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Format: Kindle Edition
Before we get to the good stuff, I need to point out some of life’s undeniable facts:
1. Every book about the beach and/or summer love at the beach will end up being trite and lackluster.
2. Lifeguards are jerks.
3. Lifeguards (who are jerks) are all long-limbed bronzed gods who love to run up and down the beach and also frequent bonfires where they meet the heroine and then treat her like complete and utter crap.
4. The good girl never gets the lifeguard and if she does, something stupidly bad will happen to make it so she can’t keep him.
5. Enter…Shipwrecked Summer!
Alexa “Lexie” Jurgens is off to Wisconsin for college and decides to spend one last summer in Ship’s Wreck, NJ in the hopes of finding her true love. She arrives at Grandma Jurgens’ house late in the day and decides to go for a walk on the beach. While there, she meets the hottest lifeguard she’s ever seen named Jeff. Only the guy is abrasive, rude, and disagreeable in a way that is not endearing nor cute but makes you instantly dislike him. Lexie forces herself to feel the spark of something nonetheless but forgets about it when she finally reconnects with her summer friends, Pia and Joey. They all decide to check out the local parties and end up at a bonfire. Across the fire, Lexie spots hot Jeff from earlier rubbing up against a beautiful, blonde vixen. She begrudgingly let’s go of any hopes she had for falling for him and decides to walk by herself along the water. Lifeguard Jeff finds her there and confronts her. He claims he saw in her eyes that she wanted to fall in love with him but he has a girlfriend and Lexie will not be getting a piece of his buff bod. In the midst of this tirade, another hot, buff guy cuts in and tells Jeff to stop his verbal abuse. It turns out this savior is her grandma’s new neighbor, Anthony, and he’s looking for local friends. Lexie sets her romantic sights on him instead of Jeff and invites him to spend time with her, Pia, and Joey. As summer progresses though, Anthony and Pia begin a tentative relationship and Lexie finds her opportunities for summer love slipping through her fingers. Luckily, one afternoon she chances upon a baseball game and is drawn by unseen forces to watch it, leading her to reconnect with Jeff the Jerky Lifeguard. He turns out to be a decent guy and is newly single. They develop their own tentative relationship and the book culminates with Lexie facing her own fears of open water in order to save Jeff during a storm.
Why, why, why?! Why did Carly Sims write this particular story? It’s the same story every other young author has written about summer beach love and it’s actually more poorly written than most. It was trite and overly sentimental, drawing on overused beach cliches and stupid plot devices to make you care about the characters. Only I didn’t care about them. I found them to be shallow caricatures of people with no depth of feeling. From the moment I read Lexie’s silly summer mantra, “make this summer count”, I knew this book was doomed. Why is finding love this summer so important? Why does Lexie assume she’ll find it at the Jersey Shore? Why, oh why, did I keep reading when I should have filed this under DNF (Did Not Finish)? There is nothing new in this book. It is wholly unoriginal with the sole exception being that I hated the love interest. The guy was an a-hole from the very beginning. My personal summer mantra is, “once an a-hole, always an a-hole”, and Lexie should have listened to it instead. There was no way I believed that Jeff could change from being the utterly narcissistic jerk who berates Lexie for liking him to a sweet, dreamy, sensitive type. I just couldn’t see it. It felt forced, just like a lot of the scenes. The pacing was off, the characters were one-dimensional, and even the name of the town was eye-roll inducing. I found nothing redeemable except maybe the scenes describing the ocean or the actual beach which were still lackluster only they didn’t involve any of the dull characters. Carly Syms just took all the overused high school romance scenes that were out there and set them at the Jersey Shore in a failed attempt at giving us a fun, beach read.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 2. Lexie was BORING! I hated her personal mantras, found her insipid and whiny, and just wanted her to shut up.
How much did I like the love interest: 1. The guy is a jerk at heart. A leopard can’t change his spots and a lifeguard can’t change the fact that he’s a jerk. No matter how hard he tried after their initial meeting, nothing Jeff did could make him less of a jerk. Bad choice, Lexie. Bad choice.
believable is the plot: 5. I’ll admit it–I live in NJ so the setting and plot seemed more accessible than it would have otherwise. But let’s face it, most girls don’t spend their last summer before college looking for real love at the beach since it would mean leaving that love come September and being forced into a time-consuming, nerve-wracking long distance relationship.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 3. Pacing was off, editing was okay, and writing wasn’t anything special. There was nothing unique or new here, nothing to set it apart from any other bad beach fiction. Not even the characters redeemed this in any way.
How much did I want to keep reading: 1. I just wanted it to be over so I could go to sleep. It didn’t inspire me in any way and I actually was thankful I could loan it so I could discuss it’s lack of redeeming qualities with other friends.
Final Score: 2.4 / 10
I wish there were more to say but…there isn’t. We didn’t get much to work with here so, there you have it.