Avery is a seventeen-year-old girl whose reality has just been shattered by the death of her mother. Feeling a desperate need to flee from what has become her life, she follows a travel plan meant for her mom and her that leads her to the little beach town where her mom grew up. It’s there that she meets a group of three adventurous friends who adopt her into their circle, allowing her to experience a summer she never thought would be possible after suffering such a great loss. Unfortunately, her summer full of experiences threatens to end abruptly when she realizes that one of the three has a secret that causes her to question everything about the new life she has been building. Avery must learn to balance her grief and her desire for a future in order to achieve her mother’s final wish for her: That she would be happy to be alive.
I’m a huge lover of YA books, so when I saw this one, I decided to read it. My thoughts:
What I liked:
The premise. Avery has just lost her mother and so she goes to this place where her mother grew up and kind of follows this rabbit trail that her mother left her before she died. I found it to be creative and cool to read about. Not to mention, that in some ways it comes full circle.
Avery. She’s a heroine who is going through a lot. I like that she doesn’t totally forget her grief, but I like that she learns to move on. She’s also got this innocent quality to her that had shades of Christy (Robin Jones Gunn’s Christy).
The setting. Avery really gets to know this particular city in Florida and she takes the reader along. I’ve never heard of coconut coffee before, but I definitely have an interest in trying it now.
Her friends. The group that Avery runs into is very interesting. They look out for each other and take care of each other, and really invest in each other.
The idea of finding something to be happy about each day. Each day of life is a blessing and you can really see that here.
What I didn’t like:
Realistically, this novel put some questions in my mind. Now, I am unfamiliar with Florida law (I’m a lawyer, I think about these things), and we all know Florida law is different, but can a teenager rent a car? Can she book a hotel room without an adult? Can she maintain these two things for a long extended period of time? I was very confused. Also, Avery’s mom may have died, but she is not without family. So I was very curious as to why her family would allow a grieving, 17 year old, to go to another state, for a long extended period of time, without any adult supervision or at least someone calling every night saying “bring your butt home and go to college.” It left me wondering why the author chose the medium of YA, and why, if she wanted Avery to have this kind of freedom, she didn’t just make her a few years older?
The pacing. Sometimes the novel slowed down, and other times I turned the page and it said “3 weeks later”. Or Avery would meet a person one day and a couple pages later they were best friends. Things happened often either too slow or too quick.
Lastly, I didn’t connect to all the characters. I think it’s because some of the characters are very mysterious, and while that’s fine, I kind of wish there had been some bread crumbs so that I could guess why they were the way they were. When they finally revealed their secrets, I felt more like an outsider looking in as opposed to someone who was invested.
Overall, I said all that to say, that the novel is a very sweet, very cute read that would be perfect for the beach.
Romantic Scale: 7
**I received this novel from Litfuse. My opinion was not affected in any way.**
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