Ally wants her dad and her boyfriend, Jake, to come back; Jake wants Ally back, but he can’t figure out how to approach her. Failure for both leads to over 300 pages of tantrums, but the teens will learn in the end, as might some readers.
In chapters dominated by Ally but punctuated by passages about Jake, Scott spins her story of adolescent angst. Ally wants to escape being one of the rich kids whose families vacation every summer in expensive beach homes. She doesn’t want to stay with her mom’s new boyfriend, but she makes an impulsive decision to go to the shore anyway and begins a relationship with a local boy who clearly stands on the wrong side of the law. Jake’s mom grounds him for the summer, forcing him to get a summer job with none other than Ally’s dad, now running a local coffee shop. Both teens react with frequent, instant and extreme anger when their fantasies fail to meet reality. The author plays fair by highlighting the stupidity and rudeness of many of their actions, allowing readers to assess the behavior realistically. As Ally makes ever-more-foolish decisions, Jake eventually moves in the opposite direction and helps to save the day.
It’s chick lit with redeeming features that may help it appeal to a wide audience. (Fiction. 14 & up)