In this heartfelt summer read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han, Mia's drama-filled family beach vacation turns into a chance at first love when the boy next door comes into the picture...
Mia just wanted a summer away to forget it all.
After Mia is unexpectedly dumped by Jake, a summer having relaxing fun with her family in the Hamptons sounds like the perfect beach escape. But her cousin Corinne's new elitist attitude is definitely not what Mia was expecting, and neither is all the family drama. Mia starts to feel more like an outsider than ever before.
Enter Simon, the boy staying next door. He's adventurous, quirky, smart, and seems to want to get to know Mia. And he's definitely not part of Corinne's "cool" crowd. Simon starts to rub off on Mia, and she finally begins to open up-including sneaking out, taking late-night walks on the beach, and maybe even falling in love. The summer might just turn out better than she had originally planned.
But coming out of her shell could mean losing everything Mia has gained.
AMANDA HOWELLS grew up on a small bay on the Atlantic Ocean and spent summer weekends in the Hamptons while a college student in New York City, where she studied creative writing. She has published many stories for teen and adult readers and now lives in the pacific Northwest.
Read an Excerpt
From Chapter 1:
"This is terrible," Mom moaned, fussing with her hair as we inched down the Long Island Expressway, a line of cars as far as the eye could see. "When will we start moving?" she asked Dad. "Or will we have to spend the summer in the car?"
"Do I look psychic?" Dad replied in a rare moment of irritability. "This is your home turf, not mine, Maxine."
We were all irritable. The heavy New York heat rolled over us like a carpet, so humid it constricted lungs and seemed to lick armpits. We'd been driving for days, and ever since the car's AC gave out somewhere near Pennsylvania, everyone had been losing it.
Dad had said that driving to New York would be an "adventure" and that we'd "need an extra car" at my cousins' house. But we all knew it was more about keeping costs down. Four airline tickets were nothing to sniff at for Dad, especially since his hardware business was struggling and his retirement savings had tanked in three months-along with everyone else's since the economy took a nosedive.
"This sucks," my sister, Eva, whined. She blew a giant Hubba Bubba bubble that exploded, leaving bits of stickiness across the back of my mother's headrest. "Eva Marie, stop that!" Mom said. "And watch your mouth, sweetheart. It's not pretty to speak that way, and you need to behave well in front of your cousins, please."
This was about the angriest my mother ever got with Eva, the family brat and apple of Mom's eye. Eva was nine, and she had the biggest, bluest eyes imaginable-so big and so blue they could take her "all the way to Hollywood," or so my mother never stopped telling her. Eva had been named after Eva Marie Saint, the actress from that old movie On the Waterfront.
I'm also named for an actress: I'm named after Mia Farrow, but unlike Eva, I look nothing like my whisper-thin, blond namesake. Luckily for Mom, she got what she had always wanted with her second kid: a beautiful replica of herself, who could live out the fantasy Mom had always dreamed of but never followed: to be a star. The last thing I would ever want to be.
"Mia, do you want me to put the radio on?" Dad asked. I caught Dad's eye in the rearview mirror and smiled because Dad was always tuned in to me. So on the favoritism front, you could say things even out.
"Not that station," I said quickly as the radio static turned to something recognizable. "I hate that song." "Forever" was actually one of my favorites. Until six weeks ago, when my boyfriend, Jake, had dumped me.
"I didn't plan this," Jake said.
We were standing outside school. I was trying not to look at Jake because I knew if I looked at him, I would cry. I stared at his shoes instead.
"It's just getting to be too serious too fast between us. I need space."
"So that's why you're hooking up with Gabi? To get space?" I spat back. "How does that work?" I lifted my gaze and stared him down, picturing Gabi Santiago draping her leggy body all over my boyfriend. "Correction," I snapped. "There is a lot of space when it comes to Gabi. Between her ears."
"You're going away for the summer. Gabi is here." Jake looked embarrassed.
"It's just timing." He shifted awkwardly, rolling a skateboard back and forth under his foot like he couldn't wait to roll on out of there and away from me. "Mia, I'm sorry. I don't know what else to say."
But I thought I loved you! Even thinking the word "love" made me feel sick. This boy whom I had fallen for the minute I'd laid eyes on him. My first boyfriend. We'd only been together two months, but it had felt like forever. The way love should feel.
"How long has this been going on?" I asked, my voice low and hard. "What exactly is the timing of this relationship?"
"It's not a relationship, Mia, I-" Jake began lamely, but I was done.
"-Save it," I choked. I wheeled around and walked away, my eyes filling with tears. I didn't want to know any more. Jake was a cheat. I could see it in his eyes. I could hear it in his voice. Not that it mattered anymore. Because the relationship I'd thought was real had never existed. Jake could spin it any way he liked, but I obviously hadn't meant anything to him. I was just holding him back. If only I had held back from him! If only I could take back the three words I had said to him just last weekend, the words that had come tumbling out of my mouth.
But once you say something like that, you give something you can never get back.
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