Release Date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different… This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt--with her. Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy… - Goodreads.com
I'm such a fan of Miranda Kenneally's books. They are so true to life that you can picture yourself in them. The characters are so real that you can imagine yourself having been friends with them. I could so see myself hanging out with the people, doing the things that they do, and experiencing the same events and issues. It probably doesn't hurt that the series is set in Nashville, TN, where I'm from, so it brings the books a certain immediacy for me, as I can imagine the settings, the weather, the places, and just the general atmosphere.
Kate was a great character that really makes you think, as so many of this author's characters do. She holds her beliefs very strongly, and it doesn't always make her popular with those around her. This is someone who is incredibly devout in her faith, to the point where her church's doctrine kind of rules her. Because of this religious aspect, there are probably going to be some people who might not like this book. Some Christians are going to feel that the book was meant to portray Christianity in a negative way, as Kate's faith is very rigid. Others are going to think the book was meant to portray it negatively from the other direction... that the book is somehow saying that if you don't live so Christian-like you'll be happier. As a Christian myself, I saw it in yet another light. Kate needed to find a good balance between honoring God and her faith, and realizing that doing so didn't mean enforcing heavy rules on yourself, that that's not what God wants for your life.
At first, the people around her don't like, seeing her as being judgmental and rigid, which is somewhat true in a way. She has to grow out of that, and when she begins to, people start to realize they've misjudged her. Of course, one of my favorite characters was Matt. I loved him because he was so sweet, cute, and good, and he really saw Kate, saw her heart, when no one else did.
I loved that he was mature enough not to act like your typical teenage boy, even when he was doing things that were what a typical teenage boy would do. He respected her beliefs, even as he sweetly coaxed her into opening up.
This turned out to be one of my favorite Miranda Kenneally books, because I loved the gradual progression of romance, the growth of the characters, and the fact that the book had such a nice quality of self-discovery to it. It just went a bit deeper.
Kenneally definitely knows how to write realistic characters that make you love them. I enjoyed the book from page one and it held me to the end.