Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Breathless, by Jennifer Niven

Claude is looking forward to her last summer before college, spending time with her best friend before they go their separate ways and maybe hooking up with a guy and having sex for the first time.  Those plans get thrown askew when her mother announces that she and Dad are separating.  She's taking Claude with her for a summer away at the family's ancestral home on a remote island off the coast of Georgia.  

Shell-shocked by the revelation that her parents are breaking up and that her father is abandoning them, Claude's thoughts once they have relocated are far far away from sex and romance.  That is, until she meets steamy enigmatic (and conveniently available) Jeremiah, who's working with an Outward Bound group on the island.  Miah is the perfect anecdote for Claude's broken heart, guiding her back to trust and love.  And while they will have to leave each other at the end of summer, she can't help but fall madly in love with him.

Yeah yeah, it's a formulaic romance, but a beautifully written one. An exotic setting, some steamy sex scenes, and characters with some actual meat on them.  Claude is no shrinking violet, but a fiercely independent and articulate young woman who is confident about what she wants and why she wants it.  As if to prove she's a teen, she makes a few mistakes along the way, but it's hard to not be impressed by how together she really is in the end.  Whether it is in her relationship with her separating parents, her loyalty to her friend, or her no-nonsense assertiveness with boys, she is an inspirational model of conduct.  There's no deep thought or message here, but characters to love and a story with which to fall in love -- a great New Adult romance and coming-of-age story for older readers.

No comments: