“We are strong. We are Southern. We have secrets you will never imagine.”
I’m going to start off with a disclaimer: if you’re anything like me, or have an ideologies such as feminism, or you’re sick of (incorrect and hyperbolized) southern stereotypes, you’ll probably hate this book at first. Like, hate it so much that you wonder what in the hell possessed you to even pick it up in the first place (most definitely that gorgeous cover). Then you’ll head over to Goodreads to read all the other one star reviews of people who totally agree with your hatred. Except…once you get to Goodreads, you’ll find pretty much nothing but raving 5 star reviews. Why? Because this book is amazing. You just have to make it through the first 50 or so pages, get into the flow of things, and I promise you’ll be sucked in. This book also had some extremely vivid imagery. Alessandra Torres painted a picture with her words. I could picture every location, person, and moment perfectly, which rarely happens. I have a pretty good imagination, and Alessandra Torres fed it like a five course meal. Seriously, she has mad writing skills. I ended up LOVING this book, and I even intend on purchasing a paperback copy (I mean, just look at that cover. Who wouldn’t want that beautiful piece of work on their bookshelf?).
Cole Masten is Hollywood’s Golden Boy. Recently separated from his cheating superstar wife, he’s become Hollywood’s newest living and breathing sexy bad boy- partying hard and going through every girl in town. Summer Jenkins, on the other hand, is the outcast of Quincy, Georgia. She’s a girl stuck in a small southern town, ostracized by the townspeople after one fateful decision a few years ago. She dreams of leaving, but never expected her opportunity to manifest itself through none other than Cole Masten. His world is the polar opposite of hers, and fate knows they don’t belong together. From the beginning, Cole spells nothing but trouble for Summer. However, she can’t keep him and Hollywood from invading her town and life. She knows it can’t end well, but she can’t help but stay away.
“Southern women are unique; there’s no disputing that.”
The thing I hated about Summer initially eventually became the thing that endeared me to her the most. Being a southern girl myself who attended college in the north, I’ve faced many stereotype accusations. People make assumptions about me the second they hear where I’m from, and I get really frustrated with the media for perpetuating this. At the beginning, Summer is almost too southern. It’s like the author was worried we wouldn’t understand how different Cole and Summer were, and therefore wouldn’t be able to appreciate it as much when they began gravitating toward each other. However, as their relationship progressed, I found myself not enjoying her southern girl attributes, but also relating to her. This always makes a book more enjoyable. Her sass was especially endearing, and a quality that is engrained in every southern woman from birth.
“He took the asshole route.”
Cole wasn’t the most enjoyable love interest for a solid half of the book. He was a complete asshole to not only Summer, but most people, and once he did have Summer in his sights, he toyed with her emotions for a bit. However, the entire time you could feel his inner conflict over his actions. This redeemed him slightly. And once he did finally admit to his feelings for Summer, it became obvious he really was a man who loved with his whole heart. It was hard to deny that he would do anything for Summer. Their relationship was also extremely adorable. Nerf gun battles, paper bag masks, late night Walmart adventures (those are the best), and a special pet rooster named Cocky combined to make one of my favorite relationships out of all the New Adult books I’ve read. No, it didn’t have the emotional depth and angst that a lot of them had (which makes them both poignant and memorable), but it did have that fluffy cuteness that leaves you smiling and your heart floating up to the clouds. So props for that, cause sometimes you need a healthy dose of happy romance. Another thing that saved my opinion of the romance in this book was the blatant lack of insta-love. I despise insta-love, and it was mercifully left out of this book. If that had been present, combined with all the other grievances at the beginning, I would have thrown this book away never to be finished…which would have been a darn shame.
“There was so much bullshit flying around that our flies were confused.”
While the heavy southern stereotypes were a bit extreme for Summer initially, they were sort of spot on in every other aspect of the book. Gossip spreads faster than a wildfire, the threat of getting shot when trespassing (seriously people, watch your backs in a carry state if you’re stupid enough to trespass), not being flashy about wealth. However, there were a few southern stereotypes that I feel I need to correct. Southerners are often viewed as sexist and homophobic. Summer calls Ben a “tiny gay man” (seriously?!), says Cole isn’t a “man’s man” because he asks for sparkling water in stead of “chugging tap water from a hose” (cmon, nobody does that), and says she should “bend over” for Cole simply because he’s a hot male (girl, they’re called standards). I have grown up in the south, and the majority of people I have met do not act and speak like this. We are not racist, homophobic, bible thumping, sexist, misogynistic rednecks. So stop perpetuating those stereotypes. For the love of God.
Other than my complaints about stereotypes and the previously mentioned annoyances, I would give this book a solid 4/5 stars, because I really did enjoy it thoroughly. If you’re just now getting into New Adult or Contemporary Romances, I would definitely recommend this be on the list.