In many ways this starts out feeling like a cliché of a teen book. Four disparate teens are thrown together when a party in the woods is raided by the police. Desperate to get away they steal a police car, are shot at by the police and accidentally hit an officer.
For various reasons they don’t feel that they can turn themselves in. The narrator Sam is the one who has most contact with the police; her mother is a substance abuser and former country and western singer. Andi was once one of the mean girls but now she has dropped out, wears dreadlocks and has tattoos. Also in the car is York a jock and a bully and his younger brother Boston who is academically gifted and desperate to get to Ivy League college. Tensions are heightened when they realise that there is a large amount of drugs in the car and that the men shooting at them are either not the police or corrupt.
On the run their preconceptions of each other break down and they do become friends but at no point does it become sentimental or as clichéd as you might fear at first. Each has a reason to be the way they are and slowly prejudice and preconceptions are challenged as the truth of their lives is revealed.
It is a taught thriller that keeps the pages turning and populated with characters most teens will identify from their school on either side of the Atlantic. Whilst most of their stories will not end with a shootout and a prison cell the lessons of empathy are well made.