I received a free digital copy of this novel from Netgalley on behalf of Amulet Books in exchange for a fair review
Wren has been trying to live up to the expectations of her parents for years. They want her to be the perfect young lady. They tell her how to dress, what to like, how to act, how to speak, what college to go to and what to major in. They even bribed her with a car if she went through high school without a boyfriend. She just wants to be free damnit!
Charlie is a shy boy that was seriously neglected as a child and bounced around in foster homes for most of his life. He just wants someone to love him and treat him nicely. He currently has some pretty nice foster parents and a foster brother. He has crushed on Wren for a long time and on the last day of school, he waves to her and amazingly she waves back.
Wren has always kinda liked Charlie but because of the deal with her parents she never acted on it. Well at a graduation party, all bets are off and she is free to date.
Thus begins their summer romance and that’s the entire plot of the book. Really, it’s just a story about their romance with minor bumps in the road with and ending that actually upsets me, because of what Charlie gives up.
I did not like this book. The writing was immature and most of the characters were extremely unlikeable.
Wren is trying to form her own life and discover who she is, so she decides to defer her admission to Emory to do volunteer work in Guatemala for a year. Great right? Except that her mom works at Emory, her mom got her a special parking pass for Emory, paid the fees already, yet Wren managed to keep the deferment secret for months. I find that highly unlikely.
Wren is also unbelievably whiny, selfish and needy. She constantly whines about how much time Charlie spends with his family or working. And while he is working his ass off to help his foster dad’s struggling business or helping his disabled little foster brother, she is lounging her in her best friend’s rich boyfriend’s pool, complaining about how she doesn’t get to spend much time with him. Twice in the book she throws a fit and gives Charlie the silent treatment (pretty much dumps him) over small misunderstandings or something he has no real control over.
Charlie is so sweet and nice but more than once I wanted to tell him to man up and stand up for himself. That’s about it to his character. He’s not a bad character, I liked him well enough but he let Wren and his ex Starrla walk all over him.
Starrla, wow, what a ridiculous character. She is a girl that Charlie has known most of his life, who also comes from a difficult family situation. She is pretty much a crazy bitch character that “hangs out with the black kids” (yes. That’s from the book). She took Charlie’s virginity when they were 12 and has used him as a random hookup ever since. She dates lots of other people and doesn’t want to be exclusive with Charlie, though she hates it when Charlie tries to date other girls. She harasses Wren and leaves nasty notes on her car. She manipulates Charlie and her dramatic scene at the end is so unnecessary and over the top (not to mention really hard to swallow).
Tessa (Wren’s BFF) is a silly trope that’s ditzy and outspoken. Her boyfriend takes them to a gun store/shooting range and she says something like “oh it’s a store too? Are there shoes?” ugh eye roll. Wren’s parents are horrible, once her father tells her to lower her voice because women shouldn’t be shrill (what the FRICK).
Overall, there was not much I actually enjoyed about this book. Such a waste of a beautiful cover!
Oh and there are detailed sex scenes in this book and a part about sending sexy pics on their phones. So not appropriate for a young adult book. The author writes this rather obnoxious note in the book (at least in my copy) about how the sex scenes are realistic but realistic does equal appropriate. Not recommended for people under 17.