Publisher: Random House Children's Books.
Release date: May 8th 2012.
Hardcover, 208 pages.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
It's the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She's not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn't sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn't start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn't want to fool around anymore, he wants to be her boyfriend, while Angel doesn't want to be tied down. As Joey pulls away, and Inggy tours colleges, Angel finds herself spending more time with Inggy's boyfriend, Cork. With its cast of vivid and memorable characters, this tale from the Jersey shore is sure to make some waves.
If you like summer reads of the sweet and innocent coming of age type, then this is not the book for you! A fun summer romp on Jersey Shore, Beth Ann Bauman’s Jersey Angel follows the life and loves of seventeen year old Angel Cassonetti, as she embarks on a summer of fun and hook ups. And that’s about it really. Jersey Angel is plot light in that it doesn’t really have much of a plot. It’s just a breezy summer read with added raunch. Angel is a girl with some pretty loose morals, and she doesn’t face the consequences of her actions, which are mostly pretty low, especially in relation to her best friend, Inggy. Angel is a girl who sets her sights on what she wants and then she goes and gets it. It’s not that Angel doesn’t care about the people standing in her way, it’s just that it mostly doesn’t even enter her mind to consider them before she jumps into bed with their boyfriend.
All the same, Angel is not all bad. She has a sometimes sweet relationship with her ex, Joey, who she genuinely seems to care about, just not enough to date him. Angel doesn’t really understand why Joey wants to be exclusive – she just wants the no strings hook up thing. She does have a cute and caring relationship with her siblings, though, and that’s her main saving grace, that, and the fact that she doesn’t take life too seriously, which is refreshing in itself. In hindsight, Angel could probably benefit from taking life a little bit more seriously, but hey, summers when you’re seventeen are all about having as much fun as you can.
Just like its protagonist, Jersey Angel is an easy read – and is perfect for a hot day at the beach.
Release date: May 10th 2012.
Paperback, 250 pages.
Rating: 2½ out of 5
Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time.
Elizabeth Margaret, or Em as she is known to friends, has always lived her life by the rules, and oh, do her controlling parents make sure there are rules, lots of rules! So, from her summer internship at her dad’s law firm-to her degree at Harvard- to her future career in law- absolutely everything in Em’s life has been planned right down to the final detail. Em is tiring of living her life this way-she would love to pursue her dream of becoming a chef - but what can she do? This is the way her life has always been, and it doesn’t look as if things are going to change now.
Then, out of the blue, she receives an invitation from her long lost aunt Tilly to spend summer at her B&B in the Outer Banks. This is Em’s dream come true, and surprisingly her parents grudgingly agree that she can go. Finally. This is the summer that Em has been waiting for—the summer of her dreams, the summer of fun, and the summer of love. It’s also a summer of family secrets so big, that when uncovered, Em’s life will never be the same again.
I love coming-of-age reads with sunny settings and sweet romances, and while this book does fit that description, it also fell flat for me on a lot of counts, with characters that didn’t ring true and dialogue that was forced and stilted. The Summer My Life Began had all this potential to be a good beach read, but unfortunately it turned out to be all a little tame, all a little predictable, and overall a little dull, just like the big family secret contained within its pages.