I was so excited when I got the opportunity to review this book as part of the Fantastic Flying Book Club BLINK Summer Reading Tour. I had seen some descriptions and it sounded right up my alley: a hate-to-love story about two teens in a hurricane in North Carolina? Sign me up! And indeed, I flew through this book in just two sittings. It was a great read and I highly recommend it. Read on for my **SPOILER-FREE** review, and then if you are as intrigued as I was, go out and get this fabulous book.
It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all.
What I loved:
*The setting – I am so intrigued by the Outer Banks of North Carolina where this is set, and it really felt like I was there. The author did an especially good job of bringing the different aspects of the storm weather to life. It almost featured as a character of its own in the story, and I loved that. The language was beautifully descriptive without being too dense.
*Sophie and Finn – They are extremely easy to like and cheer for, while still being complex characters with their own problems and flaws. I loved how their personalities complemented each other and how Sophie couldn’t help but be drawn to Finn despite being supremely irritated by him. I know that the hate-to-love trope features in a lot of romance, especially YA, but there is a reason for that–when it is done well, it is extremely true to the complex feelings of adolescence and teens trying to figure out just who they are and who they want to be. I dig it.
*The horses – I just loved everything about Sophie’s relationship with and love of horses and how one particular horse’s story figures into her own, and might even be seen as a parallel to her own emotional struggles and eventual path through them to find her own inner strength–and perhaps more importantly, inner peace.
What didn’t work as well:
*The depth of backstory – I know this is YA, and the pacing is often quick, but I found I would have liked just a little more back story for both Sophie and Finn, and maybe a little more depth when they each talk about their big struggles (I won’t say more in order to avoid spoilers). I loved the big plot points and twists, and think they were handled well overall, so this is just a minor complaint.
*The ending- Actually, I really liked the ending. I just wanted an epilogue. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Sophie and Finn and wanted MORE. Again, not really a very big complaint.
The bottom line:
This is a fast-paced and emotional story with a lot of heart and a beautifully written setting. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary YA. I can’t wait to see more from McCall Hoyle!
“If Prince Charmings and happily-ever-afters were real, I’d have a godmother and a fancy dress. Instead, I’ve got a pitchfork and a pile of horse manure.”
“It’s not a flag. It has arms. Strong, straight, graceful surfer’s arms. It’s Finn in a black windbreaker, arms stretched wide, head thrown back. He’s standing atop a rickety railing in the eye of a hurricane doing his thing.”
“Hard to believe I thought closing my heart, keeping it safe, was more important than the warm embrace of a boy I care about–really care about.”
“Right now, I choose to ride this perfect wave and to enjoy the blush of sun on my cheeks.”
About the Author: McCall Hoyle
McCall Hoyle writes honest YA novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day.
Blog Tour Schedule
Prize: Win 1 of 5 BLINK Summer Reading Tour Book Bundles (A Touch of Gold, Meet the Sky, No Place Like Here, Pretty In Punxsutawney, and Swing by Kwame Alexander).
Open to U.S. residents only. Ends on August 9, 2019.