Welcome to the world of a dysfunctional twenty-one year old.
Grab some popcorn. It gets a little bumpy.
Author: Amelia C. Gormley
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
From the Publisher
One summer can change everything
Hi, I’m Topher Carlisle: twenty-one, pretty, and fabulous. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. But let’s get real. Walking the fake-it-til-you-make-it road to independence and self-respect isn’t easy. Especially since my mom’s a deadbeat alcoholic, and most of my family expects me to turn out just as worthless. Oh, and I’m close to losing my college swimming scholarship, so let’s add “dropout” to the list.
My BFF has invited me to stay at her beach house on the shore of Lake Michigan. That’ll give me one summer to make money and figure out what I want to do with my life. So of course I decide to have an affair with my BFF’s married, closeted dad. Because that always works out.
Now I’m homeless, friendless, jobless. Worthless. Just like my family expects, right? Except there’s this great guy, Jace, who sees it differently. He’s got it all together in ways I can only dream of—he’s hot, creative, insightful, understanding. He seems to think I don’t give myself enough credit. And if I don’t watch out, I may start to believe him.
“What do you do when you discover you’re not the person you thought you were, when you realize you’re far, far worse? Horrible even?”
Saugatuck Summer is Topher’s story. Topher is a blunderbuss and an emotional black hole. He’s survived an abusive, chaotic and neglectful childhood. He’s got a truckload of baggage, his family is chock-a-block with pessimists and naysayers and he has a tendency to verbal vomit about it all over anyone who shows even an inkling of interest. I certainly empathize with him, but I didn’t like him. Not at all. As a matter of fact I disconnected from him and went straight into diagnostician mode. It’s a defense mechanism of mine since I’ve heard this story only a thousand times worse repeatedly. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but I can unequivocally tell you Ms. Gormley nailed this character. She crawled inside him and showed us all the ugly, the memories, the impulsiveness, the tantrums, everything. No, I didn’t like him but I understood him and what motivates him and so does Ms. Gormley.
I’m not as averse to cheating as some. I’m of the opinion that people make mistakes and characters that are realistic are fallible as well. Brendan and Topher are both culpable and equally deserving of their fair share of the blame for betraying not only Brendan’s wife but Topher’s best friend. Everything about this relationship had train wreck written all over it from the get go. The dichotomy of the situation and, really, the book as a whole is what Ms. Gormley does best. As I said I didn’t like Topher, I didn’t like that he was having an affair with his best friend’s father but I understood it and maybe even empathized with them both a bit. I’d even go so far as to say that I think both characters’ reactions to the whole situation and its demise were pitch perfect relative to their characterizations.
Jace is like the dawn breaking after this stormy night. He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for Topher. The whole second half of Saugatuck Summer is the evolution of their relationship from hook-up to a possible HEA/HFN and was my favorite part of the book. Their chemistry is white hot. There is a sequence with them in a bathhouse with a bear and some exhibitionism that had me panting. I’m a sucker for dirty talk and-DA-YUM!-Jace has got a filthy mouth. The whole book is worth it for that sequence alone. No lie. Their relationship could quite possibly give Topher the strength to become the person he’s capable of becoming. And who doesn’t need a little help every now and then?
The end gets heavy on the feels, and I felt like it was extended beyond what was necessary, but I won’t deny being affected by it. I was reminded of a famous line in an old rom-com: “even people who hate their mothers, love their mothers.” So true especially for Topher. This is an ARC and I’m becoming more accustomed to the wonky formatting, but it still needs an edit. I had to read several sentences more than once because they didn’t make sense. Other than these two issues, one of which is entirely subjective, the other of which could quite possibly be addressed prior to its actual release, it was an emotional and engaging read filled with some very interesting secondary characters. I’m hopeful the next installment will involve Geoff and Robin trying to juggle being new parents and their kinky shenanigans. I’ll beg if need be. And p.s. Robin has LOTS-O-TATTOOS. There’s got to be some piercings in there too, right? RIGHT?!?!
Where to Buy
I would like to thank Riptide for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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