Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Simon and Schuster on August 5th, 2014
Amazon, Barnes & Noble , The Book Depository
In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.
Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.
But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.
You know why I loved Pride & Prejudice? Because Darcy & Elizabeth hated each other at first. (Well, Elizabeth hated him… Darcy is debatable).
My all-time favorite trope is seeing two characters that dislike each other so much, slowly fall in love.
This book is a reverse Romeo and Juliet. Two families that love each other and basically do everything together, and two children who would rather be with anyone else in the world than each other. Ryder & Jemma are two kids who live in the south whose families have conspired all their lives to bring them together. Now there’s a storm heading towards Magnolia, and being in confined, dark spaces may surface some feelings that they don’t really want out.
Okay let’s begin by what I loved:
Firstly, the setting. This book is set in Magnolia Branch, Mississippi. This means southern accents, and farms, and big dogs, and shotguns, and churches. I loved the southern feel of this story. It was so refreshing from typical, bland, ambiguous settings in most books out there.
Jemma & Ryder definitely held their own as protagonists. Jemma is this all around awesome girl. She’s not this delicate southern flower, but a really kickass girl who can shoot guns as well as photographs. She’s smart, a cheerleader, and a self-proclaimed good girl. However she wants to break free of the expectations of her family. So she has little rebellions here and there. Basically she just wants to be able to choose her own life.
It’s not that I don’t want to live out my days here. It’s just that I want the opportunity to…I don’t know…spread my wings and fly a bit before I come back home to roost, you know? If I end up back in Magnolia Branch, I want it to be because I’ve chosen to be here.
Ryder is a southern gentleman. He’s sweet, caring, and charming. I never thought he was being a “stupid boy”. He is definitely the guy you’d love to take home to your parents. Ryder is a dream. I have a huge crush on him.
This book isn’t only about the romance, but it features strong female friendships (and absolutely NO slut shaming! YAY), while also building a believable high school atmosphere (cheerleading, football games, and *gasp* even real classes), and it deals with grief and loss as well.
I think the biggest part of this book, other than the romance, was the storm. The storm was actually a very big part of this book and I loved seeing its effects. I loved that Ryder & Jemma had to ride it out alone because of some very… unfortunate circumstances. Imagine being locked up in a very small confined storm shelter with an incredibly attractive guy who you might love/hate.
They finally had all the time in the world to talk and man, that was some pretty good talking. 😉
“I hear his breath catch. Slowly, his hand moves over mine, his fingertips brushing my knuckles until his entire hand covers mine.”
I could keep gushing about how this book was all kinds of awesome. My only issue with this book is the fact that I wanted MORE. (and that Jemma was a bit naïve at first but I forgave her because she was awesome). But, if you’re still reading my review and not rushing to buy the book, then we have a problem.
“You know those tragic stories where two kids from feuding families fall in love? Okay, flip that inside out and turn it on it’s head and you’ve got our story: Ryder’s and mine.”
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