If you enjoy YA romance and you can handle a little supernatural, Cruel Summer is a novella you should check out. Usually I don’t waste time on short reads, but the cover and concept were intriguing enough that I gave it a try. I wasn’t disappointed. This 200+ page read was well written, and it is one of the better love stories I have come across in a while. I think if you liked the banter in Beautiful Disaster or the relationship in Going Too Far, you will be pretty excited to meet Kian and Ana and their snarly but engaging introduction. And look at that cover!
Ana Lane and her bad-a attitude attract the attention of a disenchanted soul-feeding immortal when she helps him out of a bind. Kian doesn’t know why he cares so much about the safety of one human, but he just can’t seem to forget her. One cruel summer will change everything for two damaged creatures who have both almost forgotten what love is. I have to hand it to this author – she managed to write an edgy love story with some real heat without having to resort to the graphic sexual situations other writers feel compelled to employ. It was just the right amount of protective vibe and genuine attraction, and it didn’t get spoiled by getting dirty (thank you, thank you, thank you). Ana has a complicated home life and a hardened, protective shell firmly in place. Kian, too, has created a barrier to distance himself from feelings. Watching these two banter and flirt and find something they thought they’d never have was amazing. I wasn’t initially bothered by the paranormal element in this book — it made enough sense, so I didn’t mind it at all, but I did find it annoying when it came time for the big reveal — it felt Twilighty. However, that was a minor misstep in a great novella. The writing was solid, and the pacing was spot on. I was satisfied, if not happy, with the ending since it is clearly a prequel to Undertow (which I immediately bought and read). I was warned that Cruel Summer would be a spoiler for Undertow, but I didn’t find it spoiled much of anything. I would recommend this to people who enjoy ya paranormal romance and even to readers who enjoy contemporary ya romance if they can tolerate a little supernatural. Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.
Thanks to the awesome author, we now have copies of this book in our classroom library! K.R. Conway ROCKS!
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.