A romance between two teens focuses on fixing the wrong issue.
Phoenix, who is white, keeps her eyes on her future, since when she goes to college in a year she’ll be able to get away from her bickering parents, although she worries about who will take care of her little brother, Harrison, aka Harry. Going to a family summer camp isn’t in Phoenix’s plans, so even though she’s stuck with it, she plans to keep up her running and her SAT prep in between duties as a counselor. From the get-go, the novel has problems with plotting. While her family is supposed to be rebuilding its relationships, their father is barely around; readers may feel that the dysfunction portrayed isn’t adequately explained by Phoenix’s dad’s losing his job and the resulting financial difficulties. And then Phoenix meets Callum, the handsome, white head counselor and reforming bad boy. Callum holds most people at arm’s length, and Phoenix has a seriously controlling nature—yet trust issues are presented as the major obstacle to their summer romance. As Phoenix’s father finally affects the plot like a deus ex machina in character form, Phoenix and Callum will figure out if their love will last at all, let alone beyond the summer.
While the central romance is engaging, the weak plotting undercuts its appeal. (Romance. 14-18)