MIRANDA IS AN AWKWARD teen, who dreams of musical theater stardom and following some encouragement from her eccentric best friend Christian, she decides to audition for their school's upcoming performance. It comes as no surprise when she is beat out by the most popular girl in school.
All is not lost however since Miranda is selected to understudy the girl whom everyone views as perfect. Perfect looks, perfect money, and the perfect boyfriend. Even her younger brother's goofy best friend falls prey to allure of Pam who Miranda jokingly speculates might be a vampire.
Soon after the leap of faith, Miranda and Christian uncover that someone in a seemingly perfect high school romance is hiding something. The bruises and the public displays that aren't so affectionate initiate the discovery. The secrets are well hidden behind the walls of popularity and gated communities where proper fork placement takes priority over the frivolous dreams of a teenager.
Rushing to save someone dramatically alters to the lives of six young adults when late one night on a two lane road a flickering brake light leads to the revealing of truths and the fulfillment of promises. One of those promises Miranda and Christian made in the third grade. With an auditorium fully seated on opening night, it becomes necessary for Christian to remind Miranda of a pact they made at a very young age. It came with two words "Always Here."
"S.L. Mauldin's coming of age novel for young and new adults, Always Here, is a beautifully written and compelling story about love, friendship and expectations. Miranda and Christian's friendship is one of the most moving and profound relationships I've encountered in a fictional work, but theirs is not the only relationship worth exploring in this perceptive and intelligent work on growing up. There are family issues, from the marvelous pranks played by Miranda, her brother, Greer, and grandmother, Nana, to the darker and deadly abuse issues faced by Trent and Pam. Trent, especially, is both victim and abuser, perpetuating the tragic chain of abuse in his treatment of his girlfriend. I had already read the author's previous work, Life Sliding, and wondered how Mauldin could top that stunning coming of age tale, but Always Here ranks right up there with Life Sliding. They both have important stories to tell, and the plots and characters will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page. Always Here is a must-read, and it's most highly recommended."