August 8, 2013

How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Title: How My Summer Went Up in Flames
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: May 7, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a roadtrip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance! 
Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn't intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious. 
To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

I picked this up at the library this past week because I'd heard about it recently. I have to say, it did pretty much live up to my expectations. I say pretty much because there are a few issues I have with it, but we'll get to that.

The first thing I noticed when I began reading was the character's voice. Rosie is a funny, extremely outgoing girl--I could tell from the moment I read the first page, sort of in the same way you can tell from the moment you meet a new person whether or not you're going to be friends with them. Needless to say, I liked Rosie. She was a strong character with a good voice who realized her flaws and set out to fix them. I felt satisfied with the way she progressed as a character and grew by the end of the novel.

The premise of the book was, in my opinion, hilarious. Setting your ex-boyfriend's car on fire? A restraining order? But it totally worked. The plot was evenly paced and I was never bored, and Rosie's dealings with Joey were so funny. I found myself cracking up more than once.

Matty and his friends were excellent additions to the story. I liked what they brought to it, and how you could tell they grew to like Rosie as the road trip continued. Logan was a good character, too--he was fun and loving and the opposite of Joey, which was good for Rosie at the time.

Despite all of this, I felt that there were some holes in the plot that needed to be tied up. I didn't understand Avery and Logan's relationship. We never really find out exactly how they know each other, or anything about their friendship. I felt as if it were a missing puzzle piece that the author forgot to put in.

In the end, when Logan comes to help at Habitats for Humanity, I wanted to know how long he was going to be there. Where does Rosie go to college? I do like where the book ended, but those types of things could have been cleared up before we were cut off.

Overall I really enjoyed this debut novel (that didn't read like one), and I'd definitely recommend it!

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