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.
Warning: sexual references, and occasional coarse language.
Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Published December 17th 2012
Tess is relieved to be done with her eleventh year. It ended on a sour note when her ex boyfriend decided to deface her locker. Ever since their breakup, Scott has tormented her. He even gave her a horrendous nickname: Tic Tac Tess which is a reference to her supposedly flat chest. Thankfully, Tess has two amazing best friends: Adam and Ellie. The three of them have an exciting summer planned, which entails working in the restaurant at the hotel owned by Adam's uncle. The summer is off to a promising start when the girls wait on a group of handsome and oh so sexy twenty two year old boys whom they dub the Onslow Boys. Tess has a major crush on Toby, but she doesn't dare hope that he will even notice her as she is five years his junior. What follows is a look at the simple and sun drenched days of a carefree summer. Who will win in love?
What I Liked:
- The Boys of Summer was the perfect way to end the summer. It is a simple, rather straightforward romance that is perfect for when you need a pick me up or you are just craving a way to recapture the sunny season. It brings you sun soaked carefree summer days that will make you nostalgic and take you back to your own summer romances or it presents you with possibilities to dream about. If you are a fan of sweet romance and summer fun, get this book!
- The romance is slow and satisfactory. It starts when Tess encounters her long time secret crush, Toby, at the restaurant where she works. Tess has been crushing on him since she was twelve years old, but she doesn't dare think he will turn his head and notice her, she is flat chested and five years younger after all. But what if dreams can come true and the boy can and does notice her? If you enjoy slow burning romances you will certainly like this one.
- I loved all the characters from Tess, Ellie and Adam to the charming, handsome and completely swoon worthy Onslow Boys. It doesn't take long before you are swept into the story and you feel connected with everyone. Tess, Ellie and Adam felt like long lost friends, and the Onslow Boys are everything a girl dreams of in a summer romance. I loved the camaraderie between the friends and of course the sizzling sparks of romance. Adam and Sean were the two I adored. Adam with his wicked sense of humor always made me smile, especially when he offers Tess some romantic advice and discusses finger knitting. Sean was just charming and kind, he is the type of boy you would want to be your friend, I was a bit sad that a romance wasn't in the cards for him this time around. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with all the characters in The Boys of Summer. This is a book about friendship, sharing secrets, growth and falling in love.
- I enjoyed Tess' growth. At the beginning of the book she lacks self confidence. She truly believes that she is flat chested and not so attractive. However, over time she begins to gain confidence with the attention of the Onslow Boys. She begins to see that she is attractive. Granted, she goes through plenty of moments of doubt, especially when it comes to the matters of the heart, but who doesn't? I liked that Tess was genuine, and I loved watching her mature. She does make some mistakes along the way that made me cringe, but she learns from them.
- I soaked up the Australian setting. I enjoyed the small town setting and everything that was Australian. I always like learning new words and terms that are unfamiliar to me.
- This is a self published indie gem. It is a definitely a book worth picking up, and CJ Duggan is an indie author to watch. I can't wait to read more of her work.
- I loved the satisfying and perfect ending. After a hot summer of flirting, friendship, romance and more, everything comes to a close. It was a pleasing end to a wonderful feel good read.
And The Not So Much:
- The book opens with Tess being harassed by her ex boyfriend Scott. It was apparent that their relationship ended on a sour note and I was curious to know more. How long had they dated? What happened to cause Scott to tease Tess?
- Tess blossoms and she finds that she is appealing to the opposite sex. This new found confidence causes her to land in a couple of situations that hinted at the possibility of a love triangle, thankfully, it doesn't go there. I realize that these situations happened for a reason and they helped Tess grow and change, but I can't say I was pleased with the way she used one of the boys. He deserved better.
- The romance is predictable, but it doesn't matter, the journey is worth the time. Pick this up when you want a feel good read. It may not be the most original romance, but it leaves you smiling.
- I expected to learn a bit more about Toby's relationship with Angela. Was there problems before he encountered Tess? Toby does not discuss his relationship with Angela at all, and I felt like it should have been brought up.
- This is a nit picky point, but I was surprised that the characters were still listening to cassette tapes. Maybe this is something that is pertinent to Australia, but I don't think many people listen to cassette tapes these days. However, I loved all the musical references. There was plenty of shout outs to hits of the eighties and nineties.
- This is listed as a YA title for mature readers due to sexual content. There are some sex scenes and a discussion on losing one's virginity, as well as some drinking. Nothing is explicit or over the top, but I honestly feel that this is actually more along the lines of a New Adult title as it features characters who are in their twenties and on the verge of turning eighteen. It is fine for mature readers I would say fifteen and up.
The Boys of Summer was a wonderful way to end the summer. It captures everything you love about the summer season: hot, sunny, carefree days, sizzling romance and the camaraderie of summer friendships. Grab this book for when you need a pick me up, or when you want to relive summer. It is also perfect for reading during the final days of summer or anytime. Don't miss this book.
"Don't give your heart away too easily." He turned to me. "Make him earn it."
"It's Onslow. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone you know."
"So weird, society's rules. Sure, people could dry hump and make out, that was acceptable, but underage drinking was seriously frowned upon."
"Here's another helpful insight into guys, Tess: opposed to what girls think, mates talk. We are mostly apes with our brains in our pants, but don't underestimate the power of the bro code."
I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series: An Endless Summer which is available now!