A “road” trip romance that takes place at sea! All Cassie wants is to get some solid ground under her feet following the shock of her parents’ divorce. So when she learns of her mom’s plans to take Cassie and her brother, Drew, on a four-month sailing trip from Oregon to Mexico, she’s stunned. There is absolutely nothing solid about the Pacific Ocean.
Cassie is furious. And nervous. It’s been hard enough keeping Drew sheltered from what Cassie knows about her mother’s role in breaking their family apart, but living in such close quarters threatens to push her anger past its tipping point. Enter Jonah, a whip-smart deckhand who’s as gorgeous as he is flirtatious. Cassie tries to keep him at a distance, but the more time they spend together–wandering San Francisco, riding beachside roller coasters, and exploring the California coastline–the harder it is to fight the attraction.
Cassie wants to let herself go, but her parents’ split has left her feeling adrift in a sea of questions she can’t even begin to answer. Can she forgive her mom? Will home ever feel the same? Should she take a chance on Jonah? With life’s unpredictable tides working against her, Cassie must decide whether to swim against them… or dive right in.
There is soooo much character development in this book! The main character, Cass, starts out as a selfish, temperamental teen who checks all the cliche boxes. She hates her mom, has great besties, yells, slams doors, the whole shebang.
I wasn’t a fan of her for a good 50% until she started opening up, and we started to dig in deep, see who she really was. The character development was superb.
While the sexual tension in this was really well done, once the relationship began, it got a little too sexy? I don’t know— that may just be me.
But a lot of the humor relied on crude jokes, and the romance didn’t feel as real as I’d like. Almost as if they talked less, kissed more? It just fell a little flat for me, but mostly because I think that the basis of all good romance should be wonderful friendship.
However, I did spend a few years hating my mom for something I thought she did to me, and I found a level of relatability to the story. I was able to relate to how Cass felt, buuuut I did find the ending a little too perfect? Real life is messy, so I didn’t expect, after seeing the depth of the story so far, to get an ending that tied everything up in a bow perfectly.
I will mention that this book took me about a week or two to read completely, which is super slow for me, but I think that was just because I didn’t have a ton of reading time, so the book got really dragged out for me and that toned down how much I enjoyed it,
I really did love the view I got into how it feels to be a child of divorce. I feel like it’s a thing that’s displayed a lot in literature or media, but this is the first book I’ve read that I feel like I knew how they feel, if just a fraction. That definitely speaks to Malone’s prowess as a writer.
Oh and also, the bits about San Francisco? LOVED THEM.
Over all, while I did find the romance to be a little “ew” for me, this book was a lush expedition into the heart of a child of divorce as she grapples for closure and falls in love.