Published by Bloomsbury Children's on May 22, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.
Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.
Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?
So, I noticed the other day that I’m reading a lot of books right now with titles that are also songs. First it was Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins (Justin Bieber’s Somebody to Love), then it was the one, and next I’m reading Just Say Yes by Philippa Ashley (Snow Patrol’s Just Say Yes). This is causing me to sing more than I read! Seriously, though. I loved this book so much, and even though Toni Braxton’s love ballad thoroughly wedged itself into my mind and remained there for days, it was SO worth it. This is definitely a new favorite of mine, and I can totally see reading this book again. As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. Melissa did such a good job at capturing the inner turmoil and despair that a teenager goes through after a heartbreaking situation. I’ve been where Clementine is, and I hurt right along with her. It’s amazing how these heartbreaks do control every thought and action. Crying and self-deprecation almost always happen, and sometimes it takes quite a while to get over it. Clem’s world might not have ended, but she sure thought it had. The emotions in this story were real and pure.
2. I was surprised when I came to realize rather quickly that Clem was getting over a lost friendship, and not a lost relationship. I think it made Clem more relatable, though, as I think we’ve all gone through major spats with our best friends. It’s so hard to be a teenager! Haha. I’m so glad I’m done.
3. Clementine was real. She was me, actually. I loved her flaws, and that as she healed she was able to make sense of those flaws and become a better person. I’ve never cheated on anyone, but I know the ramifications of cheating, because I’ve been cheated on. Of course what she did was wrong, but the fact that she recognized that and turned it into something to learn from rather than something to be mad about was refreshing. Her character development was so enjoyable to read about.
4. Clem’s family is amazing. I think part of why I love reading books geared towards young adults is because they are still tied closely to their families. Their parents have influence over them still, and they mostly still live at home. Her parents are wonderful, and I hope that I can have the kind of relationship with my own kids someday that they have with their daughters. Clem’s sister, Olive, reminds me so much of my little sister–always wanting to tag along, looking up to you, silly humor, sweet disposition, biggest fan. It made me reminisce on the times when we would set up forts in the living room or immaculate Barbie cities in our bedrooms… late night dance parties to Britney Spears in the light of my lava lamp.
5. James, a.k.a. Red, is my new favorite young adult male character. If I could wrap him up, and add about 10-12 years to him, I’d take him for myself! What a likeable, happy, artistic, charismatic, and hilarious guy. He knows Clem is sad about something, but he’s giving her the time to tell him on her own. He’s also sad about something in his past, and as the two get to know each other better, they help each other heal. I love his philosophy, which is basically this: you can be sad and you can mourn what you’ve lost, but the memories you created before that loss are yours forever. Never discount the happy times in life, just because they ended unhappily. I can learn a lot from Red.
6. Don’t get me wrong, this story is not all sad and depressing! Clem and her family spend the summer aboard a sailboat, spending time together, eating disgusting meals made only from canned foods, eating s’mores by blow torch, star gazing, sunbathing, laughing, and bonding. Clem, Olive, and red spend many hours hanging out trying to catch fish, perfecting their Little Mermaid moves, giggling, and teasing each other. An elderly couple is another hilarious addition to the story, and not only made me laugh with the things they said, but warmed my heart with their views on true love. I laughed and smiled a lot. And: ding ding ding! I did not cry. There was no reason to!
7. This book makes me want to do great things. It makes me want to get over my own little heartbreaks along the road, and spend more time with my family. It makes me want to value my mom and sister more. And it makes me want to get a sailboat and go sailing all summer! I can finally attest to the fact that long trips altar the person you are. They let you step away from normal life and learn about yourself. I got to experience this on my recent trip to Europe, and I want to do it again! You know that term “wanderlust” that everyone speaks of? It’s not about the love of traveling, I’ve decided. It’s about the love of getting away from your life so that you can discover what you life is all about. Clem got to discover this as well, and I was rooting for her.
Clearly, I loved this story! I love flawed characters who can pull themselves out of their pits of despair and come away better people. I love sweet, simple romances that bloom from deep conversation and friendship rather than instant attraction. And I love it when those romances turn people into better versions of themselves. I love strong families who support one another. This really is the perfect summery beach read that will have you smiling and thinking back on what it was like to be a kid. I think that’s another reason I love YA: it reminds me of the really simple times in life, when I would not have been embarrassed to pretend I’m Ariel, breaking the surface of the water.