The story spans over 8 or so years and is told mainly from Rowan's POV. Rowan is young. Many books in this genre have 17 year olds that act like they are in their mid twenties. Not so with Rowan. She is 17, acts like she's 17, and has the emotional maturity of a 17 year old. (In my head, this completely accounts for the depressing tone of the book...anyone who has been around a heart broken 17 yr. old I'm sure would agree.)
Rowan is not only 17, but she is a small town girl. She has a mother who is not all there and a step father that loves both Rowan and her mom. The summer before her senior year, she falls in love with Parker, a motor cross racer. Parker is an extremely talented rider, but also is shy, withdrawn, and probably the most non-communicative guy there is. When Parker does say something, you really have to read into it to get even a glimpse at the depth of feeling he tries to convey. (I'm sure you can see the problem coming from a mile away.) At 17, Rowan lacks the self assurance and maturity to really understand what Parker tries to tell her and, as result, they spend the next five years in non-relationship hell.
I really did appreciate the fact that the book didn't just end, but we were allowed to get a glimpse of where the ending lead. I also appreciated the fact that neither Rowan nor Parker slept with anyone else even though both had ample opportunity. It really spoke to the romantic in me.
Rating the book was difficult for me. The tone just really did a number on me and not in a good way. The ending made up for it though.