Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Boys of Summer blog tour: review & giveaway

Welcome to our stop on The Boys of Summer blog tour hosted by YA Bound.  Click HERE to check out the full blog tour schedule!

The Boys of Summer (Summer #1) by C.J. Duggan 
Upper YA contemporary romance*eBook, 294 pages
Release Date: 12/17/12

It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘OnslowBoys’. Every time they swaggered in the front doorof the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him ... Toby Morrison.

Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins.

To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets.

How did she let her friends talk her into working?

After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer ofworking expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos.

All with the one boy she has never been able to forget. 
It will be a summer she will always remember.
Warning: sexual references, and occasional course language.

There was no rhyme or reason to high school. What made you team captain one day could make you a social outcast the next. I was neither popular nor a freak-a-zoid; I was no one, a real Jane Doe, and that's the way I liked it.

It doesn't have to be summer time to read and enjoy The Boys of Summer by CJ Duggan. I read it on a cold March night and was instantly transported to the Australian town of Onslow, circa 1990s. Don Henley's song provided the perfect background music while I read this in one sitting.

The three of us made unlikely allies, but we'd been friends all our lives.

Tess and her two closest friends, the boy crazy Ellie, and the dramatic, habitually late Adam, are waiting for the last remaining days of the school year to end. They'll soon be able to say goodbye to junior year. We learn a lot about Tess in the beginning--that she doesn't speak up for herself when harassed by her ex-boyfriend Scott and his cronies, she's shy, would rather  hang out than work, and she is slightly indulgent and a bit immature. When Adam talks her into taking on a summer position at his uncle's hotel, she's reluctant, but seeing their exuberance, she gives in and becomes a waitress. 

At an end of the year party, Tess watches as Ellie heads off to the woods with a guy and she waits for their return by sitting on a car hood. Soon a male figure walks down the driveway and her heart begins to pound faster. The guy is Toby Morrison and we learn just how long she's had a thing for him. He greets her, then heads into the party and the story really takes off from there.

I watched as his figure became smaller, but still clear enough to see that he was stopped every few feet with people and hand grasps and pats on the back. Everyone knew Toby Morrison, and I seriously wanted to, too.

Crushes turn to the real thing, friends secrets are revealed, new friendships are created and relationships are tested. The Boys of Summer is an addictive read. Even though there are Australian words, slang, and references to places I wasn't familiar with, I had no problem understanding their context. Tess is such a likable character and watching her mature, make mistakes, fall in love and grow up was a touching experience. I was glad she had friends like Ellie and Adam--they not only provided her with their love, protection and company, they added some funny moments. Tess, too, had some humorous lines (the line about a swinging cat and knowing everyone in their small town made me stop reading to laugh). I cheered her on as she gains more confidence in her body image, becomes comfortable with herself and who she really is. This is a universal truth so many girls face in their teen years and I like the way the author handled it. There were references to older music and I love it when music is incorporated into novels since songs provide an instant atmosphere. 

"Do you want some words of advice, Tess?"
I glanced at Adam's profile as he sipped.
"Don't give your heart away too easily." He turned to me. "Make him earn it."

How do I describe Toby and the Oslow Boys? I liked how Toby and his group of friends are dubbed "the Oslow Boys" at the hotel bar and this helped define this group of friends. Toby is hot, introspective, watches what's going on, and definitely needs a change in girlfriends. He's growing apart from his girl, Angela, and he sees something different in Tess. As I write this review the song "Boys of Summer" begins playing on the radio and I realize with its hypnotic beat, on spot lyrics, and heartfelt vocals, that it is the perfect song for this aptly-titled coming-of-age summer love story. I recommend this book for older and mature YA readers.

And then he spoke. His voice was low and raspy. "I get you."

I can't wait to read the next book in the series, An Endless Summer, and find out which characters share their tales with us. I'm adding CJ Duggan to my list of favorite YA contemporary authors right now.

Rating: 4

Cover comment:
Flirty and romantic.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review.

Buy Links:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg

Add An Endless Summer (Summer #2) to Goodreads:

About the Author
C.J Duggan
Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook
C.J Duggan is an Australian author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. The Boys of Summer is Book One in her Mature Young Adult Romance Series.

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