It’s been more than a decade since Anna Lynne graced the home where she spent every summer of her childhood. Now, she’s back and overwhelmed by memories of her last summer there. One defined by loss, love, growth, and change. A few short months that changed her forever.
Anna Lynne was mourning her father while most of her friends were thinking about college, making her question everything about the life she used to live, and the person she no longer wanted to be. She felt isolated in her grief—until she met Will and his sister, outcasts far outside her normal social circle. Through them, she learned about sacrifice and strength; about loyalty and love. Ultimately, they taught her that tragedy comes in more ways than one.
As she recalls that fateful summer and the reason she stayed away from the only home she ever knew, Anna Lynne can’t help but wonder how the people she left behind managed to navigate the heartbreak she helped create—and if they can ever forgive her.
4.5 stars — BETA READ!! So much of what I love about this author from her paranormal series abounds in this fabulous contemporary romance. Fabulous characters, some great sass, and so much growth and depth.
While this is an amazing (mature) young adult romance, it is also a bit of a coming of age story as well. I loved the unique way in which it was told, with adult Anna Lynne telling the story of her summer of first love to her younger sister. The narrative jumps back and forth between Then and Now, and it felt seamless, b/c you got to see Layla (her sister) reacting to the story, and occasionally see hints of what was to come.
Anna Lynne was an intriguing character in herself, b/c she’s struggling with her grief, and changes in her family, and we’re sort of seeing the aftermath of some earlier rebellion. Her world has been changed, and not just that, but the way she sees the world and what she wants out of life. So she wasn’t what I was expecting in the beginning, but I grew to love her and how she grew over that summer, and even beyond.
Will was super swoony. Just, I can’t even describe it, he was just sweet, and charming, and protective of his sister, and admirable. He wasn’t without his flaws, but he was just a guy on the cusp of manhood dealing with way more responsibility than he should have.
The romance between Will and Allie (as he calls her) is just spot on perfect. It gives you all those young adult butterflies. You can just feel them falling in love. And it’s not all perfect, Anna Lynne is awkward at times, and it’s just funny and satisfying and all the good stuff. All of it.
And the story is not without its share of heartbreak that turns everything on its head. And there are hints that something happens to suddenly end the summer, but even with the foreshadowing, it still hits you right in the feels.
And finally, the secondary characters!!! Ms. Claire knows how to nail secondary characters so that you want to hear more from them as well!! Her grandmother and her younger sister were fantastic, and so fun and sassy in their own right. Will’s pretend cousin (you’ll get it when you read it) Landon was just HILARIOUS and I could just picture him perfectly. And Will’s sister Jill played just as important a role in Anna Lynne’s summer, and I loved seeing their friendship develop as well.
So basically awesomeness. Go forth, buy, read, enjoy. Thank me later.