This book was perfectly timed with the weather here to be the beginning of summer contemporary romance that I absolutely wanted to read. I’m not really a big spring/summer fan, but this book felt like it took those summer blues away a little bit, because it was just so sweet and enjoyable the whole way through. I have a soft spot for summer romances, and this one definitely was a great book to pick up to kick off the season.
Growing up, I had a lot of online friends (in fact, most of my friends today are pretty much either online friends or those who live in different states), so I felt like this would book and the main character, Bailey, would be easy to relate to. It kind of took me back to the days when I was a teenager and I would run home from school start up my computer, listen to that familiar sound of dial-up internet, and chat with my friends on AOL instant messenger and MSN. It brought back so many memories while reading, and I think part of the reason I loved it so much was how nostalgic that it made me.
Bailey has been talking online with her friend, Alex, for a few months. The two of them met on a website dedicated to those who love film, especially classic ones. While Bailey has lived in New Jersey and Washington DC, Alex lives in sunny California. Bailey’s dad lives in California, and she’s honestly considering flying out to visit him or even move in with him, and Alex has been badgering her to do so, and meet him at the film festival that they hold in the area, so that the two of them can get to know each other offline, too. However, Bailey has had her share of horrible incidents for one lifetime, and even when she moves to town, she doesn’t tell Alex that she’s living there yet. Instead she decides to wait and try to find Alex based on the clues that he’s given her, so that she can observe from afar to make sure he isn’t a creeper.
Well, when Bailey starts her new job at a museum in town, she makes friends quickly with one of her coworkers, Grace. However, the other coworker that she sees on a regular basis, Porter, isn’t exactly someone she thinks she can be friends with. He is arrogant, rude, and definitely not her type – until she realizes that he is. Over the weeks, she and Porter begin spending more and more time together, first developing a friendship and then more than that as Bailey finds herself falling for Porter – and fast. Not only do the two of them entertain the idea of being a couple, but Bailey is learning how to trust again, which is something that had become difficult for her after the series of events that unfolded when she lived with her mother.
“‘But just when you think you understand someone, it turns out that you didn’t really know them at all. Or maybe the real problem was that you didn’t understand something about yourself.'”
During this, Bailey and Alex haven’t been talking as much, which is putting a strain on their relationship, but Alex has been pushing Bailey away slowly. While she is still searching for Alex in town, she finds herself more concerned with the relationship blooming between her and Porter.
Until her father gives away her nickname, Mink, which is the nickname that she uses on the site where she met Alex – which is his nickname. See, the two of them don’t know each other’s actual names – just the nicknames that they used to chat. When Porter hears the nickname, he gets upset – and he storms out of the house, confusing Bailey. He refuses to talk to her for a while, and when Bailey finally comes clean to Alex about what has been going on, maybe Porter will come clean to Bailey about what’s been going on with him, too.
As much as I loved this book, I think it would have been more of a fun romance had the synopsis of the book not given away the ending. That seemed to me like it could have been something that made the book even better in the end, but the synopsis clearly gives away who Alex actually is. So the reader goes along throughout the whole book already knowing what’s going to happen. I don’t really have a problem with a book that I can predict the ending too, exactly, but I guess I love when things happen that I can’t predict.
I did find myself really loving Bailey’s character, though – she was careful, fun, and she had the kind of personality that helps you really get invested in a book. I really loved how Porter’s personality wasn’t just a typical supporting character, either – he seemed kind of arrogant and rude on the outside, sure, but when he started falling for Bailey, we got to see what he was really like, and I thought that he was well written and easy to like.
The relationship that Bailey has with her father is sweet – you can tell that the two of them genuinely care about each other. However, that doesn’t make up for the fact that Bailey’s mother doesn’t even call her once over the entire summer that she moved in with her dad. That part of the book was heartbreaking – especially after what happened a few years ago while she lived with her. I love books that focus a lot on family, so I really did appreciate how much of a part that Bailey’s dad played in her life.
Overall, the tone of this book is sweet, with a few snags here and there (such as the character Davy, who is into drugs and even steals Bailey’s scooter at one point), and the issues that both Bailey and Porter have faced in their lives, changing who they are. The pacing did seem a bit slow at first, but as the book went on, things picked up. I loved the conversations between Alex and Bailey that took place at the end of some some of the chapters, and started to miss them as the book went on and Bailey and Alex didn’t talk as much anymore.
If you really want a great, sweet contemporary to kick off the summer season, this is a great book to pick up. It’s full of summer jobs, family, and a swoon-worthy romance that will have you longing for warm days and beach trips.