Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there. What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame. Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…
I adore Jenn Bennett’s contemporaries. She writes such adorable, fluffy, cheesy, and just downright amazing stories. And I was very, very much looking forward to reading her new one. The only things I really knew about it was that it included making mistakes, a brief stint in a jail cell, and a supposed bad boy. And that’s all I really needed to know. Trigger warnings: mild stalking, men being gross
I am absolutely adding this one to my list of “amazing Jenn Bennett books”. It might include pretty much all of them, but it still greatly deserves its spot there.
I loved Josie with a passion. She’s misguided, had a bad sense of humor, and a budding photographer. She’s looking for things in the wrong places and learning things the hard way, and it was great to follow her through that. She is also so tired and so over the gossip of her town and the drama that worms its way into her life. I loved seeing a character just being emotionally exhausted. I felt like she truly understood what it’s like to want heave a great sigh all the time. It was fantastic.
Lucky was amazing. Seriously amazing. The definition of hard on the outside, soft on the inside. I would have liked to delve more into his character and learn more about him on a deeper level, but I still loved him a whole lot. He has a cat tattooed on his hand and he rides a vintage motorcycle that he built himself. He’s sarcastic, kind, and values teeth grating honesty. Just, a seriously amazing character.
I also really loved the town this book is set in! I usually don’t comment on the setting in contemporary books and I usually don’t love small towns in contemporaries. But this one found a special place in my heart. It’s quiet, quirky, and weird. Yes, it does have a flourishing gossip vine and a lot of the people suck, but I felt like it had an underlying niceness to it. Really, I loved seeing it through Josie’s eyes and how she discovered all the weird, quirky, and good parts of it.
Bennett has a knack for talking about hard, complicated emotions. That’s not different in this book. Josie makes mistakes, she believes the wrong things, and she has trouble communicating. It’s messy, but she tries. Lucky, Josie, and Josie’s mom all struggle with putting up an invisible wall, and that’s something I related to so much. Josie and Lucky learn to be honest with each other and to bring that invisible wall down.
There’s also a lot of talking about guilt, and trying to figure out how to handle it. There’s no correct answer and sometimes you just have to muddle along. Plus, hilarious schemes were hatched to try and help the person and return said help.
Josie also has a really complicated relationship with her mom, but I really loved how it played out. It was messy and it was complicated, and sometimes hurtful things were said. But they are both learning and they are both willing to try.
I also really loved Evie, Josie’s cousin! She was a side character, but I felt like she added so much flare to the book. It was great.
The romantic relationship was fantastic. Like, really, really fantastic. Best friends-to-enemies-to-lovers. And those two dorks and those nos. There were two no scenes and let me tell you, they were wonderful. This relationship is just so full of emotion and so well done. I love them so much.
There was also a lot of boats in this book. While I might not love the beach a bunch, I did like these boats. Plus, Josie tries to overcome seasickness and that was amazing.
I also loved that Josie was a photographer! Lucky also works with metal! I just thought it was cool!
All in all, this was a beyond fantastic Jenn Bennett book. It was hilarious, adorable, emotionally messy, and just all around amazing.
Thank you for reading!