incriminating dating, she accidentally catches star basketball player, luke pressler vandalizing a public park with his friends. they are drunk and stupid and rich and entitled. and ayla has no problem sharing the video of their actions with the authorities, except she's running against the super popular jenna for student body president, and she could use a little help. so she makes a deal with luke. if he pretends to be her boyfriend and helps her with her campaign, she'll delete the video.
luke has a scholarship to the university of michigan that would be endangered if ayla shares the video. he could be suspended from school or off the team. so he agrees to ayla's terms. and in spite of what ayla thinks of him, he's actually a pretty good guy. in fact, ayla only learns as she gets to know him, but his circumstances are so far from what she assumed they were. he lives in a seedy part of town, his mom is absent or drunk on a good day, he has no contact with his father or that side of the family, he works long hours to help supplement his mother's income, he studies late into the night because there is no other time to do it, and he often is left to watch his younger brother because he's the only one able to pick up the slack.
as ayla and luke get to know each other better, they each come to understand what has shaped their points of view. ayla shows luke that while he's basically a good person, he can stand to speak up when things are not right more often. people see him as a leader, so when his friends are being jerks and he says nothing it looks like he is part of the problem. and ayle learns that not all things are what they appear. everyone has a story and you can't trust your first impressions and think you know everything based on limited information.
ayla and luke go through some pretty major stuff, some of it life-changing. learning to rely on others and opening up about their problems are some of the life lessons that they both need to acquire in order to come through everything together. it's a bumpy road and they are teenagers, so things get pretty dramatic, but it also works out perfectly in the end. as always, communication is key. one of the best things that incriminating dating does is it lets us really get to know who ayla and luke are as they are getting to know each other. it's almost as if they had been defining themselves by how other saw them or who others assumed they were. but when ayla and luke are together, they are their real selves. they start out thinking the worst of one another, only to find that maybe this person they've thought so badly of, is actually pretty wonderful.
**incrminating dating will publish on april 10, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (crush) in exchange for my honest review.