Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.
What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.
Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…
Five years after being whisked out of Beauty and moving around for five years, Josie and her mom are finally returning to run the family bookshop while her grandmother is away. And all Josie wants is to make it through junior and senior year while working on her portfolio so she can go to Los Angeles to apprentice for her world famous photographer of a dad. However, things change for her when she does something reckless and her former childhood best friend, Lucky, takes the blame.
This story of reunited childhood friends was adorable, and it happens to be one of my favorite tropes. People can change so much over time, so when you’re away from someone you were close to for years, it’s interesting to see how they’ve changed (not not). In this case, Lucky has changed a lot from the nerdy boy that Josie grew up with, looking more like a bad boy and having rumors floating all over town about him. But Josie has a feeling that’s exactly what they are – rumors – and her nerdy best friend is still underneath that leather jacket exterior.
In all honesty, Lucky was a swoonable character (yes, I’m making that a word). Almost right away you can tell he’s actually a teddy bear more than a real bad-boy, and his care for Josie never really went away. Especially considering he’s so willing to take the fall for something he didn’t do. It’s doubtful he’d do that for just anyone. Josie was a likable character as well, though she wasn’t my favorite. I did like her relationship with her cousin, Evie, and how it was sister-like. It reminded me of my relationship with a few of my cousins growing up. I did also love Josie’s use of “for Pete’s sake” because it’s not something used much in young-adult books, and it made me smile.
What Josie learns from her talks and prying into Lucky’s life is that it’s always best to be honest and communication is important. She and her mom keep stuff from one another, and it’s strained their relationship. Yes, they get along, but there are some topics that they stay away from because they don’t feel like the other can handle the truth of it. For instance, Josie’s plan to go to LA after graduation is one she keeps from her mother because her mom’s plan is to end up in Florida, but Josie doesn’t trust that they’d stay permanently. She’s sick of moving and running from her mother’s mistakes, but she doesn’t want to tell her mom that. By the end of the story though, Josie and her family learn this and begin to work through their issues.
Though I found this story to be adorable, I felt like there was something missing. I can’t explain what, but just something. I’m not sure if maybe more backstory for the characters would’ve helped, or seeing more of the cousin relationship with Josie and Evie… but I guess something of that nature.
Overall though, it was a good story and I did enjoy it. I would also definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good young-adult contemporary book that tugs your heartstrings, but is mostly lighthearted at the same time.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars