Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Publication Date: 14th June 2012 by Dial Books For Young Readers (USA), 7th January 2016 by Egmont Publishing / Electric Monkey (UK).
Format: eARC from Egmont Publishing via Netgalley
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them… until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
I feel the need to start with a disclaimer. I’ve read a lot of YA contemporary romances and so I am more critical than I would be of say, historical fiction, of which I’ve read very little. This book is cute, quirky and a perfect summer read, but save it for the time you’re on holiday and want a very cutesy book.
I say this, but I did genuinely enjoy it. It was so cute, there were just a few aspects that I didn’t enjoy. It really was a perfect holiday read (I read it in Barcelona) and for that I appreciate it. However, there were a couple of characters that I truly hated and felt needed hitting around the face with the book – though characters can make or break a book for me. Samantha’s mother and her partner were the most irritating and awful characters I’ve read for a long time, and it did definitely put a downer on the book for me. I couldn’t believe someone could be so terrible. However, I do recognise that the horrible character of her mother is essential for the plot and so I had to accept it.
The romance, however insta-lovey, was absolutely adorable. They were the cutest fictional couple I’ve read about in a long time and I fell in love with them myself. The insta-love did detract from it a bit, though because I read it on holiday I kind of was able to ignore this and just enjoy what I call a ‘fluffy’ story. It did have a bit of depth later on after the ‘accident’ (I’m saying no more because of spoilers), and this turn I appreciated otherwise it would have been constant arguments and not much else.
Leading from this, I found the characters a bit flat, though again, because I knew it would be a cutesy romance I could overlook this. I will admit I found it a bit dull at times but at other points I did feel dragged into the story, especially from about halfway through.
One thing that I did really like about this book was that it contrasted the difference in families by putting two completely different families as neighbours. I really enjoyed this feature as it looks at how those who should be ‘happiest’ aren’t necessarily and vice versa and it made the characters a bit more interesting with their differing family lives.
Overall, I did enjoy this book and it was a fun, adorable, quick read. I’d keep it for summer and holidays, because that’s when I feel this book can truly be enjoyed and its faults overlooked. In all honesty, would I pick up another book by this author? I don’t know, I doubt it. But I won’t say no, because if I want a fluffy contemporary next summer, I know exactly which author I’ll be heading for.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars.