Monday, June 2, 2014

Thirty Sunsets by Christine Hurley Deriso Review

Thirty Sunsets by Christine Hurley Deriso
Available July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Flux 
Paperback 240 pages
YA Contemporary
Reviewed E-ARC from Publisher
Pre-Order Links- Amazon/ BN/ Book Depository

GoodreadsTo Forrest Shephard, getting away to the family's beach house with her parents and her brother, Brian, is the best part of every summer. Until this year, when her mother invites Brian's obnoxious girlfriend, Olivia, to join them. Suddenly, Forrest's relaxing vacation becomes a mission to verify the reality of Olivia's rumored eating disorder. But the truth behind Olivia's finicky eating isn't at all what Forrest expected. And over the next thirty days, Forrest's world is turned upside down as her family's darkest secrets begin to come to light.




REVIEW

This book was a real surprise to me. I thought Forrest, the sister, was going to spend the summer hating her brother's obnoxious girlfriend trying to break them up. I really have stopped reading the book blurbs after I initially request a book because it just ruins a book for me. So imagine how shocked I was to find this novel was not fluff, but had a real story to it and yet....and yet it seemed to be a perfect summer read. It reminded me so much of one of my favorite summer series Jenny Han's THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY and the subsequent books. If you enjoyed that series, I think you will really enjoy this book.

Characters- Forrest- A very brilliant girl who is unsure of herself as far as how she is seen by her peers. She has one friend, a BFF, Shelley and she doesn't realize she gives off a "stay away" kind of attitude. She is very protective of her older brother Brian and she cannot stand Olivia, his girlfriend who has seemingly turned his world upside down since she entered his life. But, Forrest is not one to take things at face value. And when things don't start adding up on what was supposed to be her vacation at the beach, she starts getting answers she was never prepared for, never expecting. 

Olivia- Believe it or not, I actually liked her. In the beginning, before  she and Forrest get to know each other, before we hear from Olivia, she comes off as manipulative, bitchy and the typical mean girl. But as the story continues and we see more of her, there is more to her than we initially see. 

Brian- Big Brother and Boyfriend. Brian and Forrest are very close as far as brother and sister go. At least they were until Olivia came into the picture. Now, they are distant because Brian will not listen to anything negative about Olivia and Forrest has nothing else to say but negative things. At least at first. Brian is very protective of Olivia. But he is also protective of his little sister, too. And like Forrest, he has a strong sense of family.

Mom- Yes, family is a big deal in this novel and mom is very present, very much a primary character. Mom fiercely loves her children and though she makes mistakes, she tries to make sure they have the very best options available to them, always. This woman loves her kids. And she loves her family. It's all you really need to know. 

And Dad. He is quiet, unassuming and a word nerd. Like Forrest. But surprise, he is actually the glue that keeps everyone together. And he is just awesome!!

World/Setting- Contemporary setting. High school. Home. Beach.

The Story- Forrest and Family head to their modest beach house every year for a month. This year, Mom has invited Olivia, Brian's girlfriend to go with them, much to Forrest's horror. She has thirty days to find out if the rumors about Olivia are true, why her brother is ruining his life for her and maybe find a guy. But nothing goes according to her plan once they hit the beach.

My Take- What I thought was going to be a light funny read ended up being a story with something real to it, mainly a story about what family is and how much family means in any situation. There are so many family situations in this story and I don't want to give anything away so I will just say that even when the family seems like they are falling apart, they come together in a time of crisis and hold each other up, have each other's back and rescue each other. And the definition of family doesn't have to fit anyone else's definition but your own.

There are some mature situations so this is not for the younger crowd.  But it is a great story about family and a mother's love and fathers and the beach! I really feel like this one shouldn't be missed. I really like Deriso's style and story telling. I'll be looking for more by this author.

I received an E-ARC of this novel from the publisher for review. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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12 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of this one, though I really love the cover, but seeing as I definitely need to see what the hype surrounding Han's Summer series is about, I'll definitely be adding this to my TBR as well. I always look for stories with unexpected depth and reality, so this fits the bill perfectly. Great review, Heather!

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    1. Thanks Keertana! That means a lot coming from you. I loved Jenny Han's series. The last book had me sweating it out until the end. There is a strong family and friendship bond in her series, but the family bond in this one is even stronger. I hope you like it.

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  2. I have seen this one, and was curious about it. It sounded like a good one. The character sounds like ones that I would like and the family aspect sounds really good. Great review.

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    1. Yes, I haven't seen a family bond like this in a long time. Brother sister, mom and dad are all really close. They get in fights for sure, but they are teens growing up and they are always going to knock heads with their parents. It was very believable.

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  3. Oh, I'm so glad to see you loved this one, Heather! I have it coming up on my review queue. Ms. Deriso's work hasn't always worked for me, but the characters and relationships in this one sound powerful and sincere, which intrigues me! Great review :)

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    1. Yes, the family is what I really liked about this one. I also liked the humor, I think I forgot to mention that. Forrest is very sarcastic. But naive in many ways. At first I had trouble with that, but then as I thought about it, I was able to believe it. Just remember how charismatic the guy is.

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  4. I also loved the Summer series by Han so that comparison alone has me really curious about this one, Heather! I haven't read anything by this author so I'll definitely check this one out. I love the family aspect and I am curious to see Forrest grow as a character.

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    1. I haven't read anything else by this author either, but I kept thinking of Jenny Han's series as I read it. I definitely think the comparison is just. I just had that feeling. The family is really close in this one.

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  5. I like a book that surprises you. I also like one where the family is strong. I love the sound of the relationships and that alone really makes me want to read it. Oh what a brilly review!

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    1. Thanks! The family was very strong in this one and I loved that. You don't see a family bond like this much in YA. Especially with mom and dad so realistically portrayed.

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  6. I was tempted to read this one and then I didn't because I thought it might get too dramatic. I glad to hear that it has such a strong focus on family, I like that. I doesn't sound overly full of drama either, I wish I had read it now.

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    1. Like I said I didn't read the synopsis after originally requesting it so I thought it would be a fun summer read, but it has about as much drama as Jenny Han's Summer series. I really liked the family aspect, they were really connected and strong.

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