I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The story of how a rich guy, and a poor girl fall in love isn’t new. But this time around, the rich guy, Arden, is the son of a racist Sheriff, and the poor girl, Carly, is Mexican. As you would imagine, Arden’s father is not too happy about his son dating Carly, and I hated this prejudice jerk about as much as I have ever hated a villain in any novel. Not only does he say some of the nastiest things, he is a GIANT hypocrite. He honestly believes the hateful crap he says, but as the story progresses, we find out that he mostly just cares about money and power.
Somehow the jerk of a sheriff has managed to raise an amazing young man. Arden is going through a transition when he meets Carly. His sister died a year ago, and he lost all focus. He can’t sleep, he quit football, and his grades are terrible. All he cares about is running around town pranking anyone he thinks deserves it, and he gets away with this behavior because he is charming and the sheriff’s son.
Carly is a shy, hardworking young woman who has devoted her life to making good grades and earning enough money to smuggle her parents, who were deported 3 years ago, back into the United States. She lives with her older brother Julio who does nothing but work, and if her brother and parents had it their way, Carly would quit school and spent every waking minute working too.
Everyone’s desire for Carly to quit school is part of the reason I didn’t love this book. Even Arden didn’t respect how hard Carly worked in school, and I kept wondering why. I get that Julio wanted his parents back and I know his parents wanted to raise their two younger children in the states. I also understand that Arden just wanted to spend time with someone he liked, but the lack of support they had for this girl bugged me.
At first, the relationship between Arden and Carly was annoying. She had every reason in the world to give him a hard time, but I was impatient and wanted the cuteness to begin. When she finally did let her guard down, they were sweet. I could tell that they really loved each other. He helped her to learn to relax, have fun, and do things for herself without feeling guilty, but she taught him the value of working hard and gave him someone to love again.
I can’t call this a cute book because it dealt with too many serious issues, but I liked Carly and Arden a lot. They made some stupid mistakes, but they learned from them. I also loved Arden’s Uncle Cletus. He was the glue that held everyone together, and he was pretty funny too.
Not sure who I would recommend this book too. There is no denying that it was well written, but I was expecting more out of the romance. The book made me feel things, but not what I was expecting. I felt more hatred for Arden’s dad than I did happiness when Arden and Carly were together. I never got that warm and fuzzy feeling, and that feeling is the only reason I read books like this. If you want to read a serious book that also happens to have cute romance, this one will work.
This book was very clean, I don’t remember any profanities, and there was no sexual content. The reading level is suitable for ages 12 and up.