Monday, 26 July 2010

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Endless Summer is a 2-in-1 containing The Boys Next Door and it's sequel, Endless Summer. I'm reviewing the books separately, in this one post so you can ignore the ED one if you don't want the minor spoilers for TBND that are in it.

The Boys Next Door

Lori McGillicuddy is almost 16. She's grown up one of the boys, spending her summers wakeboarding with her older brother and the three Vader boys next door. She's long since had a crush on middle brother Sean, who's a couple years older than her, but now she's about to turn 16 she's decided she's had enough just being one of the boys and wants to be seen as a real girl. But her best friend, the youngest Vader, who is 16 as well, Adam, has other plans. Can he convince Lori that it should be him she's choosing instead?

I loved this book from the start. It's written in first person from Lori's point of view and her voice sucked me straight in. She's naive, sweet, strong willed and always up for an adrenalin rush. Her mom died when she was 5, and she doesn't have any real girl friends, so Lori is a little clueless when it comes to making herself more girly, mostly taking her ideas from fashion magazines. Which are something she never used to read. She decides that her best chance is to make Sean pay attention and get jealous by pretending to date Adam. Adam knows the plan, and goes along with it, but it's obvious from the start that he is in love with Lori and would very much like to make her change her mind about which brother she should be with. Nothing goes smoothly for Lori. Misunderstandings and other mishaps run rampant and she learns a couple valuable lessons along the way.

I also love that while the love story is the biggest chunk on the book, there is more to the characters than just that. All the main characters, Lori, Adam, Sean and their other brothers, have other little things going that we see a bit of. And how we see how the sibling rivalry between Adam and Sean affects the rest of them. They really hate each other and it makes for some hard moments for Lori watching sometimes. Adam suffers from ADHD, which Sean never stops ribbing on him for. It makes Adam something of a daredevil, willing to try the biggest, stupidest wakeboarding stunts without really caring about the consequences. His temper flares easily creating more issues for Lori at times, but he's so easy to love despite that.

Jennifer does a fantastic job of capturing the emotions of these teens. She really makes them come alive on the page and I was rooting for Lori and Adam from the start, despite the opposition they faced. There is such a sweet naivety to both of them a lot of the time, knowing that they both want things to be okay and neither really sure how to make that happen. It's a quick paced read, fun and quirky romance and I'd highly recommend it! Getting both this and the sequel together is a bonus, though if you already have TBND then it's still worth buying this for ED alone. I couldn't put either down and finished them both in a day. 9/10

Endless Summer

ED picks up right where TBND leaves off. Having finally gotten together, for real and not pretend this time, Lori and Adam are trying to figure out their new relationship a little. But one early, big mistake sees their parents ordering them to stay apart, for the whole of the rest of the summer. They're oddly not to happy about this new development and determined to see each other still, whilst trying to find a way back to each other that will be approved of. Like TBND, it turns in to one mistake after another, but with a bit more lasting pain and hurt to go with it.

Unlike TBND this is told in alternating POV's from Lori and Adam. So we get to see both sides, how each of them is really feeling, how they think the other is feeling and get a much better picture of whats really going on. I loved getting a look in to Adam's mind, seeing how he thinks, how he deals with things, how he really feels about having ADHD, Lori and Sean. It helps show just how well suited they are to each other as well.

Lori really isn't very smart in this book. She makes some surprising and slightly crazy decisions about how to try and make her dad think Adam is a good choice for her. I wanted to shake her at times and ask what the heck she thought she was doing, and ask if she was really blind to what it was doing to Adam. But I couldn't really get mad at her because I could understand why she made the choice. She wasn't trying to hurt anyone, she just wanted Adam back and while it wasn't the smartest move, it was what she believed would work. Her heart was in the right place, she just got a bit one-track about it.

There were a couple bits of ED that I felt dragged a little, but I was still hooked and still couldn't put it down. I loved reading them back to back, getting more of their stories because I just completely fell in love with these characters. A great read with some very funny moments in it. A must read! 9/10

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