As soon as I picked this up, I thought it sounded super familiar. Then I realized that I had read at least half of this book before. First off: like the cover. It’s nice. The rest? How do you say “meh” in Aussie?
REMAINDER OF REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS, ‘CAUSE I HAVE TO MENTION SOME OF THEM IN ORDER TO REVIEW.
To sum up: Charli Blake is done. Done with school (almost), done with small town minds, done with small towns. Just as soon as they graduate, she and her best friend Nicole are out of there. They’ve been saving their money and planning a world tour as long as they can remember. Charli’s brother Alex is the only one at home, and he’s had to put his life on hold since Charli was three, raising her after her dad left and her mom died. That’s a lot of responsibility for a then-twenty-year-old to take on. As soon as she leaves, he can resume his life.
Quite by chance, Charli meets a handsome American (he nearly runs her over in his Audi) and he is immediately smitten. Charli doesn’t want a relationship, especially since her last one still comes back to haunt her. But relaysh they must, and they do. Charli has a hard time trusting, but he’s so awesome. He (oh sorry! His name is Adam) is visiting his cousin (who happens to be the French teacher at Charli’s school. The subject she’s failing).
As things progress, Charli realizes that she doesn’t know a whole lot about Adam and well, he’s returning to NYC for law school soon. She should just break it off and spare them all heartache. Of course, the person (Mitchell) responsible for the gossip around town returns, and while she’s only interested in Adam, Mitchell’s sisters, who are horrible, screechy, nasty lie-spreaders, are trying to bring Charli and Mitchell back together for God-only-knows what reason. I guess to tear them apart again and to teach Charli a lesson about nabbing Adam?
While the location (Tasmania) is new and fresh, nothing else is. Adam has the patience of a saint, but we know he has no choice BECAUSE HE FELL IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. NO LIE. The Beautifuls (OK, that’s an awesome name) are an annoying coven of biatches who (naturally) are the richest in town. They have chosen to never let Charli (or Pipers Cove) forget that Charli slept with their brother before he left to travel and surf. They also spread malicious untrue stories, give their best friend false hope that she has a chance with Mitchell, and wear too much makeup/tight, tiny clothing. Which we all know is a sure-fire sign of a mega-stinky mean girl. They go to Charli’s brother’s café and hang out and threaten people and say ugly things. They’re horrible to Charli at school. It’s been 2 years, gals. Move on. Of course the eldest has a ginormous crush on Alex, but he only has eyes for la mademoiselle français, naturellement.
The talk around Charli always centers on her bad behavior and her troublemaking. I waited almost the entire book to see any evidence of this. When a person’s behavior does not show the slightest sign of being bad, I have a hard time believing that telling your childhood friend when you were kids that Angel Food cake was made of real angels would make the friend’s mother so mad and brand you for life. The other mention late in the book was about how no one could believe that Charli would want to live in New York City because the ocean was in her blood. Her brother and Mitchell both loved to surf a lot, but there was nothing in the front 80% of the book that ever made me think that she had to be by the sea.
There is one good twist, but it doesn’t last long enough to make the rest of the book worth reading. Now, can someone explain to Adam why purchasing an Audi in Tasmania to drive for only two months is not the best idea?
SO HERE, REALLY, IS THE SPOILER
Charli has a change of heart, which in YA speak, means creates a plot point that only causes to annoy the reader. Adam leaves, and what does she do? Grudgingly goes to a party with Mitchell (even thought she absolutely doesn’t really want to). The barmy part is that Mitchell’s bestie and Charli’s bestie steal Charli’s huge stash of money that she made selling an antique boat (yeah) and run off together. So Charli is out both a travel companion and the cash. Then, for some inexplicable reason, against everything stated up to this point, she and Mitchell decide to use what little cash they have to travel together. And then the book’s over. If you’re looking for some kind of Adam/Charli reunion, at least in this volume, you’re SOL. But take heart: it’s a series.
Saving Wishes by G.J. Walker-Smith was self-published February 12, 2013. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to NetGalley/the Publisher/the Author.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance