Title & Author: Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale
Publication Date: March 19, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Format & Source: ARC Paperback via Publisher
Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy.
Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.
And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?
About the Author
Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.
Other Books By the Author
PSA: Drop everything, this is my new favorite summer themed novel! If you have been a follower of mine in the past you know I am a sucker for 2 kinds of books. First, a really good YA thriller. Second, any YA summer themed novel. Oh my goodness, Small Town Hearts checked everything off my list for a book I love. And can we just give credit to Lillie Vale. This is her first novel and it was absolutely incredible.
Babe is a barista in a small town in Maine where the locals all know each other like most small towns. She has a rule to never fall for a summer boy. They never stay past summer so she doesn’t see a reason to allow herself to get wrapped up in one. However, Levi may question every reason she’s ever had to create this rule. Small Town Hearts is packed with so much emotions, but in such a good way. Friendships are tested, old relationships are brought back up, and new relationships and friendships bloom. A huge win is also the representation of a bisexual lead character as well as other characters that are dealing with their sexuality. I loved the summer love storyline and was biting my fingers towards the end, so nervous how the story was going to end.
The main character Babe, I absolutely adored. She had moments of weakness and almost self destruction in the beginning but as the book went on she became a strong character and stood up for herself, what she wants and how she feels and honestly that is something I love to see in a lead female character. She has big goals in life, she is incredibly independent and also makes it clear she is okay being single. Plus I can’t leave out that she is an amazing baker who will have your mouth watering when she talks about her bakes. Levi was the perfect boy who was perfect for Babe. I really think his character helped hers evolve even more. It was also refreshing to have a male character who didn’t care about showing his emotions and was also proud to show them. It was heartwarming to see their connection grow throughout the story and where it all ended for them. The other more minor characters were easily likable or dislikable. They all had their parts in Babe’s life and the story being told and although minor characters really added a lot to it. A large focus on the storyline was letting go of the past and making a new future for yourself. At times it was frustrating some of the situations Babe was going through or even putting herself through but this is a great storyline for so many teens and young adults as it is something we all go through to some extent in life.
As for the location, UGH. I wish Oar’s Rest was a real town. It had so much appeal to it as a small coastal town without the busyness you imagine at so many beach towns in the summer. It had so much history to it too and so many town events which everyone comes together to support. Lillie Vale paints the perfect picture of the town and you’ll be wishing you could visit Oar’s Rest yourself.
If you love to pack a good, light read in your summer bag, Small Town Hearts is perfect for that (if you can wait that long lol). It will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside and while the book was adorable, it also focused on some important social issues so many teens/young adults face today. You will fly through this book in no time and left wanting more. Or if you’re like me, you’ll be left wanting more and wanting some summer weather already (for real I am over temperatures not getting out of the 40s). I’d LOVE to see a sequel to Small Town Hearts and see where the characters are the following summer and where all their friendships/relationships stand.