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Wildstone #5

The Summer Deal

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From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes a friends-to-frenemies-to-sisters story… And then add in a love story (okay, two love stories). Shake. Stir. Read on a lazy summer day at the beach.

Brynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that’s left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone.

And then there’s Kinsey Davis, who after battling serious health issues her entire twenty-nine years of life, is tired of hoping for . . . well, anything. She's fierce, tough, and pretty much the opposite of Brynn except for one thing: they're half-sisters. Kinsey is keeping this bombshell, and a few others as well. Long time frenemies from summer camp, there’s no way she’s going to tell Brynn they’re related.

But then Brynn runs into Kinsey's lifelong best friend, Eli, renewing a childhood crush. He’s still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell. When he gets her to agree to a summer-time deal to trust him to do right by her, no matter what, she never dreams it’ll result in finding a piece of herself she didn’t even know was missing. She could have a sister, love, and a future―if she can only learn to let go of the past.

As the long days of summer wind down, the three of them must discover if forgiveness is enough to grasp the unconditional love that’s right in front of them.

384 pages, Paperback

First published June 2, 2020

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About the author

Jill Shalvis

431 books12.7k followers
Multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is … mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning heartwarming and full of humor novels wherever books are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures. Her newest Sunrise Cove novel, THE BACKUP PLAN, is out now, and THE SWEETHEART LIST comes out in June!

Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning novels wherever books are sold. Visit http://www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and fun blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill:

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 986 reviews
Profile Image for Claire.
2,307 reviews702 followers
June 3, 2020
5 - "...Family isn’t about blood. It’s about who you choose…" Stars!

We return to Wildstone for the fifth book in the series; The Summer Deal giving us (half) sisters and enemies since childhood; Brynn and Kinsey’s stories, interlinked by them and the men in their lives Eli and Deck respectively.

"You’re like… a Disney villain."

I’ll be honest and say that some of the books in the series have been more challenging to read than others. Being branded as Women’s Fiction, the drama, angst, secrets and lies have been levelled at a heavier depth than most of the authors other books and series. I personally struggle with this sometimes especially when the drama is overplayed, or the secrets and lies drag on for too long, because reading for me is my happy place, and I want to put down a book happy, not depressed because the characters and story are on the darker side.

"Not all wounds are physical…"

Weirdly you get both in this one, but I think the fact the author added plenty of light through the story as well, that I found it wasn’t so much of a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I could have happily slapped both Kinsey and Brynn at times because of their actions or lack thereof, but Eli and Deck (double yum)added balance, Brynn’s Kindergarten students added the Shalvis humour I adore, and because of those factors it felt like the book was more rounded than some of its predecessors.

"I want you… I can’t even begin to hide that, but I’m not going to be another mistake or disappointment… I want to be one of the very best things in your life."

The Forever Girl is up next (Jan 21) in the series, I hope Ms. Shalvis continues with the added humour because it really helps aid the digestion of the heavier tropes that are being explored at the same time.

"When I wasn’t looking, you became the thing I didn’t know I needed, but now can’t live without."

ARC generously provided in exchange for the above honest review.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,721 reviews462 followers
June 2, 2020
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I loved this book! I have been a fan of Jill Shalvis's books since I picked up one of her books a few years ago. I haven't read all of her books yet but I have kept up with all of her more recent releases. This book might be my favorite out of those I have read. I had such a great time with this book and found it really hard to put down. This book is the fifth book in the Wildstone series but each of the books in the series read as stand-alone novels so you can feel free to jump into the series anywhere.

I was taken by the cast of characters in this story right away. Brynn is going back home to her two moms in Wildstone after being taken advantage of by her boyfriend. Kinsey has lived with major health problems for a long time and feels like she has an expiration date so she avoids making connections with the exception of Eli. Eli has been Kinsey's best friend since they were kids. He has had plenty of his own issues but he watches out for Kinsey even though they are just friends. Brynn, Kinsey, and Eli all went to summer camp together and some of their memories of each other are less than pleasant.

All of the characters in this book felt very authentic to me. Brynn's entire life was turned upside down but she working to put things back together. I loved her two moms but understood her desire to be out on her own. Kinsey has been dealing with some pretty big health issues for years and I thought that she had a pretty good attitude about everything. Eli has been through a lot of things in his life but he still wants to take care of those that he is close to.

This book did a lot of things really well. I love the romance between Brynn and Eli and thought that they were great together. I was thrilled that we got a second romance in this book with Kinsey and Beck and I thought that their story was really well done. The relationship between Kinsey and Brynn was really pivotal to the book. I enjoyed seeing them open up and start to trust each other. I thought that getting a glimpse of how they saw each other as kids through their journal entries added a lot to the story.

I would highly recommend this book to others. I thought that it was a very well done story with a great cast of characters that focused on a variety of relationships. I cannot wait to read more from Jill Shalvis!

