Seventeen year-old Sarah’s world is falling apart. Her mom is being sent away to prison for three years for embezzlement, and she is being forced to move from the only home she has ever known in Arizona to live with her aunt and step-cousin, Valerie, in La Jolla, California. As if the whole situation weren’t bad enough, she has to separate from the only best friend she has ever had, Sydney. Sarah makes a promise to Sydney that she will return to Arizona as soon as she turns eighteen so that she can finish out high school at home.
Life in La Jolla is not easy for Sarah. She misses home and Sydney and she feels like a major outsider at her new high school. Her cousin Valerie is the only familiar face that stands out for her. Then, she meets Angel Moreno and she is knocked for a major loop. Angel is one of La Jolla High’s all-star athletes and has a bevy of girls dogging his every footstep. Sarah finds it hard to believe that someone like him would be interested in her, but very interested he is. Before long, Angel and Sarah are involved in a serious, committed romance. She is finally starting to feel comfortable here in La Jolla, and has Angel, along with his friends and family to thank for that. Still, in the back of her mind, she knows that she must keep her promise to return to Arizona to finish off her senior year there and reunite with her best friend Sydney.
Sarah knows she has fallen in love, but doesn’t want to let Angel know just how deeply her feelings run since she will not be in La Jolla very long. She has to get back to Sydney and her home in Arizona. Angel knows of Sarah’s ultimate plan, to return to Arizona and her best friend, but he is not aware of the fact that Sydney is a guy. Sarah has been putting off telling him that little tidbit, due to his slight tendency for possessiveness and jealousy. Can their relationship weather the truth when Sarah finally gets up the nerve to tell him all about Sydney? Sarah is keeping her fingers crossed that he will understand.
I can’t even begin to express how much I loved this book. I read the whole thing in less than one day. In fact, it was nearly five o’clock in the morning when I finished, it was that good. The book is well-written and grabs the reader’s interest from the beginning, by describing the bad news of Sarah’s mother’s fate and the reason for Sarah’s relocation and also letting you witness first-hand, the closeness between Sarah and her best friend, Sydney.
The author introduces many new characters when Angel Moreno makes the scene and begins to romance Sarah. You meet his closest friends and his brothers and sister. It is good that the reader is given insight to these characters now, as this book is the first in a new series, in which familiar characters will be popping up time and again. The introduction of these characters is also important because they help you understand the type of person that Angel really is. During parts of the story, you wonder if Angel is really being sincere, or if he is just after a quick score with Sarah. Getting to know his friends and family, you begin to understand that for Angel to embark on a relationship of this nature and magnitude, it is a very big deal.
The chemistry between Angel and Sarah is wonderful. They cannot seem to keep their hands off of one another and inevitably, their relationship takes a sexual turn. They have some really tender moments and the love scenes between the two are handled with sensuality and class.
Angel is a doll. He serves the roll of protector, friend, confidant and lover to Sarah and holds honesty as a very important element of their relationship. This is why Sarah dreads the moment when she must tell him that Sydney is a boy, because she has allowed him to believe that Sydney was a girl without ever correcting the misconception. This leads to the only flaw that really stood out as far as the character of Angel goes. He is possessive to a fault. He doesn’t like Sarah having friends that are male unless he is privy to what is going on and how frequently she speaks to these male friends. Too much control over another person, in my book.
I have read this book twice now, and wouldn’t hesitate to read it a third time. I would recommend this story to anyone loving young adult romances that delve a little deeper than the usual hug and peck on the cheek stage. I am very happy that there is a second book in this series to look forward to, and if it is half as good as this first one, we are all in for a treat.
Debut Title - (Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble)
With her best friend left behind, no prospects, no future, and her mother in jail, things couldn't get worse for Sarah. At least she will soon be eighteen and free to go back home. Freedom however doesn't come cheap, and when Angel, enigmatic and gorgeous, enters her life, suddenly staying doesn't seem like such a bad idea.
Unprepared for Angel's advances and passion, seduced by his charm and intense nature, Sarah goes down a forbidden path, keeping from him a secret. Before she knows it, her secret has caught in a web of lies she can't undo.
Some adult language and mild sexual content. Some minor violence in a fight scene where someone gets a bloody nose.
Review Quote: From Kiki of Night Owl Teen - I have read this book twice now, and wouldn’t hesitate to read it a third time. I would recommend this story to anyone loving young adult romances that delve a little deeper than the usual hug and peck on the cheek stage. I am very happy that there is a second book in this series to look forward to, and if it is half as good as this first one, we are all in for a treat. 5 Stars - Top Pick