Publisher: Rebel Road Publishing; 1 edition (March 27, 2012)
Format: Kindle Edition
Is it just me or does anyone else have Sarah McLachlan’s Hold On running through her head now? If not, I can help get it going. You’re very welcome.
Plot: Plain jane Emma has had it rough for the last 6 months: her boyfriend, Jason, died under tragic circumstances and it’s all she can do to keep it together. Enter her school project partner, gentle, rich, and oh-so-classically handsome Court, and Emma is swept off her feet into a whirlwind romance that shocks the whole school. During the summer between sophmore and junior years, they plan on working at the local amusement park, Fairland Park, which is rather conveniently owned by Court’s father. Hoping that Court’s dad will allow them to work side by side all summer long, the two are surprised to find that they’ve been relegated to different rides on opposite sides of the park and must face a rather dull summer, seeing each other during breaks only. Stuck handing out prizes at the arcade, Emma meets Nash, the resident hottie bad boy and finds her feelings for Court aren’t as secure as she thought. As the summer progresses, her relationship with each boy escalates until a new tragedy strikes, forcing her hand when it comes to her feelings. Will she pick the blond-haired, blue eyed good boy Court or the dark-haired motorcycle riding Nash? God, the suspense is killing me!
By now you all must realize that I’m a sucker for a good love story. And one that involves some sort of love triangle is, like, the pinnacle of all love stories. The tension between the heroine and the two would-be lovers makes for exciting reading and it’s the mystery of who she chooses that drives the whole book. Maria Monteiro crafts a good story from this premise and does not disappoint with all the lovey-dovey stuff. She told me this was a “fun, summer romance” and that’s exactly how it reads. It’s not in-depth or weighty. The writing is pretty strong but not phenomenal. The ending is predictable and oh-so-obviously paves the way for a sequel. But you know what? These reasons are exactly why I like it. It’s a simple story simply told and it has heart. A lot of books read as if the author had some sort of formula: girl+boy+boy=boring. But here, this really basic story of a normal-ish girl loved by two guys is a far cry from boring. Emma’s character is nothing new but I loved her since she gives all us hopelessly romantic, normal girls out there hope. She’s pretty but not drop-dead gorgeous and yet, she still manages to catch the hottest, richest kid in town in addition to the mysterious bad-boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Young or old, it’s what we all want: to be desired and loved by two men at the same time. (For those who must psycho-analyze everything, I don’t know why. We just do and when will all the men out there realize this? Geez, it’s not like I’m going to act on it but seriously, I love, no need to be wanted!) Her relationship with each guy develops naturally and feels right, not forced in any way. It’s really interesting to see how her character changes and grows during her time with each boy. She’s not a complex character by any means but she is sweet and she reads like a real person, which is often lacking in an easy read. Now I’m not saying that the characters didn’t annoy me a bit–Court is so perfect it’s a bit gag-inducing at times; Nash is the epitome of a bad boy complete with motorcycle and white-trash mother; and Emma is a bit wishy-washy and dramatic about everything (but this could be due to the fact that she’s 16!)–but for a summer romance, my bar is always set rather low so Hold On Tight was a pleasant surprise. It’s a really sweet, quick read that kept me entertained and left me wanting more.
Now before I begin spouting my un-dying love to this book, I have to tell you, the writing while light and easy, does have some issues. There’s grammar and spelling mistakes peppered throughout and there is one thing I must get off my chest: I adore Maria Monteiro. She is effusive and sweet and amazingly accessible for a writer. But for the love of all that is holy, what is with all the commas? Was she secretly born and raised in France, the land that glorifies the run on sentence? No? Well then there’s no need to be using commas in place of periods. Gah!
So based on the follow criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 9. Oh Emma, you have 2 hotties fighting over you and yet you pick the one that might be the least suited to you (but boy can he kiss). I like that you choose the one I wouldn’t have and I like that nothing can dissuade you from that choice. You have backbone and you’re normal. That’s the best a girl can hope for in my book.
How much did I like the love interest: 8. Court vs Nash. Nash vs Court. OMG I can’t choose! These two are total stereotypes of what they embody: Court is blond, blue-eyed, rich, and uber-nice; Nash is dark, gorgeous, and badass with a motorcycle. Sigh…I guess you have to decide if you want to live in the lap of luxury with a sweetie pie hottie or die starving yet deliriously happy with trash-talking guy with no job. Obviously I’ve made up my mind but that doesn’t mean you have to agree. These two guys are equally dreamy.
How believable is the plot: 9. It’s billed as a summer romance so some of the plot elements go beyond what I experienced as a 16 year old but the whole premise of a young girl falling for two guys while working at a fun summer job is wholly believable.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 8. As mentioned, Maria Monteiro writes with a light, breezy style that perfectly fits the subject matter. Her dialogue is good, the pacing is pretty even and tight, and her plot is simple but spot on. My only complaint: what’s with all the commas? Periods never hurt anybody.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. It ends on a cliff hanger so of course I want to know what happens next. I mean, does Emma want Court or Nash? Nash or Court? Decide already! But we all know she won’t until the next book so we have to sit tight until its arrival.
Final Score: 9/10. This is much better than your typical summer romance read. Some of the clap trap Amazon has recommended to me over the last year can’t even hold a candle to this book. It’s touching, funny, sweet, and highly addictive. And unlike Ellen, I like the idea that the story will continue on into another book (or two)! Go buy it! Stat!
****Disclaimer: I got this book for free from the author. I swear I didn’t bribe her in any way, or get paid for my review. And we might not be legit enough to need this disclaimer but after working at a law firm for many years it’s better safe than sorry!****