Published by Blink/HarperCollins on May 9th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retellings
Source: The Publisher, Blog Tour
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.
This book was exactly what I was hoping for—a fun contemporary twist on Cinderella that reminds us that sometimes family is complicated. And that’s okay.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Focus on family. Sure this book has a cute romance element, but the story focuses a whole lot more on family issues than it does on the “prince.” (Actually, now that I think about it, I guess the original Cinderella kind of did too.) Tatum learns that sometimes we don’t really know even the people who are closest to us. Tatum has spent most of her life feeling like she can’t live up to her stepmother’s expectations and she’s never been close to her all-too-perfect stepsister. So when her summer goes very awry and she’s basically put on house arrest except for mandatory community service (and her best friend won’t speak to her), Tatum can’t imagine how her life could get any worse. The only bright spot is the fact that her free-spirited grandmother is coming to stay with them—though Tatum can’t imagine how her lovely grandmother ever raised such an uptight daughter as Tatum’s stepmother. But as the book goes on, Tatum learns that her stepmother might not be acting out of malice but out of (sometimes possibly misguided, or at least overprotective?) love—and she starts to see her family members in a new light.
- Gaining confidence. Tatum has always loved graphic design and art, but she applied to her sister’s fancy arts school and didn’t make it in, so she doesn’t have a whole lot of confidence in her abilities. Still, when her first graphic design project goes incredibly well, her friend convinces her to pursue it sooner. Since she has nothing else good going on over the summer, Tatum decides to give it a try. I loved seeing Tatum gain confidence in herself and in her art with each new project she took on.
- Endings are new beginnings. June says she gave the book its title because Tatum starts her summer with so many goodbyes: her father leaves on a business trip, her best friend is sent away and won’t speak to her, and even her summer plans have met an untimely end. But, as often happens in life, these endings lead to new opportunities and Tatum grows in ways she’d never imagined!
- Cute romance. Most of the romance takes place via fun and flirty emails. The romance was really cute, and gave us just enough to make us want to see Tatum find her prince in the end!
- Friendship. The books focuses on Tatum’s friendships even more than the romance, I’d say, which was just fine with me!
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Harsh punishment. When the book first started, I was a bit surprised at how extreme Tatum’s parents made her punishment, since it wasn’t like she was a troublemaker and she hadn’t purposely done anything wrong. Of course, that ends up being part of the point, and Tatum eventually learns a little bit about why her stepmother is so strict—and her parents come to realize that they might have been too harsh. Unfortunately, Tatum ends up acting out against her parents’ extreme punishment by breaking their trust after all, so…
- Slightly unrealistic ending? The book might end with a bit too much sunshine and rainbows to be completely realistic, but that didn’t bother me too much in this case. I also thought it was a bit unrealistic that Tatum’s graphic design business was so successful right off the bat (especially since she got most of her clients from the art school—wouldn’t there have been artists at the school who were trying to do that same sort of work?)
This book is a perfect summer YA read that focuses on friendship and family with a dash of fairy tale flair and an extra helping of romance on the side. I easily give it 4/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Take a look at June’s Top Ten Addictions!
Felicity is one of my favorite shows too! And I am right there with you on Noel, Christina—he was obviously the best choice!
About the Author
Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters.
Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.
Her debut novel, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, will be published by Blink/HarperCollins on May 9, 2017.