I’ve got one more cutsie YA romance for you. Yup, read it while I was writing Ella Wood, to absorb some of the light romanciness that my system doesn’t produce naturally. Actually, the book was pretty readable. I even liked it. I guess there’s just enough demand for a happily ever after in me to push me to the end, though I still prefer a little more substance. I was cringing mightily as I looked up the cover image and ran across all the hot guy and gal fan images overwritten with the book’s most gushy quotes.
This is sort of a star-crossed lover type story. Caymen is poor, poor, poor, and Xander is filthy stinking rich. The whole plot is basically Caymen trying to convince herself it will really work. To Ms. West’s credit, there are some well done side threads going on, specifically the secrets between Caymen and her mom, that kept me wondering till the end. Some I guessed right away. Others I didn’t see coming. The secondary characters–Caymen’s friend Skye, her boyfriend, and the lead singer in his band–are each unique and individual. Sharply and distinctly so. I liked that. A band sounds kind of teen cliche, but their chemistry works well and they feel real, not typecast. And, of course, Xander is loveable. He borders on the too-good-to-be-true stereotype, but he has just enough quirks and personality of his own to get a nod from me.
But what really made this story work for me was Caymen. She is so fabulously fashioned. Insecure about the father she never met, self-sacrificing yet struggling to break free of her mother’s failing store to pursue her own dreams, and wonderfully, delightfully sarcastic. Her sharp wit makes the dialogue totally entertaining.
Overall, I was actually quite impressed. For a lighthearted romance with nothing world-changing going on in the plot, there was a surprising amount of depth to the characters. And it was perfectly clean. It will get passed along to my daughter, who will likely be ga-ga over it.
And this concludes my venture into teen romance for the time being. I’ll be ordering books from the library with a little more literary weight for my summer reading, most likely of the middle grade genre. Back to our regularly scheduled programming…
The Kindle edition is a lovely 1.99.
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