In Forrester’s (Shadow Mage, 2012, etc.) young-adult novel, a teen finds herself in over her head as she tries to save her home and family from personal and financial destruction.
Fifteen-year-old Clarise Chambers is the only levelheaded member of an extravagantly wealthy family, so it’s no wonder that her grandmother willed the family’s historic Andover estate, Vogel House, to her. Her lovable brother, Philip, lives a wild lifestyle; her mother is a successful fashion designer but forgoes her family obligations to pursue a string of affairs with Philip’s prep school friends; and her father functions well among the wealthy elite, but has no practical experience in the real world. As the school year comes to a close, Clarise begins her first romance with a student named Keary McNaughton and looks forward to spending the summer with him on Martha’s Vineyard. She soon learns of an ancient feud between the Chambers and the McNaughton families, but she doesn’t let it spoil her plans. Just as the summer begins, however, Clarise’s father’s business fails and the entire family abruptly abandons its Vineyard house, lays off its servants and takes the next economy-class flight home. Clarise’s parents have no plan to survive—but Clarise has street smarts, and just over a million dollars from her grandmother in her checking account, to pull her clan through. But as the family bonds in its new domestic life, an old rivalry resurfaces: It turns out that Keary’s father is responsible for the Chamberses’ economic downfall, and he makes it clear that he’ll take drastic measures to make sure that the family suffers, no matter what. The author finds an exciting balance of romance, suspense and family drama. Although the book’s more steamy scenes may appeal to older teen readers, they may find that the characters bring an awkward degree of maturity to the proceedings. However, Clarise’s grounded, likable and spunky narration creates a world that invites readers to care about the characters without feeling overly sympathetic to the whims of the spoiled wealthy elite.
A thrilling romance about what happens when rich people lose almost everything.