*Minor spoilers maybe?*
Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush. Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter. And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…
I picked this one up kinda of randomly. I really, really enjoyed Starry Eyes and Serious Moonlight and some of my friends have raved about this book. My reading schedule kinda got messed up and I had couple days with nothing planned. I thought I would start this one and see what happened!
Starting with the dedication, I kinda felt like I got punched in the gut. In a good way? If that’s possible haha. I’ve never felt so deeply so fast about something.
Bailey, the main character, is an avoider. She’d rather run away from hard things than face them. And I’ve been like that. Avoidance is something I’m constantly working on and strive to be better about. And to see it so plainly on the page, to see a character struggle with it, to connect in that way, was absolutely incredible. I recently heard the term ‘avoidance’ in relation to anxiety on Andi Mack and to see this so normalized and see characters try so hard to work through is amazing.
This book was adorable. One thing I like about Bennett’s books is that it’s not all about the lead up to the romance. You get to see the two characters navigate through a relationship and the struggles that they face. And I think that’s really awesome. Cause while relationships can be amazing, they are also hard work. I like seeing the harder side sometimes!
While I’ve never really enjoy beachy books before, I loved this one. Porter is a surfer and I actually enjoy that aspect of the story. The ocean isn’t a huge part of the story, but I did it was nice when it did come into play.
I didn’t love the violence part of this story. Porter has some issues, which is normal, but the violent part of him was shown and never really addressed? I wish his struggles could have been highlighted more and to see him work through things they way I got to see Bailey work through her struggles. I also wish the plotline with Grace, Bailey’s friend, could have been wrapped up a little bit better than it did. It sort of just ended with the story. Also, I was surprised how little the Alex storyline actually played into the overall plot. I didn’t get how big his and Bailey’s relationship is since it mostly happens off the page.
I thought it was weird how the book literally tells you the major plot twist in the synopsis. But I actually ended up really liking that approach. It let me focus on the relationship between Bailey and Porter. And it let the story focus on the growth the characters go through. Plus, it was kind of fun to watch them be idiots about it and not notice the clues right in front of them.
I loved this book a lot. I loved how cute Bailey and Porter were, I loved how it featured a summer job, I loved the portrayal of anxiety, I just loved it a lot.
Thank you for reading!