It’s the season for short, fluffy romances you can indulge in while being b u r n t a l i v e by the sun. Ahh.
I haven’t read too many romances this summer, or this entire year for that matter. In fact, the two novels I’m about the review in this post are the only books I’ve read from the genre in the past few months. Maybe I’m growing old and bitter, or maybe it’s just the mood reader in me kicking in
I think what I like more than summer romances now though are books that are marketed as such, but actually place more emphasis on other plot-lines. That’s what these two stories have in common and why I enjoyed them. So, here are two fluffy, (sort-of) summer romance reviews:
Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
Goodreads Description: Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…
A small, southern town, part-time job at an ice cream stand, and summer fling—Stay Sweet is the epitome of a summer romance. While I found the romantic interest uninteresting and even a tad rude, the subtle, feminist themes in the story kept me from dropping the book.
To me, this book was ultimately about female friendships and staying true to yourself. Throughout the story, Amelia is challenged with balancing the different types of relationships in her life and the responsibilities of being the new Head Girl of Meade Creamery. She gradually accepts the fact that she has to become the leader she knows she needs to be versus what people want her to be, a difficult feat for any people-pleaser. Fortunately, the romantic interest didn’t play into the trope of being the one who shows Amelia her strength, but something Amelia finds herself through her own tribulations.
Overall, I would recommend Stay Sweet for its lessons and character arcs, not the romance. It’s perfect for the warmer months when you’re craving a light, hopeful read.
i really liked it
Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Goodreads Description: Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.
The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.
There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute.
Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.
I was so happy when I picked up Save the Date and found out the main character, Charlie, is a sibling of four. I love sibling-related things, and that’s what this book was—a story of siblings. Even though the books takes place of the weekend of Charlie’s sister’s wedding, the story was more of a celebration of familial love than romantic love. Any romantic subplots were just that, subplots.
Matson nailed how sibling dynamics can work. From the different combinations of family members in group chats to certain siblings being closer than others, it felt like I was reading about an actual family, or my family.
Each sibling had a distinct personality that I was able to identify my own siblings in, and Charlie in particular reminded me a lot of myself. She’s constantly berated for blowing off her friends for family functions, wants all her siblings to get along, yet is kept out of the family loop a lot—a side effect of being the youngest.
I’ll admit that Charlie definitely annoyed me a lot during the second half of the book, which is why this I didn’t rate this book higher. She seemed to have a few moments of character growth, but then she would act-out selfishly again, sending her arc backwards. It was frustrating to read, especially so close to the end of story. However, what the story failed to deliver in character development, it made up for with its attention to detail and ability to make me care for Charlie’s family like it’s my own.