Sunset Summer (Love On Summer Break, #2) by Stephanie J. Scott
Pub Date: May 18, 2021
Sometimes being the good girl means everyone loses.
When my parents sentenced me to geriatric exile in a sleepy beach town for the summer with my grandparents, I tried everything to stop it. I’m the good girl. The straight-A student and the newly elected co-captain of my high school track team. Only my sister Grace ruined everything. Grace, a rebel with a party girl reputation, insisted I join her at a party on her graduation night. All to be her designated driver. Too bad I only had a learner’s permit—and crashed her car. Oops.
Now, I’m in deep trouble with my parents and the court. My punishment means I’m trading team runs for scrubbing toilets at my grandparents’ Lake Michigan coastal inn. Any free time is used up working service hours at the local community center to show the court I deserve a driver’s license.
Then I meet Will. He’s cooler than I could ever hope to be with dyed black hair and piercings. He finds me on the beach and we talk through sunset. I need a friend right now and Will is here, listening. Only he’s a bad boy and that spells trouble.
But Will isn’t as he seems. His bad-boy image hides deep hurts I’m only beginning to uncover. Time with Will feels like an escape. I might actually make it through this summer.
The trouble is, I’m falling for Will, and I have secrets of my own. If Will finds out what really happened the night of the party, we’ll lose everything we’ve built.
Sunset Summer is a young adult summer job romance and the second book in the Love on Summer Break series.
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I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from Book Sirens Reviewer Program. Stephanie J. Scott and I are mutuals on Twitter. All opinions are my own.
Initial Thoughts 🧠
I was looking forward to reading Sunset Summer given how much I enjoyed the first book, All Last Summer, last month! Scott’s writing style really made it easy to connect with the story.
To be honest, I’m a little over the good girl and bad boy dynamic so I was a bit hesitant with this one. But it turned out to be amazing! The book also dealt with more serious topics which I think balanced well with the light fluffy romance. Somehow, it reminded me of Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles, one of the early YA books I’ve read.
Another Summer Gone Wrong
Much like Lila in All Last Summer, Holli’s summer didn’t turn out well as she had planned. I think that’s the only thing that truly connects the books. The recurring theme can set expectations for readers and may come across as formulaic, but I’d say this one surprised me as well.
Due to a car accident involving her sister, Grace, Holli was sent to Deer Cove to help her grandparents run the inn. Additionally, she had to do community service at the local center, where Will works.
Holli had her walls up against everyone at first, including her Grandparents and Will. She was so used to being Grace’s shadow and everyone expects her to do what she’s told. Grace was a party girl as opposed to Holli’s stickler for the rules personality. So obviously, when Holli meets Will, a hot guy with jet black hair and piercings, her initial reaction was to stay away from more trouble than she already was in.
One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the depth of the characters and their growth as the story went by. Both Holli and Will were dealing with issues of their own, but not one second did it have
my the dreaded “I will fix you” stuff. They were both patient and were willing to listen to each other. God, I love it when relationships depict open and healthy communication.
As the story unfolds, we learn Will’s backstory. Will was actually more open about himself compared to Holli, which I liked. Although to Holli’s credit, she also tells Will the truth about what happened to the party, her truth.
SPOILER ALERT! Highlight the following text for more context: (Will reveals that his older brother, Adam, was killed in an accident involving a drunk driver. Holli told everyone that she was the one driving the car, but it was actually Grace, drunk behind the wheel that night.)
Conflict ensues, but I’m glad it didn’t drag out and both Holli and Will were mature enough to resolve it. Although, it took a bit more for Holli’s family to face the truth and the consequences. I really love how Holli shaped up to be her own person and stand up for herself. While she took matters into her own hands, it helped that she had support from her Grandparents, Will, and her best friend, Tala.
Obviously, I can’t say much about the topics of alcoholism and drug abuse, but I think that the book was able to give justice to the issues incorporated in the story.
Overall Thoughts 💡
While Sunset Summer dealt with more heavy topics, the book was overall light-hearted and heartwarming. Will and Holli’s chemistry was super adorable and cute! Will was such a softie beneath that bad boy facade and I’m here for it!
Ultimately, this was Holli’s journey of finding herself outside the shadow of her sister and her family. I really had a great time reading this one, and I think my only issue was I didn’t connect to Holli as much as I hoped I would.
I definitely recommend this one if you’re looking for a mix of light-hearted and emotional summer read!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie J. Scott writes young adult and romance about characters who put their passions first. Her debut ALTERATIONS about a fashion-obsessed loner who reinvents herself was a Romance Writers of America RITA® award finalist. She enjoys dance fitness, everything cats, and has a slight obsession with Instagram. A Midwest girl at heart, she resides outside of Chicago with her tech-of-all-trades husband and fuzzy furbabies.
Stephanie is a member of Romance Writers of America and has mentored writers in the Pitch Wars contest.
Let’s Chat 💬
What was the last book that made you feel a rollercoaster of emotions? How about your favorite summer reads?