Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying goodbye to painful memories and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll pretend to be a carefree exchange student. Everything is going to plan until she meets a surly surfer with hypnotic green eyes, and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.
Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he slunk back to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. A single semester abroad won't cover something this serious. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.
This was a twisting tale of loss, romance, and sexual discovery that also managed to powerfully detail the internal thought processes of someone with OCD and mental stresses.
Bran and Talia, damaged by loss, come together with their own baggage and help each other to unpack. The dialogue is quick-witted and often sarcastic, and I loved the way a sentence spoken was often followed with the sentence thought; how often have you done that? The characters are flawed, which adds to their likeability and you really want them to work out.
Talia’s ‘voice’ does seem — to me — to be older than her page-age of 21, however it just makes this novel, which is billed at ‘new adult’ in genre, suitable for a wider age range. This is a fabulous debut novel, and I was delighted to see it is the 1st in a trilogy.
Well worth a read.