Friday, April 25, 2014

ARC Review: Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Goodreads summary:

Summer, boys, and friendships gone sour. This new series has everything that perfect beach reads are made of!

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long? 

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma's plan is working (she's finding it hard to resist Josh), but she's finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is? 

Katie Finn hits all the right notes in this perfect beginning to a new summer series: A Broken Hearts & Revenge novel.

My review:

Sometimes you just need a fluffy, relaxing contemporary book, and Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend was just that for me.  With strong characters, a sweet romance, and some surprising twists, this is a wonderful feel-good summer book that you'll want to read in one sitting.  It's pure mindless fun.  I basically felt like this while reading it:

I was so invested in this book.  I can't count the number of times I laughed or held my breath, wondering what was going to happen next.  I started it one afternoon when I was bored at a family event, and I stayed up late that night to finish it.  It's very readable, too - I was surrounded by noise and conversation most of the time I was reading, but I was never distracted and completely lost in Finn's amazing writing.  Think Sarah Dessen, but with a lighter, faster-paced feel to it.

Gemma is an awesome main character.  Yes, she makes some dumb choices at the beginning of the book, but her decisions follow her throughout the story until she eventually learns to grow up.  I've been reading some other reviews and understand where others are coming from when they say that Gemma's naive and makes bad decisions.  But I found it very easy to like her despite all that, because she's so endearingly awkward.  She gets herself into countless embarrassing situations and I found myself relating and sympathizing with her.

There's a lot of mindless drama, but I loved it.  I'm finding this to be a growing recurrence in books I read - apparently drama is becoming a guilty pleasure of mine!  But it sucked me into the story and, like Gemma, I kept wondering whether Hallie knew the truth about who Gemma really was and how it would all go down at the end of the book.  Oh, and the author included a WhoLock (short for the TV shows Doctor Who and Sherlock) reference that made me fangirl like crazy - one of the characters mentioned a show called Sergeant Who that was about a detective who solved crimes in a phone booth.

Oh, and for anyone wanting to actually see Sherlock in a phone booth:

Yeah, there's a fanmade gif for that.

Anyway, I can't gush over this book enough.  Sure, it may have a couple faults, but it was hugely entertaining and I finished it with a big grin on my face.  If I had to think of something to compare it to, I'd say it's a little like a mix of Gossip Girl and Sarah Dessen - lots of drama and fluff, but also filled with Dessen's signature "summer-y feel" and some serious moments.  And let's just say it ends with a bang.  I'll definitely be picking up book two!

*I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

~ Kaitlyn

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