Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Beach Reads: The Moon and More, All I Need, and The Avery Shaw Experiment

July is nearly upon us and many of us are heading to the beach.  It's time for some summer beach reads.  Sarah Dessen, who has not published a new book since 2011's Along for the Ride, just released The Moon and More, which is about a high school couple who have grown up together in a small beach town. Susan Colasanti, another popular YA romance writer, uses her alternating-voice style in All I Need to tell the story of two summer soul mates. Finally, when Avery's best friend/crush breaks her heart, she finds solace in his womanizing older brother in Kelly Oram's The Avery Shaw Experiment.
Devoted fans have been anxiously awaiting Sarah Dessen's latest book, The Moon and More. The protagonist Emaline seems to have it all: a great boyfriend, a supportive family and acceptance to an Ivy League school. But somehow her inner turmoil is taking over what should be a perfect summer before she heads to college.  Although she and Luke are good together, Emaline finds herself attracted to Theo, a documentarian who is town for the summer. The solid foundation provided by her mom and stepdad doesn't seem to trump her rocky relationship with her biological father who all of a sudden wants to be part of her life. Finally she wonders is  going to the Ivy League school, which she can't really afford, what she really wants or is she just trying to please Dad?   Although this is not Dessen's strongest book, Emaline takes readers along with her as she struggles to decide what path she wants to take.

In All I Need Seth and Skye feel an instant connection when they meet each other at the last beach party of the summer. But he is leaving for college and she is still in high school. When their final meeting to say goodbye is thwarted by Seth's mother's plans, they don't even know each others' last names. They spend a year wondering if they'll ever see each other again. The following summer their paths finally cross and the spark is still there.  But at the end of the summer, they are separated again. As they struggle to navigate differences in schedules, backgrounds and a long distance relationship, their love is tested again and again.  Will it stand the test of time?

 The Avery Shaw Experiment introduces Avery,  a science geek, whose social anxiety disorder has made her way too dependent on Aiden, her life-long best friend and secret crush.  When Aiden falls for another girl who objects to his relationship with Avery, her heart is broken.  She decides to deal with it the best way she knows how.  She will do a science experiment exploring the stages of grief for mending a broken heart. The problem is she has no partner now that Aiden is out of her life. Enter Grayson, Aiden's super jock older brother, who is off the basketball team unless he gets his grades up. He enlists Avery as a tutor and helps her with her science project to gain extra credit. Although Grayson is supposed to be an "objective outside observer," he has an ulterior motive. He thinks a makeover and a new social life will be a much better antidote for her broken heart and he is just the guy to facilitate this recovery.  Along the way he finds himself becoming more and more enamored with the sweet girl who has become more than a "little sister."  The story is told from both Avery and Grayson's points of view. Grayson's cocky self assured voice is tempered by some keen insights into human nature, and Avery's devastated whining evolves into the excited wonder of a young girl falling in love for the first time.  The result is a sweet, funny love story about two characters who had me at "hello."