From Goodreads: To Forrest Shephard, getting away to the family’s beach house with her parents and her brother, Brian, is the best part of every summer. Until this year, when her mother invites Brian’s obnoxious girlfriend, Olivia, to join them. Suddenly, Forrest’s relaxing vacation becomes a mission to verify the reality of Olivia’s rumored eating disorder. But the truth behind Olivia’s finicky eating isn’t at all what Forrest expected. And over the next thirty days, Forrest’s world is turned upside down as her family’s darkest secrets begin to come to light.
This novel turned out to be completely different than what I expected, and I really applaud the author for it, especially as it hits on so many important issues, rape and attempted rape included, and the message for women is an amazing one. While reading, it’s so easy to point at Forrest and to shake your head, yelling at her to get some common sense, but in the end, it’s NOT her fault. Women tend to blame themselves when a man becomes aggressive, or when he takes advantage of her; outsiders tend to blame the woman too, even I was upset with Forrest leading up to the pivotal scene between her and Scott because all the signs concerning an aggressive, unhealthy relationship were there, but Forrest is NOT at fault. And this is an important theme that needs to be put in the hands of young girls more often. Scott is a terrible human being, and the fact that Forrest has never had an admirer before explains her gullibility and the fact that she writes off his pushy behavior, to the point that it’s almost too late. Yes, it did drive me crazy, because I’m an outsider looking in, but when in the heat of the moment, as Forrest finds herself, we tend to be blind to the reality that surrounds us, and this is exactly what happens to Forrest. Luckily for her, she has a supported family willing to stand by her side and help her through the rage and turmoil that Scott leaves in his wake, and I just love how Deriso handled the entire situation.
But the novel doesn’t actually center around this—the novel deals with so much more, such as teen pregnancy, family dysfunction, and secrets as well. The truth about Brian and Olivia’s relationship floored me, but made perfect sense, and the reaction of Forrest’s parents also made perfect sense once the truth about their relationship came to light. Overall, this is an extremely well done novel, though I did find the ending just a tad bit too convenient. Four stars.
I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. This title recently released.