Sunday, 24 January 2016

Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

Series: DIMILY
Author: Estelle Maskame
Page Count: 393
Published: December 1st, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
5 Stars ★★★★★

I received this book in a Goodreads first reads giveaway. 

Eden lives with her single mother and hasn't seen her father for years. When she's invited to spend the summer with him in California, she's not sure what to expect. Her two young stepbrothers, Chase and Jamie, seem nice enough and her stepmother appears decent, but her older stepbrother, Tyler, has a serious attitude problem. 

She makes friends with the girl across the street, who introduces her to her own group of friends, which happen to include Tyler's girlfriend, Tiffani. Unable to avoid Tyler, she discovers concerning truths about what he does in his spare time, and why he remains in a relationship with a girl he doesn't love.

As Eden and Tyler begin to warm up to each other, they find themselves caught up in their own forbidden romance. Fighting their attraction for each other and desperate to keep their affections secret, Eden knows that more than just their reputation is at stake.

When I started reading this book, I worried that it might just be another cliche YA contemporary romance. The whole summer romance concept, the bad boy, and the friend next door are often overused, in my opinion. But this book worked with these ideas in a way that wasn't at all cliche, and which was thoroughly enjoyable. 

Eden, the main character, was really likable. She had a distinct personality which really came through her narration. I did question her choices at times, for example her decision to keep hanging out with the annoying Tiffani. I couldn't stand Tiffani! But I also rooted for Eden throughout the whole novel, and I definitely hoped that she and Tyler would get together.

As for Tyler, I found him a complex and dynamic character. He wasn't the stereotypical YA bad boy. He truly had problems, found himself stuck in tough situations, and dealt with his past in the only way he knew how. His personal backstory was really sad and very raw, which is something I haven't read in many YA contemporary novels. His struggles really resonated with me and I can say that he was my favourite character. 

The romantic elements in this book impressed me because they managed to be exciting yet realistic at the same time. Eden and Tyler's passionate moments didn't occur without consequence, which made the whole book suspenseful in a way I've never really read before. 

This book is on my favourites list for sure, and I can't wait for book two! 

I definitely recommend this book! Readers interested in YA contemporary romance should give this one a try. If you love forbidden romances you might like this author's take on the theme. Even if you don't usually read contemporary romances I suggest that you try this book out; it was unique to other stories of its genre and really surprised me.