(Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by HarperCollins on June 30th 2015
Genres: Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Peer Pressure, Social Issues, Young Adult
A luminous YA love story that evokes Judy Blume's Forever for a new generation. Sarah—Bean to her friends and family—is an aspiring astronomer and champion mathlete. She lives behind her beloved telescope, with her head in the stars and her feet planted firmly on the ground. For as long as she can remember, she's also lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett.But after a traumatic end to the school year, Sarah goes to Cape Cod for the summer with her family, determined to grow up. It's there that she meets gorgeous, older college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl like Scarlett. He thinks she's older, too—and she doesn't correct him.For Sarah, it's a summer of firsts. Before she knows what's happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this romantic and heartfelt coming-of-age novel about how life and love are impossible to predict.
I am not going to sugar coat it. This book ruined all my pre-conceived notions of what I need in a story in order to fall totally in love with it. I think many of you are either going to love it or hate it.
Sarah (Bean) has lived her life in the shadow of her older sister Scarlett. She’s spent her life focusing on Science and school instead of getting out and meeting people and making friends. Except for Tucker. Tucker who she’s been best friends with for as long as she can remember. Tucker who kissed her and pushed their friendship into a whole new territory. Tucker who broke her heart by breaking up with her because he felt like she spent too much time watching the world around her instead of living in it.
So Sarah’s summer plans are to be more like her beautiful older sister. Which is how Project Scarlett is born.
And it’s a relative success when she meets the engaging Andrew on the beach and is immediately drawn to him. I can’t lie. I was completely sucked in by him too. He’s everything a swoony, summer love should be. But the catch is that Andrew is 19 and Sarah… well, she’s only just 16. Instead of telling him the truth though, in order to keep her plan alive, she lies and tells him that she’s 18 and on her way to MIT in the fall.
UGH – this is where it gets so hard to understand my love for this book because … because she lies. Outright lies and you see where their relationship is headed. BUT the age thing is the only thing she lies about. She’s truly herself when she is with him and it’s so hard to watch them fall for each other knowing that the road ahead isn’t going to be pretty. I totally get her struggle to come clean because she finally HAS found someone who appreciates all her quirks and geekiness and how do you honestly give that up easily? You don’t is the answer to that by the way, and the story shows just how painful the whole thing can be once the truth comes out.
I struggled a bit with the family dynamics… the relationship between Sarah & Scarlett and also between Sarah and her parents. I get being the little sister but it’s like none of these people wanted to see the person that was right in front of them.
I think what I really liked here was seeing the eventual growth of our main character. Yes, she’s immature, insecure and naïve and doesn’t see the full picture almost up until the very end of the book, but she does grow in other ways. Her insecurity over the idea that people won’t like the real her all but vanishes and all it took was letting a few people know who she is and what she’s about… and they didn’t go running. Her confidence is another way, being face to face with her ex best friend and boyfriend after knowing that the things he said are no longer true really changed her.
And of course the romance. Hard as it is to swallow, was done really, really well. I loved the way these two got to know each other and it was truly what you would imagine a summer romance to be. Especially because Andrew is totally one of the loveliest book boys I’ve read in quite some time.
Overall, I still really am struggling with how much I loved this… because it almost doesn’t make sense based on my normal feelings. This lie that Sarah tells… it has more of an implication than just fibbing about your age. Especially between her and Andrew, and when that comes to light I honestly wanted to throw the book because my heart was broken.
The epilogue was definitely needed and though it didn’t make everything all bright and shiny again, it eased my heart a bit and left me definitely wanting more… maybe something a few summers after. I’m just saying… I would read it.
If you like a coming of age story with a very complicated romance … and an MC that while she isn’t perfect is learning who she is and wants to be, definitely pick this one up!
Thank you to HarperCollins for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.