This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: New Adult Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on January 1, 2013
What are your thoughts on the ’80s? If you were a teen, like me, then this story will be full of nostalgia and fun. If you’re older, you can shake your head with thoughts that you lived through the best years and if you’re younger well just try to keep the envy in check. Haha!
But for reals, this was a fun, poignant return to the 80s as it follows the life a 17 year old small town Jersey girl and her friends through their last year of high school. There is no doubt that a teen girl is telling this story, but she is a mildly snarky, down to earth, warm-hearted, fun-loving hot-blooded girl of her times. It feels more like a walk down memory lane to me than a typical Young Adult story. The author brought those days to life in this Coming of Age story that can stand alone, but is the first part in a trilogy.
The story opens with an adult, Layla, reflecting back on her Senior year of high school when the now famous actor, Trip Wiley was just the new kid in school and the cute guy all the girls were panting after. Layla has lived in her house and her town all her life as have most of the kids so a new kid is exciting stuff. In her wry way, Layla sees things pretty clearly, knows how to navigate the intricacies of high school social life, and accepts matters without a lot of drama and fuss making her accepted and liked generally. She has her best friends and their group, her studies, her home with her dad and brother after her mom ran off on them, her pitiful requisite teen job, and her do-able dreams for the future. But into her well-planned comfortable life comes Trip. Layla is attracted to Trip, but doesn’t know what to make of him. He seems to like her and likes to hang out with her, but he never does anything about it and he dates other girls. Layla won’t be the girl panting after the guy who isn’t into her so she makes the most of the situation even with all her friends speculating. Meanwhile, kids are hooking up, partying, breaking up, figuring out their futures, and making it through school. Layla sees it all and knows that this is the last year they will all be together so she wants it never to end.
The story is told in first person by the heroine and the voice makes the reader feel like one is right there hanging out with Layla and her friends. Layla is a wonderful narrator with her sense of humor, keen observation skills, social maturity and self-awareness. She has her good moments and her fall on her face bad ones, but she owns it. The interactions between all the kids, their personalities, activities, dialogue and romances were so well-written. Honestly, I was so deep in the story and it kept generating memories from my own late teen years. It’s a bit of nostalgia that uplifts and isn’t a drag. I found myself smiling and laughing, sighing over painful moments, and ultimately so happy that the series continues on.
[quote]”How the hell can you be so calm about this?” he asked.
I shrugged and answered, “I’m not, really. I don’t want anyone to laugh at us for our terrible acting, but other than that, I know we’ll get a good grade. Mason’ll see how hard we-“
“Who cares about the grade, Layla? What if everyone thinks it sucks? What if we put ourselves out there and it turns out to be absolute shit? What if-“
“Trip! Chill. It’s not going to suck. You made sure of that. I would have been happy enough just to turn in something passable. You’re the one that treated it like Citizen Kane for godsakes. It’s gonna be great, you’ll see.”
He took a deep breath, gave me a high five and said, “Okay, okay. You’re right. Where the hell is Freeland with the damned TV?”
Soon enough, Roger showed up with the Audio-visual cart and I popped the tape into the VCR…And that’s how only a handful of people know that Trip’s first film was actual an amateur adaption of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, opening to mixed reviews in the fall of 1990 during Mrs. Mason’s fifth period English Lit class at St. Nicetius Parochial High School in Norman, New Jersey.
Loc. 1222 Layla and Trip from Remember When[/quote]
The story involves language, partying, and some sexual situations so I’d say its best for an older teen audience. As to the young at heart crowd, I think this will have some appeal if you’re the type to watch 80’s teen movies. It will not feel like a typical YA Contemporary story b/c its actually the first part in a trilogy that will lead to college age and adulthood so its probably more for adults than anyone. All in all, its fun, heartwarming, and a glimpse back to a different decade.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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