Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
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Paige Barnes is on the run.
From her junior year of college.
From her ex.
Good thing her mother, true crime author Julia Barnes, just purchased an Airstream trailer for an adventurous move to costal South Carolina to write her next book. Living by the ocean in a shiny, silver camper may not be what Paige had in mind for the summer, but sometimes a fresh start is just what a girl needs.
That is, if she can escape the past. They’ve barely unhitched the camper when Paige realizes her mother has been keeping secrets. Big ones. They have an entire family living in Ocean Beach that Julia’s never mentioned, a connection to the most notorious serial killer in South Carolina history, and relationships to mend.
All of these things should be enough to distract Paige from her problems, but when she meets recent college graduate Justin Hawkins, a summer rebound seems like a great idea. Part beach bum, part business man, Justin is just the kind of fun Paige hopes will help her forget the mistakes she’s made.
It works until her past comes nipping at her heels and her mother’s secrets are revealed to be darker than she ever expected. Bolstered by their new friends and family, they’re both ready to face their fears head on…but at what cost?
If Paige were granted a wish, it would be to take a few months of her life back. Because then she’ll be able to do over that one thing that led to a mountain of mistakes. She promised herself she’ll never be that girl and as soon as she realized that she has been, indeed, that girl for the last couple of months, she found herself on a road trip with her mother, running away from a scandalous romance that ended not so amicably. Seem cowardly, if you ask me. But life is knowing when to run and when to face your problems. It’s all about giving yourself time and hopefully growing up in the process.
It didn’t take long until she’s come face-to-face with the same choices. Same old shit, just a different pile. This time, however, she’s going to face her fear. She’s going to make the right choices and she’s not going to let a smart surfer boy with a killer smile allow her to think lowly of herself – like she doesn’t deserve something more.
This is Serial Summer: trailer park, townies, tourists, beaches, fried seafood, boys in board shorts and a light murder mystery to boot. How could you not want to read this book? This novel will have you dreaming of frothy waves and of that briny ocean smell; of sun tan lotions and lazy summer days when all you want to do is will the afternoon way slathered in coconut oil.
For such a slight book though, it carries quite a heavy lesson about how easy it is to be blinded by passion. Though Paige tend to get mopey (understandable, considering the circumstances), her ability to bounce back from an ugly scandal was admirable. She didn’t waiver once she realized her mistakes. She held herself with dignity regardless of the humiliation she endured. I love that Ms. Lawson didn’t give her the chance to doubt her decisions by second-guessing herself.
I did, however, experienced a mild annoyance with Justin. I didn’t like how he was set to punish Paige for a relationship that was ten ways of screwed up. A relationship that had nothing to do with him because it happened before his time. Truthfully, I was ready to write him off as a class-A jerk. I did a bit of mental back and forth before I saw where his inability to trust came from. To be honest, Paige also had trust issues. So they had to do some self-scrutiny before they could move on. If there’s one thing blatant about these two though is the chemistry. Holy hotness. It’s funny because this book is only a step-up from YA so it’s generally clean. But their innate sexual chemistry was enough to burn the pages.
I also love the slight murder mystery in this novel, as well. Paige’s mom was a novelist writing a True-Crime book about a serial killer who hailed from their town. Small towns are usually rich in close-knit history and it couldn’t be more true than Ocean Beach. In fact, histories are so close, I was afraid Justin and Paige were somehow related. Ha.
In all seriousness though, this book has a bit of everything. It came in a series of novellas (four). But if you want the full story, buy the fourth. I read it one day and in as little as four hours.
Once again, Ms. Lawson shows her versatility in writing. I’ve read her first two books (Wraith, FanGirl!) and am absolutely blown away by how she makes it look so easy.