Gwen Castle has made a few mistakes in her life, and when you live in a place as self-contained as Seashell Island, everybody knows all about it. Gwen’s family belongs to the year-round crowd, those who clean, cook, and landscape for the wealthy families who arrive in the summer. When Gwen’s mom is not reading bodice busters, she cleans houses. Her estranged father runs a seafood restaurant where Gwen is part of the staff. Her cousin, Nic, lives with them and has been in love with Gwen’s best friend ever since they can all remember. They all take care of her little brother, Emory, especially Gwen. Things may not be great, but at least they’re predictable, consistent, and just as they should be.
Enter Cassidy Somers, Gwen’s big mistake. He’s supposed to be part of the summer crowd, but here he is mowing lawns—right next to the house where Gwen has a job caring for an elderly woman. No matter how rude she is to him, Cassidy keeps hanging around, reminding her of the last time she saw him and he made her a laughingstock in front of all his friends. Well, Gwen has learned her lesson, and she knows now that the islanders and the wealthy kids just don’t mix, and they never will. Still, she does love to watch Cass swim with the team.
Huntley Fitzpatrick writes a great teen romance. Her first novel, My Life Next Door, is probably my favorite contemporary teen romance ever, and that’s saying something for this teen book selector who reads lots of young adult novels. This new book is not quite up to that level, but it is also warm and sweet, with relatable characters and complex family relationships. There is a small amount of foul language in the book, as well as non-graphic sex.
For those of us who prefer to hide in the mediocre status quo rather than leap into the unknown, Fitzpatrick reminds us that life can be surprising, and that sometimes we can’t see that what we have always believed is not always what’s true. Recommended for older teens and adults.
Disclaimer: I read a library copy of this book. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.