Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publication Date: June 14, 2012
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: ARC Tour
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 trellis and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love and stumble through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first romance, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own - even as she keeps him a secret from her disapproving mother and critical best friend. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of Samantha's world after a terrible accident, and she's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
That is to say, IT'S FREAKING PRECIOUS!
Sam and Jase's relationship development is so cute and innocent and gentle and just so full of saccharine goodness. In a good way! A snuggly, warms-your-heart way. I love seeing teenage love portrayed in this realistic, normal manner. It is romantic and believable. And there is no brooding or torturous self-loathing or any of that nonsense that has become prevalent lately in many YA books. Just a good, wholesome budding relationship. Yes, complications come up and Sam faces a tough moral dilemma. But even through that, their relationship trials are handled respectably.
One of my favorite things about this book is the characters. They're all completely three-dimensional and well-developed. And, while I love Samantha and Jase, I think that my favorite character might be Tim, the brother of Sam's best friend, Nan. He's a side character, but he could rival Sam and Jase for most character depth and is definitely the most dynamic character in the story. I hope that people do not overlook him just because he's secondary! Jase's family is also pretty wonderful. I could probably rave for a while about the awesomeness that is George, but I'll leave that for people to discover on their own.
The plot doesn't keep us all in suspense waiting for some tense relationship to finally explode into admissions of love in the final few pages. Rather, Sam and Jase fall into immediate like (but not insta-love) and it doesn't take long for their relationship to bud, though they do take things slowly and let it evolve naturally as they become more serious. It is such a great role model for teen relationship growth! Girls, this is how guys should be treating you. If they spend half of their time ignoring you or looking at you like they want to devour you, then you should get the hell away and find a boy like this one. A lot of the story involves the building up of Sam and Jase's relationship, and it's adorable as heck. There is also a little bit of friend and family drama. Then Sam is faced with some difficult realities. So it's not all hugs and kisses. My one complaint, if I had to make one? The dilemma that Sam has to deal with is a little far-fetched. Not impossible, by any means. But improbable. Sometimes I wondered if it might be a little too dramatic or over-the-top in an otherwise down-to-earth novel. But it also is a great demonstration of a really tough moral choice, so I got over it.
I'd definitely recommend this book to fans of realistic fiction similar to that of Sarah Dessen, etc. If you like books with kissing in them, you'll love this. I promise! It's the perfect summertime read as well! (It even takes place during summer break. There is swimming! And stargazing!) Grab yourself a copy if you like these things.