So this is a bit of a heartsore affaire for me.
I was looking forward to this one. Really hoping it would be the awesome cute & fluffy it promised to be. And theoretically it was.
The character building is well done. I like the group of people Tomp created. Their relationship interesting, intricate and complicated- they felt real. I could relate to Lu. She has much in common with not 17year old me....
Mason.. well, he is the hottie bad boy turned fabulous of any girls dreams. He is great. Really. In a flawed and imperfect sorta way.
In fact they all are that. All characters have their flaws and issues- which made them so human and made them real- Tomp seriously got it right. She written believable, realistic characters, that are likeable- flaws and faults and all. She managed to perfectly find that line for them to be imperfect so that they felt real, with enough dramas and issues to make you feel compassionate but not so much that it was melodramatic. She wrote these things just right.
The romance was right up my alley. Enough yearning, doubts and heat- but not too much drama that it would tire me. I love the connection between Lu and Mason. But I also adored Roni and Buck's journey. It was amazing to see where the characters went, to feel the joys of summers spent with friends, but mostly to see their changes, their coming of age, their
The plot was in some ways predictable, but also kinda different and fun. I loved the entire moonshine operation. It was awesome for the scientist in me to read about it. Detailed and scientific enough to feel glee but not too much of it to get bored.
This is first and foremost a romance. First real love, I guess. But it is also a coming of age story, finding ones way, friendship and defining ones future despite your past.
Now saying all this- one would think I love this book. And this is where my heartache comes in. I know I should love it, but I actually didn't.
The reason for this is the writing style. Not the actually prose. Cause in my opinion Tomp writes beautifully, I think she is a great writer, really. It's the way this story was told.
The way Tomp chose to write this. This is written from Lu's POV, in past tense. But not just like a retelling of the story, but as if she would be telling the story directly to Mason. I guess it is an interesting choice and all, but Lu keeps alluding to the future, cause you know Mason was there and knew all that happened... suddenly Lu addresses Mason directly:
(An example to illustrate my point)
But you had your first drink when yo were eleven, and by twelve you were getting drunk a couple of times a month. At age thirteen you were drinking every day. Right? Isn't that what you said? You must not have the same memories as me. What can you remember at all?
This happens all the time randomly throughout the book and that's what grated on me. There is no other way to describe this. In fact at about 35% I considered to DNF, that's how much I was annoyed by it. I probably would have, were this not an ARC- and then I also wanted to know how things between Mason and Lu unfolded, how the entire moonshine op went... well I got invested in the characters. So I finished it, hoping I would mind less- but truthfully it grated more and more.
And that's why my rating is rather low. It felt like a chore to finish, rather than joy. And frankly I read for the pleasure of it.
So I have to stress that the rating is simply based on the fact that I didn't like the way the story was told. But I also gotta say, that I can only encourage everyone to give this a try: you might not mind and then this is wonderful book to read.
So a case of it wasn't you it was me. An interesting debut by a skilled writer, which leaves me excited to see what she will be writing next!