Book Review: Shady Cove: New Girl in Town

Can a big city girl go country? 

Jenna’s life grinds to a halt after her brother’s suicide. With her college funds non-existent and her future plans put on hold, she’s forced to relocate to a sleepy town. Just when her entire world is crumbling, she meets Benji Preston, a local guy she doesn't expect to fall for. He's not even her type! A harmless flirtation quickly escalates into something more. The only catch? He’s the same guy her cousin has been harboring a crush on for ages. 

With tongues wagging and jealousy dogging her every step, Jenna has to decide what's more important; her heart or her family ties?

Shady Cove: New Girl in Town by Ava Catori
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

An eARC copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley. But this has in no way influenced my review.

After reading the blurb of Shady Cove: New Girl in Town, I had such high expectations for the book and I really thought it’d be one of my new favorite contemporary romance novels. Too bad it didn’t turn out to be as good as I hoped it to be.

After Jenna’s brother committed suicide, she finds herself adjusting to the new life in the small, nowhere town of Shady Cove. There she’ll have to share a room with a cousin she barely knew, share the same roof with her relatives who seem to judge her every movement, meet a guy, fall in love unexpectedly and find out that life isn’t all about the “big” things. Sometimes it takes a small, simple town and a guy to make you realize that everything – good or bad – eventually passes and that sometimes it’s nice to hold on to the one thing that makes you feel loved and all of it worth it.

One of the first things that kind of put me off about the book is Jenna. She came off a bit self-absorbed at the beginning and she can’t stop complaining about how she’s left to fend for herself and that everyone else abandoned her. Her brother just committed suicide and I didn’t feel the supposed grief she’s feeling. And see, that’s the second complaint I have about the book. I didn’t feel in any way connected to any of the characters. I didn’t feel any of the emotions they say are there. I find it very hard to relate to them. And I think that one of the things that a book should make you feel for it to be very good is to draw you in – to make you feel attached. It should somehow stir up emotions and make you feel for the characters and get you involved in the story. And I felt like this book lacked that. Maybe this has to something to do with how the book was written in third person. Sometimes very few books can pull this off because it’s really hard to relate with the characters when you aren’t privy to their personal thoughts and feelings. Also the transition between them was kind of confusing and irregular.
Lastly, the book felt rushed. There was so much going on that I felt like it was all crammed up and written in fast-forward. I liked the plot of the book but I think it could have been better. It lacked emotions and depth and vividness. It lacked the “voice” of telling a good story.

What I liked about the book however are the characters. Most especially Jenna’s aunt. She has character and she can be very unpredictable. She can be fun and surprisingly humorous. I love how she can be very adult and tell you that you’re doing a sucky job of being a teenager but at the same time she has this soft side that would tell you that everything is going to be fine.
Also, with books like this, I just can’t help but finish reading them. I just have to know how the ending would go and what choices the characters would make. And in this book’s case, it wasn’t at all surprising that Jenna made the choice she did. I’m so glad that at the end, she finally stood up to what she really wants and decided to do what she always wanted although not exactly in the way she planned.
I also liked that the characters realized their own faults at the end and had their own happy ending even if it is far from being perfect.
The book had its own twists but wasn’t written in a way that would make you feel shocked or the least bit caught off guard. It just felt like it just needed to be out there and was thrown without much thought.

Shady Cove: New Girl in Town could have been a really good book. It has the story and the characters but it needs personality, depth and heartfelt emotions. It started out slow and dull and it just went downhill from there. I just know this book could have given us more.

Keep the books coming -

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