Publisher: Simon Pulse (July 12, 2011)
Format: Kindle Edition
Girlfriend! Did I tell you about this past summer when my boyfriend cheated on me, my best friend ran off to summer camp to be a counselor though she promised me she would stay home so we could do all sorts of bff stuff like lounge in bikinis and paint our nails, I ended working at the greasy spoon down the street, and eventually hooked up with a guy that worked there who just happened to be my best friend’s boyfriend at the time? No? Then read on!
On the first day of school, Hannah is forced to confront all of the things that happened over the summer between junior and senior years. Through a series of flashbacks alternating with the present day, we learn that at the end of junior year her boyfriend, Ryan, unceremoniously breaks up with her by cheating on her at a pool party. She turns to her best friend, Ava, and hopes for a care-free summer lying by the pool and hopefully finding someone to replace her sleazeball ex. But then all hell breaks loose–Ava jumps ship, making plans to spend the summer in Maine counseling rich girls, and Hannah’s mother demands she get a job. Luckily Ava asks her boyfriend, Noah, to look out for Hannah and he does, helping her out of her boyfriendless funk and getting her a job at the diner where he works. As summer progresses, the two spend more and more time together until the final day of summer, when the inevitable sparks fly and they sleep together. That brings us back to present day and the start of school when Hannah must deal with Ryan who wants to get back together, Ava who asks Hannah if Noah met someone else over the summer, and Noah who is trying his hardest to ignore her.
I wanted to dislike this book, I really did, because let’s face it–no one likes a cheater. And Hannah and Noah are both cheaters in a big way. But honestly, their relationship as well as Noah’s relationship with Ava are not so cut and dry. Ava is beyond controlling and both Hannah and Noah have been waiting to break out from her shadow for a long time. While Hannah could have picked a better way, like choosing what they did on Friday night, sleeping with Noah is not as
shocking as it would seem. Noah and Hannah are a much better fit than Noah and Ava. They have similar interests, a definite chemistry, and the fact that Ava asks them to spend time together makes the evolution of their relationship seem inevitable. At the end of the story, Hannah is a stronger person who has limitless opportunities available to her. She evolves from the girl who considers reuniting with her cheating ex, to someone who takes what she wants. The fact that Ava may have done some cheating of her own while at summer camp does in no way mean that I condone cheating but somehow alleviates the guilt on all sides.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 5. I liked watching Hannah grow into a stronger person and own up to her actions but at the same time, she’s a cheater!
How much did I like the love interest: 5. Ahhh, Noah. You had great potential but you broke up with Ava one day too late and that makes you a cheater too!
How believable is the plot: 8. Working at the diner and trying to romance friends’ boyfriends reminds me of my teenage years.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. Lauren Barnholdt is on to something with her imaginative flashbacks intermingled with present day. Her prose is catchy and well written and the dialogue flows smoothly. Bonus points (to even out the negative for cheating) for the lack of errors in editing!
How much did I want to keep reading: 6. This book ends with everything falling into place for Hannah. Ryan is out of the picture, Ava has forgiven her for cheating, and Noah seems to want to date her. It all is looking up which means, I have no reason to keep reading! Too neat and pat of an ending if you ask me but a good read all the same.
Final Score: 6.8 / 10
And there you have it. I feel like I should conclude with a blurb about cheaters never prospering but in this instance they do. So remember: only cheat if you can get away with it with minimal damage to yourself and friends.