First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance! Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious. To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…Hardcover, 320 pages Published May 7th 2013 by Simon Pulse Source: Publisher/ Edelweiss: In exchange for an honest review
Being slapped with a Restraining Order and a court date for supposedly torching your cheating ex-boyfriend's car was not how Rosie planned on starting on her summer. She had big plans to work at a bridal store, walk dogs and spend ample time with her boyfriend Joey. When Rosie caught Joey cheating with a freshman, she couldn't contain her rage. In anger, she placed all her keepsakes from the nine month relationship in a box on his driveway and set fire to it. Somehow, the fire got out of hand and blew up his car, even though Rosie doesn't know how that was possible. It doesn't matter since she is currently being blamed. When Matty, her best friend and next door neighbor, comes to the rescue with a brilliant plan for keeping her out of trouble, Rosie is anything but excited. However, her parents agree to send her across the country in a car with three dorky nerds in order to keep her away from Joey. Along the way she might lose her heart again.....
What I Liked:
- This was an easy, breezy summer read with fun characters, a good story and a great cross country road trip. If you are looking for a fast, light read for a lazy summer day this is a good bet. It certainly made me smile. I am a big fan of road trip books, and I thoroughly enjoyed the cross country trip from New Jersey to my former home state of Arizona. I got a little nostalgic when they hit Arizona and visited many of the sights I am very familiar with. I soaked up every bit of the road trip!
- I enjoyed the humor in this one. Rosie has plenty of spark and her sarcastic attitude made me smile. The geeky boys are also capable of making you laugh. This was just what I needed a happy escape novel.
- I loved all three of the nerdy boys. Rosie is not one bit excited to be headed across country with three nerds, and granted, they do come across as geeks at first glance. Just like any person, though, once you dig a little deeper there usually is a sweet center, and that is exactly what Rosie got with Matty, Spencer and Logan. I completely enjoyed some of the nerdy behavior like having every little detail mapped out on an itinerary and the geeky conversations. These boys have big hearts and any girl would be lucky to claim one of them as a boyfriend. Matty, Rosie's best friend, is especially wonderful. He is so kind, caring and considerate. Who wouldn't want to have a guy like Matty for a best friend?
- Rosie....let's talk about Rosie. For the first half of the book she is a bit of a pain. She is self centered, shallow, selfish and a bit obsessive. Of course, she is nursing a broken heart after her first love cheated on her and broke her heart. She is like any typical teenage girl who falls in love and ends up with heartache. She is hurt and obsessed as she repeatedly stalks her ex. Even though she is difficult, I think anyone who has endured a broken heart or two will be able to commiserate with Rosie. Even though she made me laugh, I did struggle with her selfishness and single mindedness. For instance, Rosie is one of those girls who believes she is going to marry her first love and live happily ever after in New Jersey without considering her future options such as college and career. Let's face it, how many high school couples get married and make it? Then when she gets dumped her whole future is down the drain and she is lost. Thankfully, during the road trip, she slowly begins to open her eyes and think about something other than herself and Joey. By the end of the trip, she has matured, and I was very pleased with her growth. Again, she isn't always an easy character to like, but I loved her voice and I totally understood where she was coming from.
- The romance.... I was fully expecting Rosie to immediately end up with one of the boys in the car. Seriously, what teenage girl wouldn't like going on a road trip with three guys? I would! I was happy to see, though, that the romance doesn't ignite on the trip. It wouldn't be realistic for Rosie to jump into another romance while she is still trying to piece her heart back together. Thankfully, she refrains even though she is certainly tempted, and in the end there are a few sparks and a possibility. Where it will go is uncertain, but the author certainly leaves room for a sequel. I was afraid that it might steer into love triangle territory, but it doesn't!
- I loved that Rosie's family played a big role in this book. More often than not, parents are mysteriously absent from YA books. Not in this case. Rosie's mom and dad and even her brother are very involved in Rosie's life, and it was very apparent that they cared deeply for her and were willingly to do what was necessary to see her through her rough patch. It was refreshing to see the family play an integral role in this book.
- I was happy that almost everything tied up at the end. There is room for a sequel, but this certainly works well as a stand alone. No cliffhangers!
And The Not So Much:
- I was disappointed that Joey seemed to wriggle off the hook for his behavior. I was expecting after some of the revelations that he would get into more trouble, but it seems he for the most part gets away with his bad behavior.
- Logan and Spencer, the two brothers, reveal during the road trip that they come from an unhappy home. Their father is an alcoholic and is abusive. There is very little detail on this story angle, and I found that I was wanting a bit more. I always appreciate when authors take on tough topics, and even though alcoholism is introduced it isn't really dealt with. Logan's answer to the problem is to run away to Arizona. While I understand that is reality sometimes, I was hoping for a better outcome for the brothers. I was also concerned about Spencer staying in the home without his brother. I wanted desperately to know if he would be okay.
- I read a digital ARC version of this book, and it appeared my copy may have been missing some pages. There is a scene where the foursome is camping out at the Grand Canyon. Logan and Rosie have a moment in the tent, and I am not sure what transpired because this is where the book jumped ahead. The next thing I know Rosie is storming outside of the tent. I am curious to know what was chopped out of my copy.
How My Summer Went Up in Flames is a light, quick read that will be perfect for passing a few hours on a summer day. It is enjoyable even if it lacks a bit of depth and there is nothing overly thrilling or exciting. What it does have is great characters, major growth and a fun road trip. If you are looking for a easy breezy summer read pick this one. I certainly enjoyed it!
"Take it easy, all right?" I'm not the problem, your bad temper is." "I don't have a bad temper." I look down at my purple toenails, away from Matty's beady blue-eyed stare. "I'm passionate."
"Good way to keep busy after a breakup. Hoping incarceration would fill those empty hours?"
"My parents thought it was best for me to attend an all-girls Catholic school because it's every teenage girl's dream to dress like a Scottish bagpipe player. All because I got busted at an eight-grade graduation party playing seven minutes in the closet with Armand DelVecchio, who, by the way, kisses like a seal. It wasn't even worth it."
"Avery's not one of those princess bashers. I mean, I know women are supposed to stan on their own and all. I get that. But every once in awhile it doesn't hurt to wish for a fairy godmother, a little magic, and a happy ending."
"When I look into his eyes, I want to cry. I get it; there's too much to say, so we aren't saying anything."
Note all quotations are taken from an Advanced Reader's Copy and may vary slightly from the final version.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.