Author: Emery Lord
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Summary: It’s been a year since it happened-when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school… and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her-the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club-simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
I was so excited when I won this book from A Bottomless Book Bag. I had heard such great things about this book and Emery, that I couldn’t wait to dive in. I finished it one night and to be honest I was left feeling disappointed. The book was good and there were some pretty cute moments between Max and Paige, but the love, for me, was just not there. There was nothing that stuck out and it was a story that I easily forgot. The story centers around Paige, a young girl in high school, who for the last year has been known as the girl whose boyfriend (Aaron) drowned. After a year of shutting people out, not living much of a life, and avoiding water at all cost, Paige decides it’s time to start living again. She does this by making a list of things that normal high school students do and to complete each one before the year ends. On that list is to get a boyfriend and she’s set her sights on long time crush Ryan Chase. What she doesn’t expect is his nerdy cousin Max.
What I liked:
The relationship between Paige and her Grandmother was really beautifully written. I loved that Paige could tell her Grandma anything and it was met with no judgement. I loved that her Grandma inspired Paige to go travel, to take risks, and be open for anything. I also liked that her Grandma seemed to know Max was the right boy before anyone else did. Her Grandmother seems to get Paige like no one else does and I think she was a very important person in the book.
The relationship between her and Max was cute. The way they were so comfortable around each other and that they always seemed to have a good time. I felt like it was pretty obvious that they liked each other and yet Paige kept focusing on Ryan, even though it was clear who was the better choice.
The friendships! I have such a hard time with books that don’t have good friendships between girls. Or when they ignore a side character because they don’t deem it important. I am always looking for books with friends that aren’t there just to cause drama or end up backstabbing the main character. My favorite was Tessa, I felt very connected to her. I also liked that it was one type of friend. They were similar but they had their own personalities and I really enjoyed that part of the book!
What I didn’t like:
I didn’t like that Paige was so okay using Max. I didn’t like that she became friends because it would get her closer to Ryan. Something just didn’t sit right with me that she did that. Out of all the things that have happened in books it’s definitely not the worst, but I just didn’t like it.
Sometimes Max just did things I didn’t like. I don’t want to spoil anything but if you haven’t read this skip this paragraph. *SPOILERS* There is a scene where Paige has confided in Max that she hasn’t been able to go near water and she has terrible nightmares of drowning. So Max decides that he wants to help her, which is nice, but instead of trying to ease her in to it, he wants her to just jump in. When she decides she can’t do it and tries to come down from the diving board she slips and falls in to the water. The thing that bothered me was that this was a fear of hers. A fear she confided to Max and it wasn’t that he tried to get her to jump in because I actually thought that was cute that he was trying to help her overcome this fear. What had me angry was that when she got angry at him for pushing her to hard to fast, he yells back at her. I thought that was a really shitty thing to do. Especially because he knew her fear and yet he didn’t apologize or say anything or try to calm her down, he just immediately gets angry and he didn’t really have a right to.
I thought this book was good. I really badly wanted to love it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It’s a very cute summer read, but it’s not a story I see myself coming back to over and over again. Which is really disappointing. It just didn’t do it for me.
Of course this is all just my opinion! If you get the chance and this one is on your list then I highly suggest reading it and if you do decide to read this one stop by and tell me what you thought!