GENRE: Summer, Romance, Spice
So, I want to start off by saying that I came into this book very negatively. By this I mean, I already had a preconceived notion of my opinions of Elle Kennedy’s writing because I absolutely LOATHED “The Deal” - specifically how the novel addresses SA and being supper abrasive with the language. Someone who has experienced SA would not be so BLANTANT in the language and would not forget to add a trigger warning at the beginning of the novel… that being said… THE SUMMER GIRL was an amazing read. It really changed my opinion of Kennedy as a writer and I am now going to be more open to her works in the future.
While there were a few ICKs at the beginning of the novel (namely Cassie basically admitting to excusing Tate’s repulsive/pervy behaviour because he is attractive).
SIDE NOTE: This book comes out tomorrow (JULY 18, 2023) and I think that it may have been a better option not to use the name TATE for our love interest… no matter what happened all I could picture was Andrew Tate (barf!) As the novel progresses, you forget the unfortunate fact of his name, and his shitty behaviour at the beginning of the novel because Tate becomes overall a very great and fun love interest.
Without giving spoilers here are some aspects of the novel I loved:
If you need something fun and romantic and quick to read this summer, you should definitely pick up THE SUMMER GIRL by ELLE KENNEDY.
***I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE ON NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
GENRE: RomCom, Plus Size, Holiday
SPICE: 4/5 - lots of sex but nothing k*nky
Heaven, Hell or Vermont?
So prior to writing my own review, after excitedly finishing this book, I mistakenly decided to go through Goodreads and see what others had said about this novel. This book, like every book, is not for everyone. If you watch Dumplin’ on Netflix and didn’t relate, understand or appreciate the film, you quite likely will not love this book as much as I did… which to be clear I ABSOLUTELY loved. I am really stingy on what books get 5 stars, and maybe because December is a happy month and my last 3 books have been 5-stars, maybe I am wrong… but I quite doubt it.
Conceptually this novel is amazing. The premise is original and hilarious. How would you feel if your favourite boy-band hunk you’ve been crushing on since your teens is now your co-star on a Hallmark-esk film set? How would you feel if that crush had been subscribed to your “Only Fans” (its got another name in the book) for the last 6 years and has a crush on you? That you mistakenly get selected to be the lead in this wholesome Christmas movie and have to hide that you have a very successful film career already! A porn film career that is! This novel really straddled the line between unrealistic Hallmark-wholesome and realistic and down to earth, which is very hard to do.
Let’s talk about the characters. Firstly, Nolan, our hunky ex-boyband now turned new-wholesome-film-star was a great character filled with depth and understanding. One of my primary issues when reading novels with male perspectives is that sometimes men don’t feel like men. What I mean by this is, that the women writing the novels are writing what women want without really keeping in mind generally how men are. What I mean by this is, at times, considering the men I have in my life and the things they say, the thoughts they share, etc. it will at times feel like something this character wouldn’t REALLY say but rather what the reader/author would WANT them to say. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I will carry on. I do see some criticism about how Nolan’s character describes his love interest Bee, and his sexual thoughts. I think all criticism is fair but I love when my partner and I talk to each other and “objectify” one and other. In Nolan’s context, it isn’t creepy but just a man looking out for the woman he is enamored with.
Bree’s character was perfect. No notes. We love a bisexual, plus size, babe who loves her body and knows what she wants in life and doesn’t take “NO” for an answer. There is a moment in the novel, where Bree is given a big choice, be with the man of her dreams in private or not at all. As a big girl, this is something I have experienced and struggled with before. Often I have found myself in situations where I am told I am beautiful, funny and amazing; that all they want to do is spend time with me, but the moment when it’s time to let people outside of our bubble know… The bubble pops. Gone. And then I am left alone once again, picking up the pieces of myself. This scene in the novel… BROKE ME. I do not want to give anymore away, so I’ll leave it there.
Let’s talk about SPICE baby… So I gave this a 4/5 stars, because while YES Bee is a porn star and there is a significant amount of sex in the novel… There was nothing kinky or triggering about it to give it a 5 star rating. So if you’re ok with mostly vanilla sex and it happening frequently through the novel, there is no need to shy away from this novel. Granted… chapter 13 is… HOT and also… there is a sex scene in a church so if that is something “problematic” for you… you have been warned.
I am not usually someone who reads holiday novels. I actually tried last Christmas to read one, and it remains dust-covered on my TBR, but if you are looking for a nice holiday read to pick up before you’re snowed in for the holidays, I recommend picking up this book.