It’s been a year since Paige’s boyfriend died from a drowning accident. She shut out the world since then but now, she’s ready to start moving on. She has a plan to help her. First: date Ryan Chase, her first crush. Second: join some school clubs. She’s thrilled when Ryan starts talking to her and wants to hang out with her and her friends. What she didn’t count on was Max, Ryan’s sweet but nerdy cousin tagging along. Max, captain of the Quiz Bowl Paige has agreed to join. Max, who makes her smile and who is impossible to ignore.
This book was cute, just so cute. I had a smile on my face most of the time while I was reading it. I really enjoyed Emery Lord’s first book, Open Road Summer, but this one topped that one. It had a lot of the elements I loved from the first book but added more to love.
I really felt for Paige through the book. The book was her journey of healing from both her boyfriend’s death and the fear and PTSD that she suffered from afterward. It was also about her re-discovering herself after being ‘the girl whose boyfriend died’ for so long. She was a genuinely nice person and so loyal to her friends. I loved the relationships she had with her friends, the ones that developed with Ryan and Max, and the ones she had with her family. All of them were so well written and believable.
Paige’s group of friends was small but close. Each of them had a very distinct personality so they all stood out. The friendship between them was one of my favourite things about this book. There were fights and disagreements and uncomfortable moments just like in any friendship but they knew they had each other’s backs no matter what. Adding in Ryan and Max to that small group made for an interesting dynamic and I really liked that it was more focused on friendship and supporting each other than on romance.
Not to say I didn’t enjoy the slow burn romance. It was very cute and sweet. Each moment made me fall more for Max. He was so perfect for Paige even if it took her a while to figure it out. And he loved Firefly! Heart stolen.
The plot was a lot more complicated than just being about Paige trying to succeed with her plan. It was about facing her fears, about falling for the person instead of a pretty face, about realizing and going for your dreams. It was about strong friendships and new romances. It was about healing and about growing up. It was impossible to put down.