The Low Down: Paige Barnes has pushed the self-destruct button. She crossed an ethical line when jumping into a relationship with one of the teaching assistants at Vanderbilt where she’s a junior. When Paige is subsequently confronted in the dining hall with photos of their illicit couplings by none other than the TA’s wife, a wife Paige never knew existed, she bolts. Leaves everything, including her friends, a trip to Paris and one final paper. Showing up on her mother’s front porch, she decides to tag along on her mother’s latest book research trip, keeping completely mum about the reason why.
Julia Barnes is a writer who specializes in true crime stories about serial killers. In Ocean Beach, South Carolina, she plans to research the area’s most famous slayer, Donald Gaskins, for her next book. But why him, considering he’s not really famous like her previous subjects? Then when Paige finds out that she is related to most of the town, and her mother used to spend her summers there, she wonders if there’s something or someone else that has drawn her mother to Ocean Beach. Looks like they both have secrets.
Living near the beach in an Airstream at a trailer park for the summer, Paige has plenty of time on her hands to hang out with her distant cousins, help her mother with research, and get to know the locals. What she didn’t plan on was falling in love with Ocean Beach…or one of its residents.
Best Thang ‘Bout It: This is a romance with not-so-typical surrounding story lines. That and the writing elevate it above your typical romance. There are many conventions commonly used in this genre, and the author skillfully avoids the ones that would pull down the story to mediocrity. The serial killer angle is key to this. Since it added danger and intrigue to the story, the big drama didn’t have to sit solely on the shoulders of the romantic leads. As a reader, of course I don’t want their relationship to be easy or fast or in any other way unbelievable or boring; but when the alternative is Drama with a capital D, the story can be clichéd and obvious.
I’m Cranky Because: Too short. I would have liked to have more development and pages about the serial killer side. The book was boosted by the light/dark contrast, and, because it had happened in the past, there was no danger in dragging the book into morbid Dexter territory. I also liked the characters, including the secondary ones, and wish I’d seen more fleshing out of their personalities.
Should You?: You’d better, or I’ll send someone to pick you up in a windowless van. And he’ll read it to you.
Serial Summer by Angel Lawson was published on October 30, 2012 by Angel Lawson.
Genre: New Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 14 and up
What You Should Know: I have given this a New Adult designation because the main characters are all over 18. There are sexual situations and underage drinking.
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