Debut author Gaertner boldly enters the mind of a boy-obsessed teenager in this fun YA romance.
In the summer between her junior and senior years of high school, Krista begins her first job at a flower shop while yearning for a summer romance. She has her eye on Jeff Wellington, a handsome golfer and sailor with a bad reputation; it’s the eternal allure of the bad boy to the good girl. As their relationship develops, Krista alternately worries about his controlling behavior and rumors about the dangerous risks he takes, although she justifies or overlooks his actions. At the same time, she tries to ignore her attraction to handsome, older Mario, son of the flower shop’s owner. Despite his sophistication, kindness and obvious interest in her, Krista suspects he’s hiding a secret. The advice of talented but bizarre floral designer Cheyenne adds to Krista’s confusion, while her parents’ distant behavior hints at problems at home. Rife with teenage angst, this quick read accurately portrays a teenager who analyzes everything but glosses over what’s revealing or unpleasant. Although relatively levelheaded, Krista allows her fantasies to overshadow reality; if she wishes hard enough, maybe it will be true. The few adult characters are one-dimensional stereotypes—just the way teenagers prefer. Real-life adults will appreciate the fact that this novel contains only a few innocent kisses and not even the suggestion of drugs or alcohol; it’s also completely free of vampires, werewolves and any paranormal elements—a rarity among today’s YA offerings. Readers who enjoy joining a friend in examining every nuance of a conversation or interaction will adore Gaertner’s novel; others, however, may find it wearing. Either way, the whiplash-inducing surprise ending suggests a sequel may be on the horizon.
What this quick read lacks in depth it makes up for in entertainment, with a subtle message to appease more mature readers.