Monday, 15 April 2013
It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘Onslow Boys’. Every time they swaggered in the front door of the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him ... Toby Morrison.
Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins.
To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets.
How did she let her friends talk her into working?
After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos.
All with the one boy she has never been able to forget.
It will be a summer she will always remember.
I fell in love with this story from the very first chapter - the writing is warm, friendly and easy to read, and it drew me immediately into Tess' story. However, what really made this love at first read were the characters - Tess and her two best friends, Ellie and Adam.
They all came across as instantly real and loveable, and I couldn't help but want to hang out with them - luckily, by reading the book, that's exactly what I got to do!
I really enjoyed the friendship that the three of them had - their personalities seemed both to fit and balance each other out nicely. Adam definitely made me laugh, but he's not just the joker of the trio, as he proved with a certain locker-related revenge stunt he pulled, defending Tess. Ellie was equally supportive, and it really warmed my heart to see three teens who would do so much for one another.
Of course, the friendship between Tess, Ellie and Adam is all very well and good, but what I also wanted and couldn't wait for, was the arrival of the infamous Onslow boys! Fortunately, I didn't have long to wait!
They are a lot older than the trio of friends we've already met, being in their early twenties, but the two groups get on brilliantly straight away, and they almost become one big group. Almost, but not quite. There were always going to be a few bumps in the road, and one of them is Angela Vickers, the not-so-pleasant girlfriend of Toby Morrison, the Onslow boy that Tess can't tear her eyes away from. Could it be possible that, despite the beautiful girlfriend, Toby feels the same way about Tess? Does it matter, when there's a girlfriend in the picture? I hoped all the way through that something would happen so that Tess and Toby could get closer. The chemistry between the two of them throughout the book was intoxicating, especially when certain creases had been ironed out, and I honestly couldn't help but feel the same nervous butterflies that Tess did every time they were together.
I really enjoyed the way that Tess' character evolved because of Toby and the Onslow boys. She started off as quite a shy character, not wanting to draw attention to herself, happy to let her friends be the bright lights beside her, and describing herself as a wallflower. She was quite content with that. But once she, Ellie and Adam get a job at the Onslow hotel for the summer, and they meet the Onslow boys, (after some gentle persuasion from Ellie) Tess started to come out of her shell, which was awesome to see. Obviously change wasn't going to come without its drama, but this made things more interesting, and Tess just grew all the more because of this drama.
I don't want to give any more away about the character relationships, though, because the twists and turns that they take are what makes this book so good!
I found the setting for the story particularly interesting - not just because it's set in Australia (a place that I don't often read about) - but also because it's set during the 1990s. I thought having a contemporary romance set twenty years ago was a really interesting idea, but I'm not quite so sure that it's one I fully understand the motive behind. There didn't seem to be much point to this, and I think the story would have remained essentially the same had it been set now.
I suppose it was interesting imagining the story set during the decade in which I was born and grew up, though, and it was definitely a choice that makes the novel unique.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel - it had everything a YA contemporary romance needs; a well-rounded, loveable group of characters (with a couple of exceptions, to provide conflict and drama), a beautiful, summery setting, a smoking-hot group of boys and some seriously steamy chemistry!
It was the breath of fresh air that I needed.
If you're a fan of YA contemporary, or romance, you definitely need to pick this up - it'll have you laughing and blushing all at once, and it'll definitely warm your heart!
A fabulous and fun read, perfect for the coming summer months!
Posted by Dani C at 23:03