I’ve read other books by Becca Fitzpatrick that I’ve enjoyed, but this one fell flat for me. It was an easy read, but I didn’t love this book, and I found myself reading til the end just to get it over with so I could move on to a different book. I didn’t hate it, I just found that I didn’t really care about any of the characters and wasn’t invested in what happened to them.
Stella is in the witness protection program but I never really felt bad for her or her situation. From the start she is selfish, immature and self-centred, and while she becomes less so as the book goes on, I never grew to like her as a character. All the side characters seemed really typical and fell into the obvious stereotypes of a small country town, from the jock with anger issues, the pregnant teen with the disapproving parents, a troubled younger brother and then Chet, the love interest of Stella who fills in the part of the older brother who selflessly gives up his future to try and get his younger brother through high school. They all perfectly fit their stereotypes, with not one of them being original or particularly interesting.
I didn’t find the book particularly fast paced or suspenseful, it actually felt quite slow in a few places. A lot of it was spent on Stella going through the motions of hating the new town she finds herself trapped in, meeting and learning about all the people who live there and the kind of lives they all lead, and then her finally growing attached and coming to appreciate the safe haven the town and its people, well some of its people, has provided her for the summer.
A small thing that continued to annoy me throughout the whole book was Stella’s name and how she kept going on about having to change it to become a different person, and that she didn’t feel like a Stella. She had to change her name from Estella to Stella! She acted as though they were completely different when all she had to do was drop the ‘E’ from the start. It was basically just a nickname that she had to be called for 3 months, and I felt this silly little point of the story just added to her immaturity.
Fans of Fitzpatrick might still enjoy this book, but for me it’s not one I’d recommend or ever bother picking up again; and if this is the first book of this author you’ve read don’t let that stop you from reading any of her other books, because they are much better than this one.