Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan ~ Review

Source:  Received eBook from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Description:

It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘Onslow Boys’. Every time they swaggered in the front door of 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 of working 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 coarse language.

My Thoughts:

2 1/2 stars - It's got so much potential  

I'm not a fan of writing these kinds of reviews.  Everyone has their own experience with a book and all I tell do is you is about mine.

This book felt like the tale of two girls.  On one hand, it felt like a coming of age story with a youngish seventeen year old finally figuring out who she is.  (High school humiliation, bikes with baskets, cassette tapes and 1990's lingo.)  On the other hand, it felt like a saucy adult taking some risks with an older guy.  (Working at a bar, showing up to see a guy at 2AM, and one-liners that had grown men spewing their drinks.)  I just had a hard time figuring out how these two could be the same girl. 

The beginning was slow for me.  It took till about 15% before I even thought I would finish reading it.  Tess is humiliated by her ex-boy friend on a pretty regular basis.  She doesn't stand up to him.  Her best friends do and I had a really hard time with that.  I hoped that she would at some point,  but no.  It was always a guy defending her.  Frankly, when her bestie, Adam, defended her I ran to look at the summary again.  I so wanted this story to be about Tess and Adam.  Alas, it was not.  

Toby doesn't show up until about 12% and then it really takes a while before he's even around much.  If you read my reviews a lot, you know that it's usually the guy that holds my heart.  I liked Toby.  I did!  I just wanted to smack him, often.  He hung onto this...this... *itchy girlfriend that I wanted to fling things at.  I could clearly see who he liked.  It took a really long time for this guy to figure things out, whether it was who he liked or who he could forgive.  It just didn't work for me.

I loved Adam.  Can this book, please, be about him? No? Bummer.  He was funny and supportive.  I loved it when he was around.  Too bad he leaves for a big part of the summer.

I did like that brave idea of a seventeen year old falling for a twenty-two year old.  That's exciting.  I loved the setting.  I was pausing over the Aussie slang and struggling to understand that Christmas happens over summer break, but that part was fun.  I totally loved the boat scene.  Girls being sneaky with bikinis and sunscreen.  I loved the challenge that Tess issued then.  Go girl!   Her confidence there made me happy.

I feel like this book had so much potential.  It just didn't do it for me.

Other peeps had a different experience.  Check out the 5 star reviews below.


  1. There were so many parts to this story I loved, but it fell short for me too. However, I'm hopeful that the next book will be a bit better. I loved Adam too. Sean got to me the most though. I'm also interested to know more about Chris. Great review Pal.

  2. I know you wanted to love this, and that you struggled. I'm sorry that you didn't love the story. Great review, Valerie!

  3. Awww this one sounded so good!! It's too bad that you didn't enjoy it much. When I was 17 I was dating a 22 year old so that kind of catches my interest since really that's not a very common thing. It's too bad that the character you really enjoyed wasn't a big part of the book and that it was slow getting into it. I might eventually get around to it, but I'm in no rush. Great review hon!!

  4. I am not a fan when a book can't marry two sides of a character. Sometimes it works really well, but alas, many times it falls flat. Kudos to you for pointing it out.

    I have seen this book floating around, but had yet to pick it up. I think I may not.

    Also, just a side note, I LOVE how you link to others posts who liked the book! Just because we don't love it, doesn't mean no one will. Good job!

  5. Well, I have heard a lot of good things about this and many of my lovely blogger friends LOVED it. Actually, all of them did. But everyone has their own taste, so no one blames you!
    GREAT review, Valerie
    Your reader,