Seashell Reviews: Contemporary Collection

No time to track down full reviews of YA books? Seashell Reviews offers bite-size thoughts to let you know which books you shouldn’t pass up, and which ones you can hold off for another day. Original titled blog feature by Angel @ Mermaid Vision Books.
my life with the walter boys

Sixteen-year old Jackie Howard knows nothing about her new guardian Katherine Walter when she moves from New York to Colorado. After discovering that Katherine has twelve boys, Jackie fears that living in the Walter house isn’t going to be easy. It’s just icing on the cake that the boys look like Abercrombie models… (Goodreads)

It’s rare that I feel my age when I’m reading a YA novel, but My Life with the Walter Boys was a little too overdramatic for my taste. The episodic writing style reminded me of fanfiction–understandably so, as the story began on Wattpad–and while it meant things were tied up at the end of each chapter, it also meant that some of the transitions didn’t work as well. Jackie was not a particularly memorable heroine, so much so that I would forget her name and have to work my way back to find someone addressing her. Likewise, the older Walter boys did not make much of an impression on me, and remembering what they look like takes a lot of effort. I felt very little for any of the characters, making it easy to leave the story behind once I had finished.
broken hearts fences and other things to mend cover

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long? When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma’s plan is working (she’s finding it hard to resist Josh), but she’s finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is? (Goodreads)

As far as beach reads go, Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend is exactly the kind of book to while away your time while sipping a margarita in the sand. Gemma’s story is a pretty convoluted drama, with some over-the-top scenes I wasn’t expecting. Her experiences do ask for suspension of disbelief, and I found it hard to do that for most of the last half of the novel. So many of the scenes rely on Gemma being in exactly the right place at the right time, and for her to say exactly the right things to throw people off her secret.


Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.

The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can’t help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world’s greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they’ve ever known. (Goodreads)

I’d be lying if I said I never had daydreams about paintings coming to life, and Starry Nights is exactly that: a light and fluffy daydream of a novel. How Clio exists is not fully explained, with Daisy Whitney relying on magic realism to some extent, and I am still unsure whether it worked successfully. The relationship between Julien and Clio was not as well developed as I would have hoped, but younger and new readers starting out in contemporary YA romance will definitely find much to enjoy in this novel. My taste might be more to Whitney’s previous novels, The Mockingbirds.


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