Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Boys Of Summer by C.J. Duggan [Review]

New Adult, Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Chick Lit
Publication.Date  December 17th 2012
Published By:  Create Space Independent Publishing 
WebsiteC.J. Duggan

The Boys Of Summer on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

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 plastered on my best poker face, attempting to appear cool and casual even though I had never been so eager to deliver two Chicken Parmagianas in my life.
"Just be careful, hon," Rosanna said.
"Oh, are the plates hot?" I flinched back just before my hands made contact.
Rosanna laughed. "No, but hot boys can burn just as easily."
"It's Onslow. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone you know."
"So what are you going to do with the pies?" Mum asked.
"My bike is getting fixed today it's kind of a payment, a little thank you."
"How very Dr Quinn Medicine Woman of you; sure they don't want to trade for eggs and chickens?" Dad laughed.
If there is one thing worse than self-pity, it was other people's pity.
“Can we get out of here?"
"Your chariot awaits."
"In the form of a blue Ford ute?" I curved my brow.
"But of course," he said in an over-the-top French accent.
"Sacre blur, bad accent alert!"
"Wow," he said, "Le rude?"
"Le sorry?"
"Le hurt." Toby clutched his heart.
"What can I do to soothe your shattered ego?"
Toby drummed his chin thoughtfully, pacing around me. He stopped just near enough to whisper in my ear.
"Le kiss?”

**WARNING: This review might contain spoilers and an unhealthy dose of rave*
     The Boys of Summer is a wonderful example of just how deliciously sexy, sweet and charming summer fling books can be! A book that gives you goose-bumps, makes you swoon over its incredibly handsome male cast, gets you hooked on the clever plot line and, ultimately, sends you out feeling all warm inside, satisfied and with a wide smile on your face.  

     It's summer and all that seventeen-year-old Tess really feels like doing is hanging out at the lake with her besties, Adam and Ellie. Her version of a perfect summer break includes soaking up the sun, swimming in the cool water, partying and having a fun time with her friends. Her friends, though? Well, they have something entirely different in mind! When Adam and Ellie come up with the idea of getting a summer job at the local hotel (the Onslow Hotel),  Tess does not share their excitement. Last thing she wants is to slave away the precious summer days at a dingy hotel, trying to overcome her shyness and social awkwardness to make a few bucks. And the last thing she expects to find there is a new social circle, exciting late-night parties and.. love. What can I say? Life can be full of surprises sometimes! 

     Let me start by saying that all the characters in this book are great! The chemistry between them - and not only between Toby and Tess, but also between the secondary cast - is charged with incredible energy, sparkly and spine-tingling. I love summer flings, for they are always so exciting, so light and fluffy. Simply delicious to devour. The Boys of Summer is all that, yes, but it's also so much more than just an entertaining little book. It's clever, thought-provoking and it touches on more serious topics, including losing one's virginity, dealing with social/peer pressure, staying true to oneself and the people around you, all the while trying to figure out if following your heart is the right choice. I especially loved the fact that all the secondary characters were developed with just as much care as the lead ones. I must admit, I strongly disliked Tess' best friend, Ellie, at least for the most part of the book (until I learned more about her motives). She was overly confident, too loud and nosy, and quite self-centred. Not to mention that she appeared to be sleeping around. A lot. At times, she also seemed to be very judgemental towards Tess and I thought that was very hypocritical of her. But then I learned more about Ellie and begun to understand her better. I still can't say that I liked her a whole lot, though (I understand where she was coming from, but don't necessarily sympathize with her motives and intentions), and I feel that she could've handled things better. But hey, her character really adds to the story and the subplot gains a lot of depth thanks to her presence. Plus, the strong, unbreakable friendship between Ellie, Tess and Adam is one of the things I really loved about this book. I loved watching them interact, it reminded me of my own group of friends back from when I was a teenager! Their dialogues (full of inside jokes) were quirky and genuinely hilarious, and the way they supported and completed one another was sweet and heart-warming. In similar way, I loved reading about the Onslow boys and the brotherly bond between them. They were not only hot, disarmingly charming and funny, but also mature, honest and caring. And it's all the little details that C.J. Duggan included in the story that made me love and respect them in the end. So even though a guy breaking up with his girlfriend to be with another girl would usually make me wary, I didn't feel that way in Toby's case. I thought he handled the situation with grace and sensitivity, and I admired him for that. There were moments when his hot-and-cold attitude would throw me off a bit, but once you get to the end and all the cards are laid out, you see him in a totally different light. This book is full of those "Ohhh.. I see now!" moments that turn your perception of certain things and people around. The story is so well thought out, it's impossible not to admire Duggan's plotting skills. 

     With great energy, fresh summer atmosphere, style and humor, The Boys of Summer is one intoxicating and heart-warming novel. The pages are filled with warm sun, fresh summer breeze, hot sand, sweet uncertainty and shy kisses. The sexual tension is ever-present, though every make-out/sex scene is described tastefully, almost magically (because summer love is nothing short of magical!).

     I could go on and on about how amazing, sweet and well-written this book is, but in the end all it comes down to is: You have to get your own copy, like, ASAP. You have to experience this story on your own, meet all the fantastic characters, come to your own conclusions about things. You simply have to read The Boys Of Summer and take this wonderful, mood-lifting and blush-worthy journey yourself. And I'm sure you will love it as much as I did!

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