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434 pages, Paperback
First published April 3, 2001
That book was leaps and bounds better than Salem's Falls. This is an awful, awful book. It stinks. Also, I didn't like it.
*beware: here there be major spoilers*
I may have gotten some minor details wrong and left some stuff out, but this is basically what happens:
Jack, a sensitve drifter with a past, wanders into a New England town. He quickly and easly lands a job washing dishes at the local diner.
But Jack is not your run of the mill drifter, oh no. He is a former teacher and soccer coach. He was recently released from prison following a wrongful conviction for statutory rape. A student, Catherine, had such bad crush on him she kept a fake diary of thier 'romance'. Her father found it and assumed it was real.
Anyway, Jack is very handsome. He is also good at guessing the answers on Jeopardy! This is very important. His skill at Jeopardy! even saved him from prison rape. Sorta.
Did I mention he is handsome?
Because he is.
Addie, that's the diner's owner, has her own problems. Her daughter Chloe has died but she continues to talk about her as if she alive. She even makes her lunches. At some pont it also comes out that Chloe was concieved as a result of rape, because a dead kid just isn't *dramatic* enough. Addie's daddy is also a lush.
Jack humors Addie about her dead daughter. This combined with his dazzling handsomeness and prowess at Jeopardy! makes Addie fall in love with him.
Then the word gets out that Jack is a convicted sex offender. Addie and Jack's romance keeps on going after she learns about his conviction because he says he didn't do it. Other people in town don't take the news so well. They try to drive him out of town. Set a fire, beat him up. You know, the usual.
On top of all that, there this a group of teenage girls who practice Wicca. That's right, Salem Falls has witches.
Gillian who is basically the lead 'witch' has the hots for Jack. This is all on account of his excessive handsomeness and because her daddy tells her to stay away from him. Gillian has some big ol' issues. By the end it is strongly implied her father is sleeping with her. (Don't complain. I told you there would be spoilers!)
Meanwhile, since things are going so well with Addie, Jack decides its time to fuck things up. He packs up Chloe's room without consulting Addie. Addie freaks out. Jack gets drunk at a local bar with Addie's lush of a father. Then he stumbles off through the woods where he happens on the local teenage witches performng some kind of teenage witchery. Naked teenage witchery. Gillian throws herself at Jack. He manfully resists and stumbles on back to Addie's house.
Addie forgives him for packing up Chloe's things and lets him back in. The next morning the cops break in and arrest and Jack for raping Gillian in the woods. Addie isn't quite so sure if she trusts Jack anymore.
Jack gets a lawyer who thinks he is guilty, then decides Jack is innocent, but changes him mind again, and again.
Some information about the girl's naked witchery comes out, and the fact they were high comes as well.
Addie decides to visit Catherine, the first girl who accused Jack of rape. Addie realizes Jack is innocent because the time Catherine said she met Jack was when Jeopardy! was on. She knows that Jack wouldn't miss Jeopardy! ever. Not even for sex. Addie gets Catherine to admit to her that Jack is innocent, but refuses to come forward in court.
At some point, I forget exactly when, one of the guys who raped Addie decides to apologize to her and she accepts, just like that. No big whoop.
More boring trial stuff happens and then suddenly Catherine dramatically shows up in court and admits she never had sex with Jack.
Jack is acquitted of raping Gillian. He is only guilty of being handsome and good at Jeopardy!
Gillian was so pissed that Jack wouldn't have sex with her she accuses him of rape for funsies. Girls!
Addie and Jack decide to leave town together because people there will never ever, not ever, accept Jack.
Excessive handsomeness ruins peoples lives, Ya'll!
Addie's drunken father takes over the diner.
Happily ever after.
Except the last scene is Gillian's father telling her that he is the only one for and kissing her on the mouth. Ugh.
I hate this book. I really, really hate this book.