“Nothing this summer had gone the way I imagined. But maybe it was supposed to be that way so I could turn the page and move onto a new, clean chapter in my story.”
Synopsis from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.
Feelings: This story is really fresh and different! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up on the Cinderella-twist vibe, but this book handles it really well. It wasn’t TOO parallel to the original fairy tale, more like…loosely inspired by. Modern twists and unexpected turns kept it interesting!
I liked that we saw a budding romance, struggles in friendships, and a disconnected family. There were a few realms of conflict keeping everything going, but it wasn’t ever that there was TOO much going on.
Issues: In terms of reality, I thought the punishment from the court and from her Dad were kind of extreme. No one was listening to her at all and she was treated like she’d done something MAJOR. I don’t know…it just didn’t totally come together, in my opinion.
Characters: Tatum is a very REAL character. She’s flawed and she messes up, she fights against the machine, but also comes around and is humble. She works hard, struggles with her reality, and finds ways to make things work. She’s so relatable and I enjoyed going on this journey with her.
I understand what it’s like to have a step-parent and how difficult it can be to adjust. I appreciated how the author twisted the traditional “evil stepmother” trope and made her a human being with motivations.
This story has a great cast of friend characters. Ashlyn is the imperfect BFF. Abby is the mature friend. Hunter is the cool guy. Tilly is the wild card. And SK adds some mystery (and hunkiness). It’s a diverse group where each person has their own “thing”, keeping the story moving and breaking up any chance of monotony.
Final thoughts: The writing style is really simple, so I finished this story in a day. It wasn’t necessarily that I just HAD to know how it turned out, I was just enjoying the writing and easy to follow plot. There’s a pretty high “cheese” factor in this book, but I like that from time to time!
Pick this up if you liked:
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Goodreads rating: /5
My rating: 4/5
*This book will be out May 9 of this year. I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.
Happy reading! – Caitlyn