Amazon || Goodreads
ARC via NetGalley + Publisher
Published August 30, 2016
Gabriela O’Brien is devoted to the girls at Briarwood Academy—even when their bad behavior earns them an entire summer at a remote campground in Echo Lake, Vermont. When the headmaster assigns Gabi to be their chaperone, how can she refuse? A long, hot summer with neither indoor plumbing nor wireless access might be just what she needs to get her own life in order…right?
Before Briarwood took over Camp Echo, Luke Magellan spent years there helping troubled boys. When four spoiled rich girls and their seemingly uptight den mother show up for the summer, it’s hard to hide his amusement as he watches them tackle the great outdoors. But it’s even tougher to resist the passion he sees in Gabi—especially when he learns about her past, and sees how much she cares about her students. Is this destined to be just a grownup version of a summer-camp romance—or can they find enough in common to build a love for all seasons?
When a group of group of four prep-school girls have finally crossed the line, they’re a hair away from expulsion. Instead, they’re subjected to a seemingly worse fate. The board of directors at the school decide that the girls will be camping (no cabins!) for four weeks as a consequence for their actions. The rest of the book follows the girls tentative team building, unveiling secrets, and Gabi, the girl’s housemother, who’s actually the main character of the book, dealing with a no-lesson plans summer camp, a vacation that is no more, and one hot as hell camp handyman who has a whole lot more to him than meets the eye.
First off, I had astronomical hopes for this book. And in general, the book, the characters, the love, the life (whoops, hello Pinterest quotes) fell a bit flat for me. I think the plot itself is incredibly adorable, and I even liked the characters. And by characters I mean especially Luke. Luke who vaguely reminded me of the Luke from The Bachelorette. All country bad boys who is good with his hands. He compliments our main girl rather well, I think.
Here is where my complaints begin—the relationship felt very strange. I don’t even really know how to put it. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t instantaneous. It just felt real awkward to me. I didn’t know what to make of it. I didn’t find it to be believable. That doesn’t mean that the growth wasn’t a super amusing and occasionally awkward event. It was cute, but cringe-worthy. Odd but also endearing.
It was also super fast, with no real reason for whatever was happening at that moment in time, whether that be poison ivy, hurt feelings, people generally being rude or whatever. To be completely honest with you, I liked the minor characters more than I did the main characters. \
So back to the astronomical hopes. They fell flat. The book had so much potential (sound like a renovation show much?) and it just wasn’t what I was in the mood for. I wanted a bit more of a build. Instead, I got some rocky jumps from emotion to emotion with no real connection. While I enjoyed reading the book, it had it’s flaws.