May 11, 2015

Swept Away Tour: Review + Giveaway

Swept Away (Sixteenth Summer)
Author: Michelle Dalton
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 5, 2015



Beachfront love blossoms in this refreshing summer romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

Mandy Sullivan isn’t exactly looking forward to the summer months as tourists invade her seaside hometown on the coast of Maine. Her best friend, Cynthia, has abandoned her for camp and her older brother just announced he’ll be staying at college taking classes for the summer, leaving Mandy with nothing to do and no one to hang out with. Hoping to keep herself busy, Mandy takes a volunteer job at the Rocky Pointe Lighthouse. On her very first day, Oliver Farmingham asks for a private tour. A new—and incredibly cute—face in Rocky Pointe, Oliver seems more interested in Mandy than the lighthouse and its history.

Without her best friend at her side, Mandy is scrambling to act the right way and say the right things when Oliver is around. Cynthia—not Mandy—has always been the confident, flirtatious girl that everyone wanted to be around. As Mandy and Oliver spend more time together exploring the coast, biking through the woods, and attending the local summer festivals, their budding friendship becomes much more. But with Mandy’s insecurities creeping to the surface, can she open her heart to someone who will only be in town for three months?
Swept Away is a perfect summer read for fans of YA contemporary romance. The story follows our main character - Mandy Sullivan - as she faces a long and boring summer alone with her best friend away at camp and her brother staying at college. To help the time go by faster, Mandy takes a job at the local lighthouse. Imagine her surprise when a cute guy requests a private tour on her first day. Mandy and Oliver instantly click, and then proceed to spend more and more time together doing things they both enjoy - like biking through the woods and going to the local festivals. Mandy's doing her best to channel Cynthia's (her best friend) confidence and flirtatious personality, but as the summer progresses and Mandy's feelings for Oliver continue to grow - she'll find herself battling insecurities and trying to keep her heart and mind open to a possible relationship with someone who's only going to be in town for the summer.

Although the story is pretty predictable and you basically know what's going to happen before you even open the cover - this book turned out to be a quick and sweet summer romance that had me smiling until the end. Mandy is a great main character for the story. She's kind, smart, down to earth, and a devoted daughter and friend. She has flaws like everyone else though - she's incredibly insecure (especially when it comes to guys) and lacks confidence. She starts out expecting another boring summer filled with the same routine and the same people she's known for the majority of her life. When her best friends, Sam and Cynthia, start dating, Mandy just doesn't get how they feel. She's never felt that way about anyone and now she's starting to feel like the third wheel. Then Cynthia takes off for camp and her older brother decides he's not coming home from college, Mandy's summer keeps looking dimmer and dimmer. That's when everything in the book turns around. Mandy meets Oliver - and something between them just clicks. She doesn't really know how to act around him, so she relies on how her best friend usually is around guys to help her navigate these new feelings. Mandy can feel herself falling for Oliver - but she's afraid that her heart will get broken when he leaves at the end of summer. We definitely see a lot of character growth throughout the book with Mandy's character. She starts out as a clueless girl who has never been in love, and during the story we see her grow and change in ways she never imagined. I loved watching Mandy and Oliver as they became friends and then so much more. It was sweet and honest, which made it feel incredibly realistic.

The story is told from Mandy's point of view, which is perfect for the novel. We get to experience everything that happens through her eyes while getting an inside look at who she really is. We learn her hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, and her inner thoughts and dialogue as the story goes on. By the end of the book, I felt like I really knew Mandy - which (again) made the story feel all the more authentic. Since the novel is told from the first person point of view, the pace felt effortless and the flow was completely natural. It wasn't too fast or too slow - it maintained the perfect speed for readers to know what's going on, to feel what the characters felt, and to identify and empathize with Mandy. Reading this book was like reading a journal entry from when I was a teenager in a situation like hers, which brought back a lot of different memories during the story. It also felt like Mandy was telling me personally what was going on - it was very conversational in tone, which was also a factor in immersing me into the story. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the plot is not unique or original, but rather predictable. The author sets it apart from the other books in the genre by having a realistic main character/narrator who pulls you inside of the story right away. I think of it kind of like watching a romantic comedy - it's obvious what the ending will be, but the reason you watch it anyways is because you want to see the events and story line that lead up to that ending. This book, along with many others in the genre, are the same as those movies - at least for me. Overall, it was a sweet YA romance that will make the perfect summer read. Definitely recommended for fans of the genre along with those who enjoy chick lit and contemporary fiction as well.

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Follow the Swept Away by Michelle Dalton Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Michelle Dalton is one of the many names Carla Jablonski uses when writing. Her two YAs written as Carla Jablonski (published by Razorbill/Penguin), Thicker than Water and Silent Echoes, were included on the NYPL Books for the Teen Age list, and her graphic novel trilogy Resistance (illustrated by Leland Purvis, published by :01 Books) has won several awards, including the Sydney Taylor Silver Medal. In addition to writing novels she is an actor, playwright, and former trapeze artist. A native New Yorker, she is eternally grateful to her friends who invite her to their beach houses.
Prize: Win (1) finished copy of SWEPT AWAY by Michelle Dalton (US Only)

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