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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Charlie Reynolds has no idea how to do girly things. Her mom died in a car wreck when she was little and she grew up in a house with a father and three brothers. So when she is forced to get a job to pay off a spending ticket and winds up working in a very girly clothing boutique, she is so out of her element it isn't even funny. The stress of this (and other things) forces her outside at night where she starts chatting with her neighbor (and he brother's bestie), Braden. She soon becomes dependent on this chats and when she starts to fall for him, she knows it'll be a big problem because if he doesn't like her like that than she risks loosing his friendship which she couldn't bear to be without. With stakes this high, will she risk it? Or will she keep quiet?
Charlie was a character I loved instantly. She's young and sure of herself and completely clueless on girly matters. I was in a similar boat in high school (and I still haven't mastered the art of makeup) so I could empathize with her plight as she was forced into a job at a clothing store that wasn't her style. From loose jeans and T-shirts to fitted tops and skinny jeans, her wardrobe was the first on many things to change. She soon feels like she has two different lives, her work persona life and her home persona life and it's terrifying when the two start to collide. The thought of her brothers seeing her in her "work" clothes is terrifying because she knows they'll make fun of her. I don't think they would have rattled her chain that badly about it, but it would have been enough to sting.
Braden was hard not to fall for. He's sweet and kind in the best boy next door kind of way but hot as hell. He's muscle-y but it's due to a love of all things sports. I love when guys in novels have a legitimate reason for being buff. I get that a hot guy is part of the fantasy, but it's nice to see a reason for it, not follow him while he eats junk food and channels surfs but he still rocks a six-pack. This guy obviously has a thing for her, but ignores his own feelings because he knows her brothers will kick his ass if he makes a move. Plus, he gets the best of both worlds by being buddies with her brothers. He gets to hang out with her and goof off with her. But when she starts dating someone else, he kinda loses his shit. It's adorable. These two are adorable.
Something I really loved, besides the adorable-ness that is Charlie and Braden, was her relationship with her brothers and father. Growing up without a mom, you'd think she'd be resentful of missing out on girly things, but her brothers just make sure she's always included in their shenanigans and she doesn't feel like she's missing out on anything. They are so close, playing sports and watching TV and doing crazy dares. It makes me wish I had a few brothers hiding in the woodwork. I just loved their family unit as a whole. Dad being so determined to do right by his only daughter even if it means fumbling about in things he has no knowledge of.
This is my first Kasie West novel, though I own a copy of all of her other works. If they are all this good, then I must push them higher on my TBR pile. This novel was damn near perfect. It has a sweet (clean) romance, a good amount of humor, a lot of heart, and enough drama that you aren't bored. The plot was a little predictable, but I wanted a sweet love story with a happy ending and that's exactly what I got, so there's no point in complaining, is there? I really loved every minute of this. I found it impossible to put down, choosing to read it over whatever physical book I was supposed to be reading at the time. I think anyone who enjoys contemporary YA will loved it. :)
****Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****