Summary from Goodreads:
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
This review is spoiler free.
“Being this high, above everything, the world huge around us. Makes it seem like my life is small, you know? Like it’s not the only thing. There’s a lot more, more to be, more to experience. More to feel.”
Content warning: underaged drinking, drunk driving, unstable home situation, loss of a mother
This book is the perfect mix of romance and discussions about real life issues. In this novel, readers follow Grace. Grace is a seventeen year old pianist who has a really good chance of making it big despite the fact that she has an unstable mother and an even more unstable home life. Her best friend, Luca, and his family is one of the only stable things in her life. When a girl named Eva moves in with them who is grieving the loss of her own mother, the two girls start a friendship that soon turns into something more.
I loved this book. It made me feel a lot of emotions. For once, I know where to start with a review. I do not think this is ever going to happen again, so I wouldn’t get used to it. However, I loved the romance, which is pretty odd for me. I don’t know what it is, but romances and me tend to not click well. However, this romance is so cute. It seemed very organic, not insta lovey in the slightest. The two started as unlikely friends and then once they knew each other better, a hidden romance slowly evolved and it was great. The two of them were so sweet with each other, I really think the two of them were a good pair and that the two of them will be good for each other.
“You and me, we’re sandy spoons and fireworks, lighthouses and wishes and peanut butter.”
Another thing I loved about this book were the characters in general. I connected with Grace, I felt so bad for her (even though I am sure she wouldn’t want me to). She seemed like such a real, flesh and blood person. She is not perfect by any means, but she realized that and did her best to acknowledge it. Luca, Emmy, Eva, and even Maggie also seemed like such realistic people. I could really picture everyone in this group of characters and see their reactions being legit and in character.
This book handled a lot of tough topics, and I really enjoyed that. With Grace, we get to see the effects an unstable home life can have on a child, as well as alcoholism and other topics. With Ava especially, but also with Grace to some extent, the topic of grief comes up. I cannot speak on the first topic at all or on the second topic very much, but other reviews have said they are well done and I know I appreciated getting glimpses at new perspectives. There was also a bit of discussion about labels which I really enjoyed, especially as a person who isn’t the biggest fan of labels and how constricting they can feel.
The setting of this book was yet another thing I loved. I am a sucker for a good summer contemporary, and I especially love when they take place near water (whether that be a beach or a lake) for some reason. The small island town of this book was nice and I really enjoyed it. I also loved how there was a big emphasis on the fourth of July because my town goes all out for the fourth for no clear reason and I feel like I haven’t seen much of that in a book before, so that was also fun.
The one thing I did not love about this book was how the ending seemed rushed. While the pacing for the rest of the novel was pretty much spot on, it felt like the ending went by in two seconds when it probably should have taken a lot longer than that. I really liked the ending, it felt right for the story and a reasonable choice for Grace to make at that point in her character arc, but it felt a little under explained. I was left with legal questions among other things, and while I understand why the author choose not to get into all of that given how tricky those things can be, I still wish it was explained more. I just feel like in general, the metaphorical strings could have been tied up better than they were.
Overall opinion? This book is so cute and so sweet and yet so heartbreaking, I would say it is a must read almost. Grace and Ava are such great and lively characters, I want everyone to get a chance to meet and get to know them. I also think this book tackles some tough topics (especially labeling sexuality), so if you like hard hitting contemporaries, this book is for you.