by C.J. Duggan
Genre: Mature Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Published: December 17th 2012
Format Acquired: Kindle copy from the author (thanks!)
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.Warning: sexual references, and occasional coarse language.
Yet another summer themed book I wanted to like so very much but couldn't. I found it very hard to get into the story and to connect with the characters. Maybe I just wasn't in the proper frame of mind when I read this or maybe it really was just the pacing that kept me from enjoying the book fully. Even when the story was starting to get where I wanted it to go, I still didn't feel so excited about it.
The story starts during the last few days of school where Tess (more like her friends) has to deal with her ex-boyfriend's constant bullying. He nicknamed her tic tac Tess and pulls childish pranks on her all the time (did seventeen year old boys do this in the 90's? What is up with that?). Aside from that, readers are also introduced to Ellie and Adam, Tess' bestfriends and are shown just how close they all are. Summer then kicks off and Tess begins her adventure working at the Onslow Hotel where she meets the famous Onslow Boys. Tess transforms from a shy girl who can't even defend herself from a dumb ex-boyfriend to a bold, outgoing one who's not afraid to flirt a littke with a 22 year old. I would've liked seeing this transformation had the pacing been better. The beginning was a bit too slow for me. I just didn't get that excitement from Tess and Toby's early interactions. It bothered me that Tess appeared to be a bit obsessive when she was still in the dark about Toby's intentions. She was always wondering about how he felt or what his actions meant. It was so... tiring. But I think most of my irritation came from Toby's personality. I don't think Tess' actions would've irritated me if I actually saw what made her so interested in Toby in the first place. He's great after they hung out more but earlier in the story I didn't find his character so appealing. I actually enjoyed scenes with Adam or Sean more. I liked their outgoing, witty and sometimes cocky personalities. I thought the love triangle with Sean would happen and I would've like seeing that. I think it would've added a bit more excitement to Tess and Toby's story.
While I didn't enjoy most of the love story, I did like how the whole summer town was created and how much Aussie slang was used. I felt really immersed in the story. Although at times I needed to Google and take notes, it didn't bother me much. It made me like the gang more, in fact. They were all fun-loving and hilarious.
Overall it was okay as far as summer romances go. For me, at least. I was waiting for that exciting build up to their relationship but it just didn't do it for me. I did like it when everything was finally clear between Tess and Toby but it's still not enough to boost my rating up. I might have to re-read this sometime in the future because I seriously think I'm missing something here.
(Refer to rating system)
About the author
C.J Duggan is an Australian author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. The Boys of Summer is Book One in her Mature Young Adult Romance Series.