Forbidden love flourishes in Mason’s debut novel as Kaia and Mark, first cousins, fall in love.
The two meet the summer that Kaia is 16. Devastated by her parents’ recent divorce, Kaia is finally ready to confront her mother for leaving her with her controlling father in Berkeley, Calif. When Kaia and her mother spend two weeks together with Kaia’s aunt and uncle on an island off of Cape Cod, instead of contending with her anger toward her mother, Kaia finds herself fiercely attracted to Mark, her older cousin who is about to start law school. Their connection intensifies, and soon it’s apparent that nothing will stop the two from being together—not the fear of genetic diseases for their children or the opinion of their shocked family. But Kaia soon learns that her mother is having an affair with Nico, Kaia’s uncle and Mark’s father, and they plan to marry. Aside from the horror Kaia and Mark feel about being stepsiblings, yet another secret their parents are keeping might make their already complicated affair even worse. As the story shifts from Maine to California, Kaia and Mark will have to make decisions that will affect them and their families. The characters and their choices come alive as dynamic and complicated in this involving story about desire and the intricate secrets of families. The issues of Kaia’s finding herself, despite her father’s iron fist and Mark’s at times suffocating love, speak to the tricky navigations of the heart as well as the delicate balance of individuality and interdependence. Kaia shines as a growing girl who changes over the course of the novel, and the tension of her conflict will keep readers intrigued.
A feast of romantic entanglements that tests the odds.