Someone gains thousands of readers self-publishing a story on Wattpad then is picked up by a rad publisher, I want to know what the fuss is about. As I started, I thought I would maybe be rolling my eyes more than the characters at another bad-boy-with-a-backstory and too-nice-girl who’s infatuated story, but it’s been one of the quickest reads so far this year.
A bit like The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson, Eden finds herself swept into a new world in the glitz of the US as she goes to stay with her dad. She meets her step family, including douchebag step-brother Tyler, and becomes part of a large friend group.
I went to California as a teen and had the same touristy ideas as in here. I however went there in black clothes, hoodies, and was going to see bands rather than wild parties (not much has changed). But I don’t know, it was just kind of hooky that a girl goes across the country and just has fun for a summer, rather than with a save-the-world purpose. I mean, that’s obviously not the main point of the book, and I’m still holding back on Eden and Tyler (I’m not one for a backstory being an immediate get out of jail free pass, a caring word being the solution to addiction, but I find myself wanting to know what happens next…), but it’s a very easy read. That is in fact one of the perks of knowing something is the start of a trilogy, is you can hold off for the time being.
It’s kind of different to see a book where teens aren’t written as pushed to be virgins for life (should clarify here: each to their own, do what you want, and the like, just basing this on a lot of books). Beach party, they drink; get too drunk, they make a fool of themselves and are mortified; sleep around, it happens. Or it doesn’t. It’s casual, or meaningful. It’s not just one or the other. It’s a little glamourised, but having read a load where everything outside of being studious and being the booky girl is generally chastised in tone, it was at least a change and the pages kept turning.
I do think that’s the point: I blitzed it. I kind of wish I had the rest sitting next to me so I could just keep going. It’s like when I fall to chick-lit, which isn’t a usual go-to, and just find it helps kill a tough day, this is the YA version. It’s teens having fun, going a bit wild, very little technically happens but then it’s not exactly a high pressure read despite being 400+ pages. The lead is a bit of a pushover, there’s the bad-boy-with-a-backstory trope, but it doesn’t shirk dark subject matter that’s often dodged in YA – drugs, sex, etc, etc.
While you’ll probably have (quite a few) moral tuts throughout, and I’d hope that no one reads this and goes I want a Tyler when he’s being like he is for 95% of the book, you’ll probably finish it with ease once you get into it, then want to get onto the next. I’ve seen a few people saying the same – it’s so readable that you just kind of sit down, get hooked into the every day life where people just hang out in varying degrees of wildness over summer, and want to keep going.
Black & White Publishing