About the Book

Title: Shining Sea
Published: 2016
Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Cover Story: Awash with Big Face
BFF Charm: Meh
Talky Talk: School of Stephenie Meyer
Anti-Bonus Factors: Love Triangle
Relationship Status: Not My Type

Cover Story: Awash with Big Face

Don’t be fooled, guys! They attempted to hide this Big Face behind a shimmery water filter, which I suppose is accurate since this book takes place in and around water. But at the end of the day, a Big Face is still a Big Face.

The Deal:

After a tragic boating accident, Arion Rush’s older sister Lilah suffers mental trauma that requires medical treatment in California. While Arion’s mother stays behind with Lilah, Arion and her father move to a coastal town in Maine to prepare a new life for the family. Before long, Arion realizes that the town, and especially the Summers family next door, seems to have a few dark secrets. A string of murders, Lilah’s accident, and Arion’s own recent brush with death suddenly seem linked…to the family next door.

BFF Charm: Meh

BFF charm with a :-| face

Arion is confident and smart. She loves to write music and play guitar and has even done a few open mic nights. When she moves to a new school, she jumps right in and makes friends immediately. All of these things are totally qualities I’d appreciate in a BFF. Unfortch, Arion loses a few points with me for how quickly she got caught up in boy drams (more on that below) that made her seem to totally forget about her sister…and at times, everything else.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

When Arion moves to Maine, she quickly catches the eyes of two hotties: Logan, the school flirt who is constantly described as having a “fiery” temper, and Bo Summers, the mysterious surfer dude next door who may or may not be 100% human but is definitely 100% Brooding YA Hero. I think this book was written with swoonage in mind, but it didn’t work for me. I was getting some MAJOR Edward-and-Bella vibes. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll just say that the nature of their relationship given Bo’s secret is problematic at best. Not to mention the fact that Bo continually pulls the old I’m-All-Wrong-For-You-You-Should-Stay-Away-From-Me-Oops-We’re-Alone-We-Should-Probably-Make-Out-Because-I-Can’t-Resist-You move straight outta Edward Cullen’s playbook.

Also, can we just stop with guys sneaking into girls’ rooms to watch them sleep? If someone did that in real life, IT WOULD BE A FELONY.

Talky Talk: School of Stephenie Meyer

There’s a sort of dream-like quality to Cross’ writing that I liked. The flowing nature of it reminded me of all the water that this story takes place in and around. But plotwise, I couldn’t get past its likeness to Twilight. Let’s review: a girl moves to a new school and meets a super hot guy. At first, he seems to hate her, even though he can’t stay away from her. She finally realizes that he acts so strangely around her because he is a [REDACTED MYTHICAL CREATURE] and she is Different™ from everyone else. He introduces her to his family in his huge house. Meanwhile, another [REDACTED MYTHICAL CREATURE] unrelated to them is wreaking havoc around town, and they have to figure out what’s going on and put a stop to it so they don’t get their covers blown. Sound familiar?

Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle

Jacob, Bella, and Edward from Twilight

I am probably one of the five people on earth who doesn’t mind a love triangle. But this was the worst sort of love triangle in that neither dude was all that great. Both the boys are jealous, possessive, and territorial, which are characteristics I have little patience for. And to make matters worse, Arion was obviously obsessed with one boy and continually led the other on.

Relationship Status: Not My Type

Listen Book, I’ve dated other books like you and it never worked out between us. You really just aren’t my type. But I know there are people out there for you. People who LOVE your type. People who would read you and love you and put bumper stickers dedicated to you on the backs of their cars. I hope you find the one.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Skyscape. I did not receive money or Girl Scout cookies of any kind (not even the lame cranberry ones) for writing this review. Shining Sea is available now.

Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband and cocker spaniel. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. She is a brand designer who loves tiki drinks, her mid-century modern house, and obsessive Google mapping.