by C.J. Duggan
Release Date: December 17, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
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Tess has an ex-boyfriend from hell who bullies her and gave her a flat chested nick name. She lives in her best friend Ellie's shadow. When summer begins her friend Adam talks her into working at a restaurant instead of spending her time at the lake like she wanted. Tess's summer starts off rather bad and she is feeling down. The first 12% was a bit slow but sometimes slow beginnings are a necessary evil especially with this book. It gave me a chance to get to know Tess which really helped me understand her actions and feelings later on in the book.
As soon as she runs into Toby Morrison I was completely hooked. This was summer romance crack! So addicting and I just couldn't get enough of this one. Toby is Tess's lifelong crush but he is older and has a girlfriend. Toby and his friends nicknamed "The Onslow Boys" hang out at the restaurant where Tess and Ellie work. Tess and Ellie spend a lot of time hanging out with them and partying. It felt like one of my summers. I worked at a restaurant for my first job and definitely felt Tess's stress. But she gets to see "The Onslow Boys" so soon it's what she is looking forward to. If I had a group of hot boys hanging out at my restaurant it would have definitely made working more fun.
Toby was hard to read at first. I knew he had feelings for Tess and he dropped little hints. His girlfriend was a bit of a nightmare so eventually he does dump her but I guess I was hoping for it sooner. It was hard for me to watch Tess in pain but I felt Tess and Toby grow so much as friends first which always makes a relationship feel that much more real and special. The book dealt really honestly, realistically, and openly about sex and Tess losing her virginity. There was a lot of relationship insecurities though and that goes back to the beginning of the book. Tess still doesn't trust Toby wants her. Tess and Toby never had "The Talk" so Tess makes some mistakes but I always felt they were right and good for each other. Even though Toby is a little bit older it never bothered me.
Ellie was a fun best friend but she really bothered me at times. She was hiding so much but then when Tess didn't want to give her every little detail of her relationship she kind of blew up. Ellie does grow a lot during the book as well. I loved seeing each character grow and change over the summer. Ellie also begins dating one of The Onslow Boys and has her own journey to being confident in a relationship. Even though it was sad and aggravating watching the characters make these mistakes it felt real. First loves are full of a lot of confusion and insecurities. It is hard finding your way in making your first relationship work. I need to squeeze some talk about Sean in here. He was another Onslow Boy and even though the book never really takes a love triangle route I always loved him. He was so much fun and so sweet to Tess that at times I wanted something to happen with them. There were times when I thought something would happen and almost did but Tess's heart was always with Toby and that is where it belonged. The sequel will be a summer reunion four years in the future! I must say I am scared and excited to see where everyone ends up!
What do you say in times like this? "Thanks for last night"? "You were great"? "We should really do this again sometime"? "Thanks for taking my virginity"?
Not that one.
"For a brief moment, you made me believe that I was a somebody, that, above all, I wasn't like the other girls. And I'm not." I stepped forward, so he could hear me over the music. "I know it really doesn't seem that way. And it kills me that I let you down, that I did something so stupid because I jumped to the wrong conclusion. I don't want you thinking I am anything other than who I am, who you got to know this summer."