ARC review: The Summer Before Forever by Melissa Chambers

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Let’s get one thing out in the open right away. At the start of this book, Chloe is almost raped by a boy she has a huge crush on. She doesn’t feel like she can tell anybody about what happened. She doesn’t want her friends to know because she doesn’t want them to tell his friends. She doesn’t want to make a whole thing out of it. She just wants it to go away. She never wants to see this boy again, so heading down to Florida to spend the summer with her estranged father, his new fiancee, and her soon-to-be stepbrother seems like a great escape. The fact that her best friend can tag along makes it even better.

Chloe’s dad is as awkward as ever. He doesn’t really know how to talk to her now that she’s growing up, so he pretty much ignores her. She’s also harboring a little bit of resentment for him just up and leaving her for his new family. The saving grace is Landon, her future stepbrother.

Landon is cute. He’s respectful. He’s protective of Chloe. He’s exactly the kind of person she needs to be around after everything she’s been through. And the things she’s feeling for him aren’t appropriate for someone who’s going to be her stepbrother soon. So she tries to pretend that she’s not affected by him. Jenna, her best friend, sees through that in a second.

Meanwhile, Landon is dealing with his own problems. He likes that Chloe looks at him like he can do no wrong, so he doesn’t want her to know his biggest secret. (I’ll be purposely vague here so I don’t ruin it for you. It’s nothing bad, I promise.) He also knows that he should stay away from Chloe, but he can’t help feeling a connection with her.

Okay, so this book was really cute. I thought that Melissa Chambers dealt with the whole issue of the attraction between Chloe and Landon really well. This book wouldn’t have worked if Chloe was close with her father. I was happy to find that they didn’t know each other at all going in. I think there’s a fine line when writing a book like this about teenagers, and Chambers stayed on the right side of it.

A few things that kept me from giving this book a full five stars: I thought that the attempted rape was kind of glossed over. It’s kind of like Chloe goes through this really traumatic experience, and then it’s mentioned a couple times but never really dealt with. I was also a little creeped out by the age of the characters. I didn’t think that they really acted like teenagers, so I was always a little shocked when I was reminded of their age (like when they talk about going back to high school or looking for colleges). Maybe I’m just getting old.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book! It’s a cute, fast read that’s perfect for summer.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!

Final rating: ★★★★☆