My Bad Boy Summer by Ann Herrick
Publisher: Books We Love, Ltd.
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Length: Short Story (94 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
Will Nolan give up his bad-boy ways for Vija?
17-year-old Vija Skalbe wants to be an all-American girl–no matter how hard her parents try to impose their strict Latvian standards on her. She feels unsure of herself with one foot in each country.
Then Nolan, a folksinger, steals her heart at a coffeehouse. When Nolan stops at their table, it’s Vija’s friend, Caprice, who does all the talking. But it is Vija who gets his phone number–and later the back seat of his motorcycle. Soon she is cruising from one adventure to another, dizzy with joy, her new-found freedom and the excitement of being with the kind of guy who is a challenge.
However, when her father has a heart attack, Vija must take over running the family lawn-care business. She feels overwhelmed until sweet brainiac Joel volunteers to help. He shares the workload and lifts her spirits with his humor. But it is Nolan who fills her heart.
It doesn’t matter that Nolan wants everything his way. Or that he’s constantly eyeing other girls. Or that he can be pouty and punitive. Or that he says she’s seeing things all wrong. Until it does matter. But Vija’s in so deep. Will he change? Will she deal with Nolan’s controlling tactics, or is she too far under his spell?
It’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind romance. Figuring out what to do next, though, is the real challenge.
Vila’s character development was excellent. She changed so much throughout this story, but all of her personal growth fit in well with the girl I met in her first scene. I also appreciated the fact that Vila had her fair share of flaws and that they were such a consistent part of her life. Knowing so much about her weaknesses made me empathize with all of the difficult things she had to deal with in this tale because she felt like a real person to me. There were several times when I wanted to give her a big hug and some friendly advice. I don’t know if Ms. Herrick is planning to write a sequel, but I’d absolutely love to know what happens to this character next.
There’s something to be said for a loving and close-knit family. What made the Skalbes even more interesting to me is that all four members of the family were about as different as they could possibly be. The fact that they had such good relationships was wonderful. I don’t see these kinds of families that often in young adult fiction, so finding one of them in this book made me happy.
The romance was handled perfectly. I liked seeing it unfold through Vila’s eyes in such great detail. It helped me to understand why she was initially attracted to Nolan as well as why she overlooked so many of the unkind and shady things he did. I can’t say much else about this part of the plot without giving away spoilers, but I will say that it’s something that every teen who daydreams about falling in love should pay close attention to.
My Bad Boy Summer was by far the best young adult story I’ve read this year. I can’t recommend it strongly enough!