Penny always says “yes” even when she wants to say “no” but this summer she’s putting an end to that. She’s moving across the country to take care of her grandfather and she’s finally going to become the person she’s always wanted to be. She’ll have the opportunity to try the new-Penny out on some “practice friends” before revealing herself to her family back in Montana. She doesn’t know exactly what new-Penny will look like, but she does know that it will be a surprise for some people. As the summer progresses, Penny starts to fall in love with her new town and she also starts to realize that maybe she doesn’t want her “practice friends” to be so temporary after all.
I thought this book definitely had a lot of things going for it. The pacing was great and I felt like Penny was a pretty relatable character–she just seemed so normal. I liked that she was trying to reinvent herself a bit because I think that’s something that a lot of girls try to do whether it be when they leave for college or some other time. The idea that you’ll finally be able to be who you want to be once you get away from the people who have known you forever is one that I think a lot of people can relate to. In the end, Penny really just wants to find herself–to figure out exactly who she is without her family’s expectations. There is something liberating about being surrounded by people who don’t have any history with you.
The secondary characters were an interesting cast. I liked meeting and learning about the different people that Penny delivers groceries to as well as the new friends that she makes. Overall, the characters come together and really add to the small town feel of the book. I love reading about coastal beach towns, so I was in love with the entire atmosphere.
I also really liked how Penny’s relationship with her grandfather was portrayed. It seems like a tough situation to deal with someone who has Alzheimer’s but doesn’t realize how bad it is yet. There were a couple of scenes especially where my heart just broke for Penny’s poor grandfather. That has to be such a hard thing.
As far as critiques go, I think there was a little too much telling and not enough showing from the author. There were times when the book felt very matter-of-fact and like there wasn’t much for the reader to interpret. Everything was just kind of laid out there. I also felt like the author was trying to do a lot at once. What I mean by that is that she addressed several different issues including, but not limited to: an ailing grandparent, a deceased parent, new motherhood, and rape. I just felt like there were too many balls to juggle and because of that, we didn’t get into some of the issues as much as I would have liked to. I also felt like the author tried to do a little too much with the ending as well. It seemed like almost every character’s story ended with a little bow wrapped around it and I didn’t think that was necessary. Not every character needs to have a resolved ending.
Overall, I thought the book was pretty good. The atmosphere was spot on and I felt like I could relate to the main character. I really did want her to succeed and I think this would be a good book for other people to read when they feel like their life is at a crossroads.
Overall Rating: 3
Sexual Content: Moderate
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.