When Summer took a job as a nanny for a couple vacationing in Belize, she imagined it would be a fresh start before starting college in the fall. And while she adores her charge, Josh, she can’t say the same for her employers’ oldest son, Bray. He’s cocky, inconsiderate, and makes her feel she’s a chore he has to put up with. In short, he’s everything she dislikes in a guy.
Bray had a plan for the summer: party, hang out with friends, and forget all the responsibilities waiting for him back home. But every time he’s forced to be around Summer, her dour, serious mood sets him off. Not to mention she has a habit of picking up on what he already knows is wrong with him.
Then the two find themselves on a dive trip gone wrong, stranded on a remote island. As they focus on survival, their differences melt away, and they find being together may be what both needed all along.
Summer is newly graduated from high school, trying to heal from the death of her first boyfriend, when she decides to take a summer job as a nanny to a family vacationing in Belize. The reader is only given brief glimpses of that backstory here and there, until about halfway through the novel when Summer shares the full story with Bray. Bray is only slightly older than her and the older son of Summer's employers. Bray is immediately dismissive of Summer's conservative looks (as in, for her age she dresses a bit like a granny or an elderly librarian), decides she just needs to go back home but Bray's mom pushes them to play nice. It's only after a makeover via Bray's mom that he starts to show interest and actual kindness to Summer. Suddenly, he's cool with her tagging along on his diving excursions and whatnot. It's on one of these boat trips that they get caught adrift and end up stranded on a deserted island. While waiting for rescue -- which takes weeks, natch -- they grow to really depend on each other, forming a deep bond / attachment for one another.
It was a cute story as a whole, a nice light read with a mostly heartwarming friendship / romance between Summer & Bray. The tension between them was just the right amount to keep me reading to see how things would turn out. I liked that Bray proved himself to be an honestly good guy with strong moral character, even if some of the dialogue between him & Summer was, in parts, tinged in schmaltz. And what luck for their ordeal to happen on an island seemingly teeming with resources!(show spoiler)
There were parts that I found to tip a little too far into teenage soap opera for my liking. I also found it a little bothersome that Bray didn't really feel Summer was worth the time of day until after she gets a full makeover, but afterwards she's the most amazing woman inside and out. That made me cringe a little. Oh, and the constant "I'm sorry", "No, I'm sorry" back and forth... after awhile that got grating.
The criminal element to the plot that's introduced about 135 pages in was a surprise... at first it felt as though it might shift the tone of the book but the way Burch writes it in works nicely with the rest of the story. I found it to be believable and added a nice twist of drama and tension to what otherwise would have been a really airy read, I think.
Also, this is just a minor thing, but I really liked the palm frond graphic at the start of each chapter. I thought it was a nice added touch to keep your mind in the whole jungle / island mood! I liked the environment of this book so much, I immediately jumped into another book set in a jungle locale!
FTC Disclaimer: BookLookBloggers.com & Zondervan Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts above are entirely my own.