Narrator: Eva Kaminsky
Published by MacMillan Audio
Published on January 12th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, United States, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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A NEW LOVE, A SECRET SISTER, AND A SUMMER SHE'LL NEVER FORGET.
FROM THE BELOVED AUTHOR OF 'TWEET CUTE' COMES EMMA LORD'S 'YOU HAVE A MATCH', A HILARIOUS AND HEARTFELT NOVEL OF ROMANCE, SISTERHOOD, AND FRIENDSHIP. . .
When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie. . .although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.
But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.
When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents - especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.
The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby's growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.
But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.
The title and cover of this book are a bit misleading, and led me to think this was going to be some kind of romance-centric plot similar to You’ve Got Mail.
But I am SO glad I read the blurb, because it’s not just about a summer romance: it’s about a secret sister – a secret FULL-BLOODED, OLDER sister that Abby never knew she had. To make things worse, Abby’s newly-discovered sister, popular wellness Instagram star Savannah ‘Savvy’ is only a year older than her. So what on earth happened? Why do Savvy’s parents hate Abby’s? How did Abby have no idea she has an older sister?
To be honest, the mystery involving how Savvy was separated from her birth family was the main reason I kept reading/listening to this book. Abby, although being a well-rounded character and a bit of a brat, was not the kind of likeable that I found massively appealing. She made really bad choices, including pulling pranks and lying to her parents. I get it, I know that they literally lied to her first, and NOTHING makes up for keeping Abby separated from the sister she never knew she had, but Abby had a bad behaviour streak a mile wide. Not that she was, like written as a bad kid. She was written as a good kid, which is what made it a bit annoying to read about ehr poor choices and bad behaviour. She had no regards for rules and continued to make poor choices that, thankfully, led to punishments, but she didn’t seem to learn from her mistakes. I found her a frustrating character. Not just because golden girl Savvy, who I really liked for her personality, was presented as the rule-following Good Girl that Abby couldn’t live up to.
However, I’d love to point out that although Abby didn’t warm the cockles of my heart and Savvy did, I did find Abby totally realistic. I don’t have to like everyone I meet, and I’m afraid Abby would probably be one of those people. This is because I’m more like Savvy, and I’m not ashamed to say that.
I really liked Abby’s photography hobby. I liked the descriptions of what it was like to have photography as a hobby, because sometimes I feel that really visual hobbies don’t translate well to the page (see Shadow’s magic tricks in American Gods). But I liked that it not only gave her a thing to centre herself, but it also gave her a drive, and a source of conflict with her pushy parents. Abby wasn’t the brightest kid, and she desperately needed space to be creative, which her parents didn’t see, filling all her spare time with tutoring and extra classes that were suffocating her and causing her to do worse in her school work. I only wish that Abby the photographer and Savvy the girl who literally makes money from posting photos of herself collaborated a bit more, because they’d be unstoppable – except that Abby doesn’t really do portraits.
I recently read another summer camp book, which I enjoyed and made me want to read another one, and I think this one was super cute. I loved watching Savvy and Abby learn about each other and try to figure out this super weird mystery, without being interrupted by their parents. I loved how even though they had nothing in common besides their looks, and they’d never be friends in real life, they were absolutely determined to be part of each other’s lives. The worst thing for them was the threat of never seeing each other again, which I found really sweet and motivating and wholesome because they didn’t even particularly like each other, but that sister bond, man, I loved that.
There was also some romance with a best friend/boy next door type but I didn’t particularly care for it, I think the only thing it had going for it was that the boy was of Philippine descent.
I enjoyed this book, I think is was super wholesome with the focus less on the romance and more on the relationship between the two previously-unknown sisters, which I loved. The summer camp location gave the perfect opportunity for secret sister bonding without annoying parents.