Genre: New Adult, Romance

Stars: 5

Links: Amazon UK and Amazon.com

The blurb:

There’s bound to be trouble in Paradise . . .

When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson never expected they’d send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of homeschooling on a rural Australian property, she just knows that Paradise will be amazing. But when she’s thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie’s not so sure.

Hanging out with the self-proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late-night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie’s never experienced, but all that’s about to change. It’s new, terrifying . . . and exciting.

And when Lexie meets Luke Ballantine, the swoon-worthy, bad-boy leader of the group, the chemistry between them is electric. Trouble with a capital T, Luke is impulsive, charming and answers to no one, and he’s sexier than any guy Lexie has ever known. Lexie begins to wonder if Luke is going to be good for her . . . or very, very bad?

My review:

A wonderfully written, gently plotted new-adult(ish) romantic(ish) piece of fiction. But it is also so much more than that.

The story is that of Lexie, a home-schooled country girl that goes to live with her cousin in the big city. Her aim is to experience life in the ‘real world’ by finishing her education at a ‘real school’ and, of course, nothing is as she expected. Her cousin Amanda is the ultimate in moody teenagers, her new friend comes with a brother that’s too close for comfort, and crushing on bad-boy Ballantine has unexpected consequences. Throw in a lot of emotions, mis-steps and school-girl antics, and you have something fresh in a familiar and comfortable setting.

I’m not one for everything tied in perfect little bows with a cherry on top, and this book does not disappoint. Part of a series, that much is obvious. But, for me, the realism of the book extending to its natural conclusion made it all the more perfect.

If you want to know what it’s like to be a girl in her late teens in the developed world, then it really doesn’t get more accurate than this. All the angst, mood swings, obsessions, insecurities and sexual awakenings are there, but carefully crafted and not overtly shoved in the reader’s face. I cannot recommend this book enough.

*I received a free copy from the publisher via NetGalley in return for my unbiased review.