Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: Things I Can't Forget (Kenneally)

AUTHOR: Miranda Kenneally
SERIES: Hundred Oaks, book 3
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 9781402271908
PAGES: 304
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: contemporary romance
GIVE IT TO: HS girls
SUMMARY: Eighteen-year old Kate Kelly heads to a Christian camp for a summer job as a camp counselor, and it is none too soon. After a huge argument with her best (and only) friend, Kate is desperate to get away from it all so she can figure things out. Kate has no idea how to mend her friendship or how to move on from what she did, and she hopes God will give her a sign at camp. Her first day as a counselor, Kate meets Matt, a fellow counselor she knew years before when they were both young campers. Gorgeous Matt seems interested in Kate, but how could he possibly like her if he knew what she had done?

ROMANTIC HEAT: Summer sizzle! Great character chemistry and some pretty steamy make-out scenes.

REVIEW: Camp counselor romance? Yes, yes, yes! Ever since I read Paula Danzinger's There's a Bat in Bunk Five in middle school, I have loved books about romance between summer camp counselors. Considering my love for Stealing Parker, I'm really not surprised that I loved Things I Can't Forget just as much.

Kenneally's Hundred Oaks books are easy to get into and would make excellent reads for reluctant reader girls in high school or even early college. The story starts quickly and has no long, dull "info-dumps" to slow the story down. It's structured so that all the chapters are titled with "Sketch # ___" and a subtitle such as "What Happened on May 5." Each chapter describes Kate working on a sketch of the events that either happened in the previous chapter or few weeks before with her best friend. This is a unique way to integrate the necessary background information (what happened with Kate's friend) rather than constantly interrupting the action just to give the backstory.

I always love it when characters are realistically flawed, and Kate is so flawed that she is irritating for about the first half of the book. Kate can be very judgmental of others she perceives as "doing the wrong thing" or even "sinning." While her convictions are admirable, she softens when she, too, is put into situations where she wants to do the things she looks down on others for doing. She made me mad at times, but Kate's guilt and confusion over right and wrong make her so very...human. I loved her for that.

Matt is an excellent counterpart for Kate, and the romance is one of those where you can feel the connection between the characters. Parker and Will from Stealing Parker are fellow camp counselors in this book, and Jordan and Sam from Catching Jordan make a cameo appearance as well. The only Hundred Oaks book I have not yet read is Catching Jordan, which is definitely calling my name.

THE BOTTOM LINE: If you like contemporary romance, don't miss Miranda Kenneally's books. Realistic characters, interesting events, growing up, and serious romantic chemistry are hallmarks of this series.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We don't have it. Due to sexual content, it's best for high school libraries.

READALIKES: Stealing Parker (Kenneally), Catching Jordan (Kenneally), Pushing the Limits (McGarry), Red Heart Tattoo (McDaniel)

  • Overall: 5/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Engrossing: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

  • Language: mild
  • Sexuality: very high; frank discussion of sex, characters make out and sleep in same bed, heavy making out with some detail; awareness of male erection; allusion to masturbation
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild; one teen party with alcohol, but protagonist does not drink

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