful Temptation, was how mysterious Carter was. We didn't even know what he did for a living until the last sentence of the book and even that I'm not sure if completely honest or if it was only because of Emerald's decision to attend college 2 hours away from him. Also, didn't like how open and honest Emerald was with Carter but yet, in the end, didn't include him at all in her decision to leave.
All-in-all, I thought this was a really great book, one I gave 5 stars to. Of the things I liked, I really enjoyed reading the author's overall explanation of why Emerald is the way she is, without being annoying about it or using it as an excuse to make Emerald a weak character. I also liked how Emerald never used how she was raised as a crutch and even after facing constant emotional and physical rejection from people who were supposed to support her, she was never out-and-out mean. I really felt that the journey Emerald took as a character and her overall evolution felt honest and believable. Also, that cover! It's beautiful. I would definitely recommend this one.