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?
*ARC received as a part of the blog tour. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*
Well, first things first! I just want to shout about how very excited I am that this book is finally out in the world! I love it so much!! It’s been that book that’s brought me so much joy, not just now, but for so long. Seeing it go from what it was when it started to this finished product that everyone is now going to be reading has been a journey and I can tell you, without a shred of doubt, that this finished copy is the best version of the story that could have existed. And I am so very proud of Lillie for writing this beautiful story!
Small Town Hearts is the journey of one kickass protag, Babe, as she navigates through life after her high school graduation. Things are definitely changing for her and this story shows how she adapts to them, how she takes life as it comes and makes the best of what she has. It is a beautiful coming of age story and I love the simplicity of it all. In many ways, this book is like coming home, like finally doing that one thing your heart desires most and I love that about it.
The writing in this story is absolutely phenomenal. It sucked me right in and I couldn’t stop reading till I had read everything. Vale has a way with words that just keeps you spellbound. It keeps you wanting more, keeps you wanting to read. This is definitely one of the most readable books out there. I mean, you literally cannot stop reading this at any point because it is just so freaking awesome. It’s lyrical and soft and breezy and love. I have no other way of explaining how reading Vale’s words makes me feel. Absolutely amazing. ❤
Coming to the characters, I loved them all. Babe, Penny, Chad, and of course, Levi. Babe’s struggles were handled amazingly. Of course, there was the occasional, JUST TALK IT OUT ALREADY! feeling that I got, but then again, communication is key, but not always easy. So, I can forgive her for that. I mean, she is a teenager after all. I love how she grows throughout the book and becomes the person she can be. I also love how she’s so happy and content in her life, and that she doesn’t find it lacking. She is not going to college, and that’s perfectly okay! I loved how that was highlighted in the story, because college is not for everyone and not going doesn’t ruin your life. What matters is that you’re happy. And Babe was. So, snaps for Babe for not giving into societal norms and pressures!
I also love that she’s bi and that’s just it. It’s just a part of who she is, just like she’s a baker and we don’t see this big production made out of the entire thing, because really, what is the need for it? She’s bi and that’s all there is to it. It was so awesome to read that! 😀
And then there’s my sailor boy, Levi! Words are not enough to express how much I adore him! He’s just this absolutely amazing and thoughtful person and I love him so much! He’s the definition of a soft boy. Sweet and honest and open and there’s just something about him that always makes me smile so wide. He’s supportive and so very easy to talk to. I love that he had no qualms about being honest everytime and he let Babe in and let him see her and that’s just amazing.
I love the growth of their relationship throughout the story. It’s so well fleshed out and organic and wholesome and just a delight to read. There is an abundance of little moments between them, no matter how mundane, and I love that we were treated to those throughout the book, because they were all so important to their relationship. As they say, little things matter most. That was definitely shown when reading about Babe & Levi and I love it. ❤
Then, there’s Penny. I don’t like her as a person, but her character is very well fleshed out and I like that very much. There were times that she annoyed me so freaking much that I just wanted to hit her! She was really selfish and manipulative and didn’t really treat Babe well even though Babe was always there for her and I don’t like that. But, I can see that she was hurting as well, which caused the lash out. So, yeah. Her character was very well written, even if I don’t like her.
All in all, Small Town Hearts is one big ode to friendship and finding yourself and I really love the book with all my heart. Everything about this book is summer – y and calming and beach – y and you’ll fall in love with it the moment you pick it up, I can assure you. So, go forth and read it, because as we like to say, Oar’s Rest really is a place to rest your oars.
Win a Signed Copy of Small Town Hearts!! (USA Only)
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.
Have you read Small Town Hearts? If you haven’t, are you planning on reading it soon? If you have, did you like it? Who is your favourite character? What’s your favourite scene? I wanna know all the things! Come, drop me a line! ❤