**Free galley received from NetGalley**
My rating is hovering at around 2.5 stars.
Let me start off by saying that this book is sweet and cute. It really is. The protagonist, Elizabeth Margaret (heretofore known as Em) has just graduated high school and is set to intern for her father's law firm this summer, and then head off to Harvard in the fall. Even though what she'd really like to do is study to be a chef, she goes along with this plan because it's what her parents want. But one day she receives a letter from an aunt she didn't even know she had, inviting her to spend the summer in the Outer Banks at her aunt's B&B. Despite not knowing anything about her aunt or anything, Em goes.
The premise is not really a new one, but I thought it sounded like a nice, easy read, and sometimes we need that. I wasn't disappointed by that. However, I didn't fall in love with this book.
The problem? The characters. Not that they were bad or unlikable, that's not true at all. They were all likable. It's just that they never developed past the outer layer. There was no depth to any of them. There was great potential with Em; she came from a very controlling family, was practically being forced to study something she didn't want to study, and through the course of the story, found out some really traumatic information about herself and her family. But I never *felt* any of that while reading. Everything moved so quickly from one scene to another and there was never enough given to make me really connect with her, to really feel what she was going through. It was like I was just standing there watching from outside a window.
There was also Cade. His background alone was rife with pain and struggle, yet we barely scratched the surface of any of it. He could have been a really amazing part to this story, could have really added a layer of depth and feeling, but he was, instead, just there to be a pretty boy Em fell for--which I also must comment on. This kisses in this book . . . felt very misplaced, very anti-climactic. There needs to be buildup for this sort of thing, and there was none here. Yeah, Em thought Cade was cute, she liked him, but there was never really anything between them until, oh, he's kissing her. It kind of left me scratching my head.
I'm not sure what more I can say. I liked this, but I didn't. It needed more. More character growth, more buildup for romance, more buildup for the big reveal, just more. There's a good premise, good character foundations, it just all needs to be filled in a bit more.