Hearts To Follow Novella Series (1-3) | Dana Burkey
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance
Published: October 2014
I received this book for the author in exchange for an honest review.
Hey fANGIRL readers,
First and foremost, I want to give a special thanks to Ms.Dana Burkey for sending me a signed copy of her novella series! Now down to business . . .
The first story in this novella series follows a young girl named Cam. Over the summer she had a crush on her next door neighbor Nick, who was only in town for the season at his dad's. When the summer came to an end, Nick went back home to his mother's to attend school, and just a month after was in a relationship. This broke Cam's heart, being that she felt their feelings for each other were "mutual". A school year ends, summer begins, and Nick is back in town . . . with his girlfriend. So to get back at Nick and give him what I call " a taste of his own medicine, " Cam's good friend Josh pretends to be her boyfriend to make Nick jealous, in hopes that he would break up with his girlfriend and pursue Cam. With their plan in full effect, and receiving the results they were hoping for, Josh and Cam eventually build their own feelings for one another. Are Cam's feelings mutual this time around with Josh? If so, what about Nick?
Well, I must say that Just Pretending was my least favorite of the three novellas. The main character Cam was indeed in high school, but lord did she read as someone in the 5th grade. I didn't relate to her at all, and felt annoyed with her for 95% of the time. Alot of her actions were a bit childish, but on the other hand it made the story so cute. I just wanted to pinch her cheeks, and tell her how adorably irritating she was. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.
I will say, that I loved me some Josh. He was so freaking sweet. Ugh, I couldn't get enough of him. I did feel like he was a bit over-dramatic in some situations, but hey, he didn't want Nick to have his bae! I get it boo, I get ya.
Nick wasn't as douchey as I thought he would be. (Hehehe, douchey. I'm learning new words guys!) I thought he was going to be a complete a-hole, but was surprised to see a totally different side to him in the next novella.
In this story the title is very fitting. As I just mentioned, Nick made a complete 360 this time around, and it all started with Summer. Or shall I say " The season girl". (If you've read this book then you will definitely get that. I was cracking up for 5 minutes straight when I read it lol)
Anywho, Summer encounters Nick at a party. It isn't really her scene, but being dragged there by her friends who are trying to make their way into the "In" crowd, she is forced to tag along. Not into drinking, or indulging in other wild & crazy teenage activities, Summer parts ways from her friends to find a quiet room. There she is accompanied by a drunk Nick, who has also embarked on the quest to find a vacant room away from his friends. Having been kicked off the baseball team for poor grades, deemed as a cheater on two of his girlfriends, and who drinks like a frat boy with his popular crowd of friends, Summer knows he isn't someone she should be friends with. Or is he?
After helping him during his drunken state at the party, Nick and Summer build a friendship. They meet up at games, text late at night, message each other on their computers when homework should be done . . . you pretty much get the point. They've grown extremely close, but Summer isn't ready to share him with the world, let alone her judgmental friends. Is Nick the guy everyone paints him out to be, or was his childish ways just a facade of the charming boy he really is?
First of all, Changed was my favorite of all three novellas. I loved Summer as our main character. She was a shy girl who had a huge passion for theater, who was also very mature for her age. With a great head on her shoulders, she wasn't really into partying and things of that nature. Instead, you could find her in the library, studying scripts for an upcoming role. Nick is my second reason for loving this story. He was a completely different guy from his appearance in Just Pretending, and when I say different, I mean different. Before he was incredibly childish and arrogant, but after meeting Summer, you begin to witness his facade slowly dissolving as he realized how much she meant to him.
Their chemistry was very realistic, and I appreciated the fact that even though Summer had a huge crush on Nick for years prior to their friendship, when he announced he wanted to take things a step further, she didn't accept. Instead she wanted to focus on theater, and asked for some time until they became anything more.
The ending to this novella had me smiling from ear to ear. I'm pretty sure you can guess why.
In Stage lights we meet Tessa, who had also made a cameo in Changed as a new theater friend of Summer's. Tessa has just landed a big role in her school's play as Juliet, and has an even bigger crush on the college guy playing her Romeo, Anthony. Eventually they begin to hang out, and with her hormones getting the best of her after a party they attended, she kisses him. But things didn't seem to heat up between them as she expected they would. They continued to hang out together, but his brother Ian always seemed to be in attendance. After getting some advice from one of her close friends, Tessa begins to show Ian more attention in hopes of winning his brother over. Probably not the best idea Tess. Things eventually get pretty messy after Tessa FINALLY realizes that it wasn't her dear Romeo that liked her after all.
One of the things I loved about Stage Lights, was that it centered around theater. I participated in a few plays while in school, and this book truly reminded me of my experience. Although I liked Tessa's character overall, certain situations left me feeling a bit irritated. The fact that she was oblivious to very obvious things, (The situation between Anthony, Ian, and herself) will seriously have you thinking, "how old is she again?" I think my problem is when I read a book that's YA, I prefer when the characters are a bit mature. I think I easily relate and better connect with characters that even though in high school, they read as maybe 17 or 18 years old. I always find it a bit difficult to get into YA novels that come across as middle grade.
All in all these novellas were very cute stories. Being only 100 or so pages, it's a super quick read, which can be read in between other heavier material. If you're a lover of Young Adult contemporaries and romance stories, then the Hearts to Follow series is for you!
Until Next Time,