YA romances tend to follow a similar structure–boy meets girl, the two instantly click (even if they don’t know it yet), something comes between them, they end up okay by the end of the book. It’s a tried and true formula.
This book was no different, yet in spite of the occasional clichés, it was still such an enjoyable read!
The story follows Abby after she learns that her father who’d abandoned the family years ago has Huntington’s Disease (HD). This means that she and her sister have a 50% chance of having HD, too, and suffocated by the constant feeling of helplessness and turmoil back at home, Abby leaves for Catalina Island, where she stays with her aunt and, of course, meets her love interest.
I don’t want to give too much away so I won’t go too in depth with the plot, but overall, I think this book was very well written. It had a certain flow to it that I feel is often absent in YA romances especially, and it made the book a quick yet worthwhile read. I also really loved the structure and how it went back and forth between the past and the present. It created a feeling of mystery, a feeling that lasted until maybe the second to last chapter, and it made the story a lot more dynamic and involving. We were only a few steps ahead of the side characters, so in a sense, we were characters too, learning more and more about Abby as we read on.
Also, while this was a romance novel, there was also a great emphasis on the complexities of navigating familial struggles, especially upon the introduction of a disease like HD. There were layers upon layers, motives within motives, and it made for characters and situations so relatable, if not in the exact details, then in the underlying, unpinnable desire we all have to simply do what we think is best, flawed be it may. The struggles and conflicts, too, were written in such a way that they were both deeply personal to the characters and universally felt, and it definitely led to a few tears shed.
There were, of course, lighter, cheesier moments, as well as triumphant, in-your-face scenes, and especially given the nostalgic, summery setting that tied the story together, it was just a really heartwarming book to read. The ending did feel a bit rushed and maybe even predictable, but it made the story no less emotional, uplifting, and touching. I’d definitely recommend this book to YA romance enthusiasts looking for a hopeful, cute, yet complex story.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! I’m thoroughly grateful for the opportunity to have read this book. 🙂