I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing, NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Summer Before Forever by Melissa Chambers
Series: Before Forever #1
Published by Entangled: digiTeen on August 22, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Entangled Publishing, NetGalley
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Chloe Stone’s life is a hot mess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs.
Landon’s mom will throttle him if he even looks at his future stepsister the wrong way. Problem is, Chloe is everything he didn’t know he wanted, and that’s…inconvenient. Watching her tear it up on a karaoke stage, stand up to his asshole friend, and rock her first string bikini destroys his sanity.
But there’s more than their future family on the line. Landon is hiding something—something he knows will change how she feels about him—and she’s hiding something from him, too. And when the secrets come out, there’s a good chance neither will look at the other the same way again…
The Summer Before Forever
Background info on characters, stories, settings:
Novels are works of fiction…mostly. Many of us draw on what we know, or we take pieces and parts of our lives…stories we’ve heard and experiences we’ve had, and we mold them into fictitious stories. Other times, we take dreams or fantasies and we draw them out into stories. We allow ourselves to live out different lives on the page or even live in the setting of our dreams for little while.
I love the beach. My whole life, I’ve wanted to live there. I’ve been quite a bit, but I’ve never made that transition away from everyone and everything I know. That’s where books come in. I don’t have to actually live at the beach to smell the salty ocean air. I can just sit down at my keyboard and dream up a sandy beach, waves licking at my toes, and sun warming my skin.
My debut YA novel, The Summer Before Forever, takes place in a town called Destin, Florida. This is a beach town in the panhandle that I’ve been to more times than I have fingers and toes to count on. I grew up going to this town as a toddler and have been just about every year since.
I have so many memories of Destin as a teenager. There’s something so wonderful about separating yourself from all the kids at school who know all your embarrassing moments and your status in the hallway cliques. For me, Destin was like a clean slate for the week. A place where there was a level playing field, and everyone, including me, was the mystery guy or girl.
I wanted my heroine, Chloe, to have that anonymity. She’s been through some really heavy stuff back home, and although she’s got to endure a summer with her estranged father, she gets to remove herself from all of that stress and walk into a clean slate. Sometimes we need that.
Chloe goes on a transformation that spans the summer. She’s been sent running back into her conch shell after a terrible incident with a boy back home, and she has to find a way to gain her confidence and strength back. It’s always a challenge working on a character’s journey, and we writers have to make sure we’re not rushing it or drawing it out longer than the reader has a tolerance for. Chloe works on a list of confidence-building tasks as supplied by her crazy, very confident best friend, Jenna. As Chloe completes the tasks, she finds herself creeping back out of her shell, but around every corner, there are reasons to hop right back in.
I love to read stories told in dual POV. I like getting both perspectives. For this reason, I wrote this story in dual POV. I like giving the reader a break from the same voice throughout every chapter, and it also provides a deeper character arc for both sides. I felt like I really got to know Landon better than I would have if the whole story would have come from Chloe’s perspective. But I will say that in some instances, I like the mystery a single POV story provides when we never get in the hero’s head.
Landon is your typical swoony YA romance hero. He’s strong and athletic, confident but lets his guard down for Chloe on occasion. He’s also good to his sometimes overbearing mother. It’s tough to dislike a guy who cares about his mom! But he’s got a clink in his armor – something he wants desperately to hide from Chloe. But keeping a secret so big may end up making things ten times worse.
Landon was really fun to write, but he also took a lot of research on my part. I got to know him so well that way as I read articles, watched videos, and figured out ways to really make him tick.
I hope you will enjoy The Summer Before Forever. Should you choose to read, I promise you toes in the sand, warm summer nights, and a blossoming relationship that will give your stomach a major case of the butterfly-itis!
Perfect; romantic, forbidden!!!
I want to kiss this girl more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life… more than I want to play football, more than I want to freaking breathe. by Landon
- Landon is the most perfect boyfriend ever. He is such a great guy, that is easy to fall in love with him. I have three teenagers of my own, two of them are boys, and he is the kind of man I would like my boys to become.
- Chloe is a great heroine. She is still maturing, growing up, learning about herself. She has one of the biggest evolutions I have seen a character have in a book. Amazing! I could easily relate, connect and understand her.
- Jenna was not instant love, but when you get to know her, you fall in love. She is a great secondary character and I would love to know her better, to “hear” her point-of-view also.
- This plot is fenomenal. Is about love, friendship, growing up, first love, coming of age. It’s sweet and romantic.
- I couldn’t put this book down. I had real trouble stoping to do anything. One of the most addictive reads I had in a long time.
- I can’t wait to read more of this author. I’m really hoping that I get to see all of them in college on the next book.
- This book is a journey worth taking!
- I love the cover!
- The author touches so many important themes on this book, but at the same time, it all make sense in the story. They are there for are reason and everything enriches the reader’s experience.
- Sorry, this is one of those reads that left me speechless. I can’t think of any thing that I haven’t liked it.
- What’s not to like?
I don’t know what your experience level is, but I just want to make sure you know you don’t owe any asshole any part of you. by Landon
You MAY read this book because you love YA novels; you SHOULD read this book because you love a sweet love story; you MUST read this book if you are looking for a real cathartic experience of first love and friendship!!!