Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Synopsis: Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants. Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily. And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.
All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.
Huge thank you to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for this ARC!
Wow, I liked this much more than I thought I would! If you scroll down there are a TON of one-star reviews, so I was really worried about this. I read another book by this author last year and only enjoyed it so-so, soooo I was skeptical. But this just sounded SO GOOD. I love things like this with “Families” and illegal activities going on. (I also love stuff with the FBI or CIA getting those bad guys soooo yeah).
Penny’s family is one of the top three that deal in organ trading. I was worried that there’d be some gruesome parts in this, but don’t worry, there isn’t. We only hear about the organ trade and it’s portrayed as a good thing (there’s even a side story about legalizing organ sales, which was very interesting) and Penny supports her family and what they do. But she can’t do much more than support from the sidelines because Penny has a blood disease where her body destroys her platelets and she bruises very easily. If she gets too weak she can even start to spontaneously bleed. It was a very unique twist to the story and something I’ve never read about. It added an element of danger to Penny’s life outside of the normal dangers one might expect when you’re the daughter of a prominent family dealing in the organ trade.
Penny lives her life very, very sheltered. Her brother and his bff/body guard are really her only friends and she never leaves her family’s estate. She does manage to get her brother to take her off estate once and he shows her to his secret apartment and lets her in on his secret activities. They’re very dangerous and lead to a lot of trouble for the Family. And this trouble forces Penny to go on the run, by herself.
Penny runs away to NYC and stays in her brother’s secret apartment hoping that Garrett, her brother’s bff/bodyguard will come and find her. Penny spends a lot of the middle of the book wandering around NYC, spending time in the apartment, and getting sick. She says that she has to keep her cell phone off in case the ~bad guys~ can trace it, but she does turn it back on to get one phone number. Why she doesn’t call Garrett is beyond me. But instead of calling him she calls the Vice President of the USA (she’s personal friends with his family because her Family saved the VP’s daughter with a kidney) and he pretty much sends in the secret service to save her… but she won’t leave the apartment.
In the meantime she literally runs into (and almost dies because of it) a cute guy. I figured out who he was pretty quickly, but Penny didn’t for a long time (I won’t spoil who he is). They go on dates around the city and Penny falls for him hard. Some people might thing that the romance comes too sudden, but I think it works because Penny was overwhelmed by a lot of things. And this was her first time in her entire life making a friend on her own, making choices on her own, and not having to be a member of her Family. He didn’t even know about her disease and that she was breakable.
Penny finally does meet up with Garrett when she starts to put pieces of what happened with her family together and she confronts him, finding out that the new boy she’s in love with is also in danger and she runs off to save him, almost dying in the process. I can’t really say much about the ending without spoiling a ton, but I was glued to the last 15% of my eARC because it was intense.
The writing in this is really good, and I enjoyed all of the characters. The bad guys are bad, but with faults. Penny grows a lot and really comes into her own. There’s good and bad, but it’s not all black and white. And liked the shades of gray mixed in. There was one character that I SWORE was going to turn out to be a bad buy but he wasn’t… unless he’s going to be one in the next book (if there’s another?)
Over all I really enjoyed this book! Don’t let the bad reviews tell you otherwise.