Winlock Harbor has been Ian Handler and Grayson Cartwright's summer vacation spot for years, and they’ve always spent their summers hanging out with local Mike Metzler. But this summer, their final summer before college, is filled with drama.
Grayson's status as the first African-American starting quarterback at Vanderbilt is at risk after an injury to his arm. Mike has been dumped by his longtime girlfriend, Harper. And Ian has to deal with the first summer without his soldier father, killed overseas. (Both Ian and Mike are white.) Ian is able to find some semblance of solace in Grayson's sister, Whitney. Mike is able to distract himself with new girl Julie. And Grayson and Harper start to connect in interesting ways. It's an incredibly soapy story that is hampered by poor structure and infuriating characterization. First-person narration alternates among the three, and long passages go by in which very little actually happens other than descriptions of emotional pain. At over 300 pages, that's a lot of pain. And since these three characters never truly reach out to any of their respective love interests, readers see little of them beyond their sex appeal and eternal understanding. The novel's midsection is another problem, filled with close calls and near misses as the couples avoid one another for one reason or another, and it drags considerably.
A promising idea sabotaged by poor pacing and narcissistic characters. (Romance. 14-18)