Peter Parker Penn.
Unlike the superhero his mother named him after, Parker is no good guy.
In fact, if there’s a picture in the dictionary under anti-hero, it’s his.
Parker’s spent his life trying to get back on the right side of the tracks, but each step he takes forward, he takes two more steps back.
To save one, he hurts others. To make this good, he turns that bad.
For appearances’ sake, he plays the part. He does what people expect him to do—mostly. And at the end of each day, he goes back to his lonely apartment and wishes he was a different person. One who could fix the things he’s broken.
Then Kayla Nash forces her way into his life, and the world as he knows it is irrevocably changed.
Everything he thinks he has right is wrong. And everything he thinks is wrong is oh, so right.
One thing leads to another, and suddenly he’s growing a conscience, and trying to prove to her that he’s as bad as everybody says he is.
Yet she won’t listen.
She’s convinced that she can save him.
Little does she know, Parker isn’t worth saving, and never will be.
Peter Parker Penn has to be one of the most self-loathing heroes I’ve been introduced to in a long time. He epitomizes the idea that people are their own worst enemies and critics. Peter constantly tortures himself over his past misdeeds, even though he knows that the actions he took were wrong and it’s clear that he feels remorse over making bad decisions that affected others in negative ways.
I have to admit that it was overwhelmingly frustrating to hear Peter’s self-recriminations, but there’s no denying that his internal monologue and his outward statements truly depict the man Peter thinks he is, and because Lani Lynn Vale writes his character and illustrates how he deals with his past, readers understand that the only person who can change Peter’s mind about himself is Peter, and that won’t happen until he forgives himself and finds a way to allow some light into a place filled with darkness.
But if anyone can get through to Peter, it’s Kayla…she’s so full of light and happiness that it resonates off of her, and because she has taken it upon herself to ‘save’ Peter from himself and help him see the good inside of himself, she’s going to use every bit of humor and quirkiness she has.
I absolutely loved Kayla…not only because it’s impossible not to smile and laugh at her craziness, especially when her best friend enters the mix, but because she’s so full of life and goodness. It’s a lost cause for Peter not to give into his feelings for Kayla because she’s just that irresistible. She’s fierce in her mission to prove that there is good inside of Peter, and that quality in her allows her to fight through so pretty nasty situations.
Now, this wouldn’t be a Lani Lynn Vale book if there wasn’t a bit of chaos thrown into the mix, which means that the action and suspense that infiltrates the storyline is meant to serve as a reminder of just how precious life and love is and that people’s perseverance to keep fighting when the fight seems hopeless determines not only the outcome but the true nature of a man.
4.5 Poison Apples