Hi! It’s Annie!
This is the second book in the shortest amount of time ever where I re-read it directly after reading it for the first time. I think I just need to pick up more YA romances because I’m pretty sure I’ve found my book niche. This book in particular surprised me because I was originally not going to pick it up at all. This past weekend I went on one of my occasional book hunts at my local bookstore and almost left the store with nothing. But thanks to the sharp eye of some family members and me finally deciding to give this book a shot, I actually left the store with more books than I was originally set on buying. I have to admit, the ‘Wattpad Books’ label on the bottom was one of the reasons why I wasn’t sure I was going to buy it. Considering the overall reputation that site has, I was really unsure. But the pastel colored cover and the writing style when I opened it up sold me on it. And I am so glad I read this book. Romance and found family may be my favorite book types and this book completely mashes both of them into one lighthearted and wholesome story. Not to mention I am always a sucker for a good beach theme in my media. I seriously loved this book almost too much and I highly recommend it! I say that because this review will have SPOILERS, so just be ready to read spoilers if you continue with the rest of this review. Let’s get into it!
Summary: Waverly feels out of her element when she leaves Alaska and her overly judgmental parents and goes to visit her Aunt on the coast in Florida for the summer. The fish-out-of-water feeling only gets worse when the next door neighbor’s son, Blake, seems to hate her from the off. But going to the beach with him and his friends may be the best thing that has ever happened to her, and maybe even give her a sense of belonging. And Blake may be a lot more complicated than she thinks.
Waverly- Finally! A protagonist female character that I actually love! Waverly was completely relatable in that she was unsure of herself and most definitely anxious. Over-thinking was a descriptor she used commonly for herself, and I can say that I also very hardcore relate to that. But instead of using her insecurity to make the character almost a damsel that needed to be fixed, the author here made this a clear story of self growth and self care. Waverly didn’t need to be saved, she just needed to find out more about herself and what made her happy. And that didn’t mean that she wasn’t without anxiety at the end of this; the view of her anxiety was more of her learning to accept it than it was something that was completely solved. Waverly was also sarcastic and stood up for herself often. Even though she was nervous around Blake, she never let him walk all over her in any way when he didn’t like her. She was more confident than she gave herself credit for, which honestly made me reflect a little on myself and wonder if I too am more confident than I give myself credit for. She was such a relatable and lovable protagonist to follow and I loved every moment of her banter with Blake.
Blake- Oh my gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve swooned so much over a romantic lead. Blake started out fairly annoying and brooding, which I wasn’t expecting. The back of the book that I picked up made it seem like Blake would be welcoming from the get go, which he was not. But I actually loved it in the end because I loved seeing the progression of his relationship with Waverly. In a lot of these stories that start with a brooding lead, there’s no real reason for the lead to be brooding that much. Here, the reason is clear and understandable. I liked how real and raw the struggle between him and his new step-mom trying to understand each other was. But on top of that, I just loved how soft this boy was. His willingness to jump into the ocean after Waverly was so adorable and his sarcastic comments won me over completely once he started opening up to Waverly. I laughed at half of his banter with her. And don’t get me started on how sweet he was with her when she got upset and started crying. The scene where he starts reading her book aloud to calm her down completely took me out. This has to be one of the softest male leads I’ve ever seen in a book.
Romance- These two characters worked beautifully together and their romance was so cute. The hate to friends to love was absolutely endearing and completely realistic the entire time. Nothing about their relationship felt rushed. It was gradual and adorable and I loved the lengths the author went to prove just how much they both cared about each other. Also, by far the best banter I’ve ever seen for a couple in a book except for maybe Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Which is saying something. Whenever the banter started I would automatically start grinning like an idiot. And the backdrop of the beach only made it that much more romantic. They were both so sweet to each other. This is absolutely the caring completely equal relationship that I wish I had. If you’re looking for darker characters or a more hardcore relationship here, you aren’t going to find it. These two are softies and everything in their relationship is just so wholesome and adorable. Did I mention adorable?
Side Characters- I loved both Lena and Jesse. They were the best kind of whacky and eclectic and I automatically wanted both of these twins as best friends. Firstly, they would also get what it’s like being compared because they’re twins. But they are also so welcoming and wholesome from the get go. Essentially what the back of the book described Blake to be, but actually this time. Jesse is the type of hype man that everyone needs and wants and Lena is the understanding best friend that I almost cried over a couple times because she had that amount of warmth. Alissa is purposefully supposed to be harder to connect to and I didn’t feel I could completely by the end. But I still thought she was a valuable addition to the team. Aunt Rachel was also such a warm character and the type of eccentric anyone would want to know and have in their family. Can I keep them all?
Found Family- I legitimately cried at the end of this book because I didn’t want to leave the characters. It felt almost like a found family I was personally a part of.
The Beach- I loved the ocean description and the surfing trips. It made me want to go back to the beach very badly. I think I see a beach trip in my near future!
Continuity Errors- This was probably the biggest issue I had with the book. I didn’t have many issues at all. It’s a lighthearted novel, so there’s nothing in the way of complicated plot. But this book was originally written chapter by chapter online and there were certain things that made that come across. For one, by the end of the book Waverly completely knows how to swim. This is mostly confusing because at the beginning of this novel she doesn’t and Blake offers to teach her how to swim. We see a couple of lessons, he teaches her how to float, and then we don’t see anything after that. I guess the lessons must have happened in between what the reader sees, but with the way the book is written it doesn’t make any sense. Especially because of the build up between Blake and Waverly. It doesn’t make sense that they would spend time together beyond what we see for how the story is written. On top of this, at the end of the book Blake gets in trouble with his step-mom for teaching Waverly how to swim because he’s supposedly grounded for the entirety of the book. But he isn’t really grounded before the party fiasco, and they start lessons before that point. It was just little things like that, that stood out to me for not quite making sense.
Rushed Ending- I think people found the ending to be rushed more than I did, but I would have liked a little more Blake and Waverly time at the end of the book. Especially when she thought she was going to leave. But I didn’t think we needed much more time at the end of the book.
I didn’t realize that there was a movie coming out for this book when I got it. Now that I know they’re making a movie, I’m so incredibly excited! I know it won’t be as good as the book and I’m a little concerned that it will be bad. They already confirmed that they’re aging up the characters and tweaking a little bit of Waverly’s backstory; which does concern me just a little bit. But this is the type of amazing location and lighthearted story that I absolutely want to see on my screen. This book probably has one of my favorite couples of all time. Not to mention one of my new favorite fiction friend groups. If you asked me which fictional relationship I might most want to have, I think I would answer with this one. I still can’t get over this book. I want to live in it! But I think the best books make you feel that way.
See you across the pond!