Review: The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan

Posted July 2nd, 2013 in book review / 10 comments


Summer Series #1

by C.J. Duggan

Publisher: Self-Published (Dec. 2012)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult, New Adult
Format: eBook (321 pages)
Source: Free book from author for honest review
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)

It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘Onslow Boys’. Every time they swaggered in the front door of the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him … Toby Morrison.

Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins.

To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets.

How did she let her friends talk her into working?

After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos.

All with the one boy she has never been able to forget.

It will be a summer she will always remember.

Warning: sexual references, and occasional coarse language.

At A Glance
This book is so hard to rate. I loved this book but also got frustrated with it many times. It’s cute, summery, and drama filled, so definitely worth the read overall.

The Good
If you looked up the definition of Summer Read, you would see The Boys of Summer. And if not, then someone needs to call the dictionary peeps and get them sorted out. This is a light and adorable read that young adults will fall in love with. It has the high school drama aspect, then the summer fun part, then the older boys liking the younger girls whole thing.

One thing that surprised me was the writing. This was a fantastically written book. It was both beautiful and funny. The dialogue was even better. I was laughing out loud when Tess and Toby teased each other. I wish I could talk to a guy with that much confidence and ease.

The setting was the 1990s in an Australian town. I loved that the author changed it up with setting the story in a different time when many of us grew up. It brought back great memories.

Some of the characters fascinated me. I think Tess, Ellie, and Adam’s friendship was the best part of the story. They had the greatest friendship ever. I was actually jealous. Adam was a riot. His emails had me holding back the tears as I laughed. Ellie got on my nerves from time to time, but I understood her role in the story and respected it. These three couldn’t be more opposite though. Tess is quiet, timid, nervous, but with hidden strength. Ellie is confident, outgoing, knows her way around a man, but has impulse issues. Adam is the class clown, he jokes a lot and is very loyal. But he also has this deeper side we only get to see a little of.

I both loved Tess and found myself wanting to scream at her throughout the story. She really is a naturally nervous person with awkward social skills. But with occasional flares of confidence, she ends up shining bright. She holds her own when it comes to Toby for the most part. But when she doesn’t see the obvious signs that Toby likes her, I wanted to shake her out of her stupidity. But I also understood why she held back, especially with Toby having a girlfriend.

I wish we got deeper into Toby’s characters, but from what we get, you can tell he is a stand up guy. Even his friends, the Onslow Boys, are all very friendly and welcoming. There needs to be more men out there like the Onslow Boys. They treat women with respect and know how to have a good time. Toby is the master at sending out mixed signals, but it’s obvious he only does so because he has conflicting feelings. Toby’s character really shined when he was around Tess. They brought out the best in each other.  

The Bad
The plot was definitely not original.

I felt like I never really got to know Toby. We only got to scratch the surface with him and it left me wanting.

The numerous misunderstandings and on again off again attitudes throughout the book was too much for me. I think I might be a little too old for this book. It was all very high school.

It got slow in some parts and the ending was kind of unfulfilling. Like it had to be wrapped up in a nice, red bow so there wasn’t much lead up, or reasoning just an, “okay, everything is fine again.”

The Snuggly
Be ready for a long wait when it comes to the romance. It took forever for Tess and Toby to finally get together, and when they finally do, their relationship is awkward and confusing to say the least. So many mixed signals and false assumptions. Neither one would come out and say, “hey, let’s be together.” It was frustrating but also kind fun to watch it play out. But when they were on the same page: Fireworks!

I think the sex is young adult, maybe boarding on new adult. We get some sexual scenes that get hot and heavy but nothing too descriptive.

Final Thoughts
I will be continuing this series. I have already read An Endless Summer and was happy with the results. If you are looking for a light, cute, but drama filled read, The Boys of Summer is for you. I think a lot of YA lovers will love this one. Very recommended.

“Can we get out of here?”
“Your chariot awaits.”
“In the form of a blue Ford ute?” I curved my brow.
“But of course,” he said in an over-the-top French accent.
“Sacre blur, bad accent alert!”
“Wow,” he said, “Le rude?”
“Le sorry?”
“Le hurt.” Toby clutched his heart.
“What can I do to soothe your shattered ego?”
Toby drummed his chin thoughtfully, pacing around me. He stopped just near enough to whisper in my ear.
“Le kiss?”  

“That’s the thing. I’ve never met anyone like you, Tess. You think you’re a no one? You’re so wrong. So wrong. You stand in a room with all the Angelas, even the Ellies. None of them can compare to you. I remember when you started working at the Onslow, I couldn’t keep my eyes off you. You were so terrified. You weren’t full of yourself like other girls. Every time you walked into the bar, you were like a breath of fresh air. Even when Angela was a bitch to you, you rose above it. You made me see the difference in people. You’re not a nobody, Tess, you’re a somebody.”  

“He looked at me now.
“Remember I said, ‘what if I didn’t want to fix your bike?'”
I remembered. “Yes…”
“I didn’t want to fix it, because I liked driving you places.”

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10 Responses to “Review: The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan”

  1. Kristin

    The title has “Of Summer” in it. How can this not be the perfect summer read? This is one that’s been on my want list for a while. Cute quotes by the way. LoL looks like it will be a fun read.
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

  2. Jaclyn Canada

    What seems a little strange about it all is that you mention the setting to be in the 90’s when a lot of us grew up, but that you may also be too old for this book. Sounds like it would be targeted towards us a little bit, but I guess not with all the teenage-drama you mention. Love that the writing was so well done and it really does sound like an excellent summer-time read. Wonderful review! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

  3. Sharon ObsessionwithBooks

    I’m glad you enjoyed this despite the unoriginal plot, it does sound like something I’d quite enjoy & being an Aussie I’m keen to read something with an Australian setting and with a few laugh out loud moments.

    A great review! 🙂

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