Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review + Giveaway: The Boys of Summer by CJ Duggan

The Boys of Summer by CJ Duggan 
Series: Summer, #1
Published: December 17th, 2012
Publisher: Self-published
321 pages (ebook)
Genre: Mature contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: Bought
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Kobo || Smashwords}

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.


For months, I saw tons of bloggers talking about The Boys of Summer and how amazing it was. I was so intrigued, I bought myself a copy and bumped it up on my tbr list. With all the elements that make contemporary YA my favourite genre, I can honestly say The Boys of Summer is one of my favourite books I’ve read in awhile.

The last thing Tess wanted to do was spend her summer working, but her best friend Adam convinced her and their other bestie, Ellie, that it would be great for the three of them to work together at his uncle’s hotel and restaurant. When she discovers that her long-time crush, Toby, hangs out at the bar with his friends, things begin to change for Tess. During the course of that summer, Toby and the Onslow Boys change her life.

I loved Tess. Loved her. I related to her in so many ways - she was shy, nervous, awkward, unsure of herself. She was worried about messing up or upsetting people, so she kept her head down and basically tried to be invisible. Her voice was so authentic, and I found her a very real and relatable character. I loved watching her growth. She went from letting people walk all over her - including her best friend Ellie - to learning to stand up and speak up for herself. Her transformation over the summer was beautiful to watch.

Then there was Toby. Oh Toby. He was so incredibly swoonworthy. He was about as perfect as a book boy can get without actually being perfect. He had this quiet, understated way about him that made you wonder what he was thinking. I loved his and Tess’s interactions, from the first uncertain moments to the sweet, swoon-inducing moments to the totally steamy, sexy moments. I felt like they weren’t your typical contemporary YA couple, and I loved that.

One thing I look for in books but often find lacking is development of secondary characters. Duggan did a fantastic job in that respect. From Tess’s best friends to the Onslow Boys to the other workers at the hotel, I felt like we got to know all the characters. I really liked Tess’s best friend Adam (he was absolutely hilarious and so cute), and while her other best friend Ellie drove me bonkers at first and made me angry on several occasions, I actually ended up liking her. It was nice to see that not only were the secondary characters fleshed out, they also had some development along with Tess. 

The Boys of Summer is the perfect summer (or any time) read. It’s about so many different things - friendship, family, first love, self-discovery. It’s sexy and funny and romantic and swoonworthy and touching. If you’re a fan of mature contemporary YA/NA, The Boys of Summer is a must read.
 *I originally rated this book 4.5 stars because it seemed a bit long, but as I wrote my review I realized it really deserves 5 stars because it was pretty damn perfect*

Because I loved this book so much, I'm going to give away an e-copy to TWO lucky readers! 

It's simple: the giveaway will remain open for one week; Rafflecopter will randomly draw 2 names from all eligible entries, and the winners will be sent the book via Smashwords so they can download it in the format of their choice; open internationally to people age 16+; enter via the Rafflectoper. Good luck!


  1. Tess sounds like me! I've been on a lifelong mission to stop being a pushover, and stick up for myself. I love relatable characters. :) And Toby sounds awesome! I also love strong secondary characters. Why have them if they don't make an impression? Great review! I'd love to read this one. :)

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

  2. I really love the cutesy cover & synopsis for this book! Tess and Toby both sound amazing and all the reviews I have read for it have been wonderful.

    It's so important for me to be able to relate to a character and its great you were able to do this with the MC.

    A great review Marie! :-)

  3. The Boys of Summer sounds like the perfect Summer read, and the characters Toby and Tess sound wonderful. I've heard so many great things about this book-I need to get myself a copy soon. Thanks for the great review Marie!

  4. I love contemporary YA too, both that and contemp NA are my favourite genres these days. 5 stars...hmmhhh...I need to check this one out! I have heard lots of fangirling about the Onslow boys already, I need to find out more :O


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