I won an advanced review copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks through a giveaway on Goodreads.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this book. It falls somewhere between 4 and 5 stars for me and I am rounding up for now. I loved the characters in this book and their complicated relationships just seemed to work for me. There were a lot of things going on in this story and I think that the characters all really grew throughout the book. It was a lot of fun to see them all work to improve their relationships.
Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,156 followers
April 13, 2020
Loving someone, faults and all…

While going for my morning walk with hubby (in a social-distancing appropriate way), I was thinking about my review of The Summer Deal. I was contemplating about how this story made me feel, and how some families are born, and some are made. While reading a lot of Jill Shalvis’ stories, I find myself appreciative of what I have when compared to the lives of the characters. I am so glad that I didn’t have to make my own version of a family because I’m pretty stoked with the one I have.

Famous last words…I mean thoughts…

Geez, my family can drive me insane with all their caring, thoughtful attentiveness and stuff. I swear my mother thinks I’m an idiot sometimes. She likes to forward me articles with helpful tips on finance, health, education, food, fashion, living with boys and a million other random subjects. It's like she's forgotten that she's already taught me how to be a good, law-abiding citizen with a brain in my head.

I should probably take all of that back but it sort of has a bit to do with The Summer Deal. See, a lot of this story is about dealing with your family whether it be the one you’re born into or the one you have made for yourself. By the end, it was very clear to me that it doesn’t matter if it’s born or made, they’ll always drive you insane but they do it because they care.

I really liked Brynn, Eli and Kinsey and found them to be extremely annoying. I think it is realistic to like characters but also find them frustrating too because nobody is perfect. In this case, Brynn is returning home from a failed relationship and she’s suffering from “I’m such an idiot” syndrome. Eli, well the poor bugger has, “my life goal is to take care of everyone else…” syndrome. And, finally, Kinsey has, “I’ll scratch your eyes out if you dare look at me with pity” syndrome. In other words, these three are MESSED UP!!

Now, you might be asking how we have three main characters but we’re not talking ménage. Well, Brynn and Eli are our love interests and Kinsey is connected to them both. I can honestly say, that Jill Shalvis does a fantastic job of convincing me that there are no romantic feelings between Eli and Kinsey, even though they have been connected since they were kids. Her way of convincing me is Deck. Wow!! I LOVED Deck! I may even be a little sad that this wasn’t Deck’s story. Not saying I didn’t enjoy Brynn and Eli's love story… but DECK. 😍

Story-wise, The Summer Deal was a wee bit emotional. This is the kind of story where all of your emotions take a rollercoaster ride. As with each instalment of the Wildstone series, this is not just a romance. The love and relationships are familial, friendly and romantic.

Brynn and Kinsey started out rocky because of old hurts, betrayals and secrets. Kinsey knew for years she had a sister and Brynn was completely blindsided when she found out.

Kinsey and Eli’s relationship, while mostly like a brother/sister, there was a lot more of Eli giving and Kinsey taking. This may come across as selfish on Kinsey’s part, but in some ways, she was giving Eli what he needed most. Someone to focus his shelter and protect nature on. Eli does have his little brother Max for that too, but Max is an adult and doesn’t need Eli as much anymore.

The relationship between Eli and Brynn was rocky to start with because they both had to learn to trust. This one probably needed the most work because Eli was keeping a bunch of secrets when they first got together. They weren’t his secrets to tell but it wasn’t a great way to start a relationship.

If I had one problem with the story, I’d have to say that Kinsey drove me crazy and Eli enabled her. There is NO WAY Eli should have let Kinsey keep her secrets from Brynn as long as she did. He was jeopardising his budding relationship by keeping his mouth shut. I’m not sure I would have been as forgiving as Brynn when all the truths had been shared. I get it, Kinsey was sick. I just found it frustrating that the secrets went on through the whole story.

Sorry, this was a wee bit of a rambling review. I really enjoyed reading The Summer Deal and I would have been quite happy if it went on and on and on. I loved the dynamics of the relationships and the closeness between them all. I loved Brynn’s Mums, Raina and Olive, Max, Eli’s brother, and Deck, Kinsey’s boyfriend, but not really boyfriend. I wanted more and I was sad when it came to the end.

If you’re a fan of Jill Shalvis, you will not be disappointed in The Summer Deal. While it was an emotional journey that at times brought a tear to my eye, I did finish with a big goofy smile on my face. I can’t wait for more in this series.

Stacey is Sassy, received an advanced copy of this story. The copy provided is not the final copy and may be subject to edits and changes.
Profile Image for Ⓐlleskelle - That ranting lady ッ.
993 reviews806 followers
June 2, 2020

I enjoyed the premise for this book a lot!

Setting up two romances into one book seems like the pattern in Wildstone series. In The Summer Deal, one is set between Brynn and Eli—her long lost childhood camp crush— with a slow burn relationship while the other one revolves around Kinsey (Eli’s best friend and Brynn’s childhood nemesis/secret step sister) and Deck, a male nurse I admit I would have liked to read more about.

Falling into like with Brynn as she navigates through her new life fresh from a bad break-up, having to deal with her nemesis from summer camp, Kinsey, and all the rest of The Summer Deal cast was no hardship! Once again Shalvis does a great job piquing a reader’s interest by developing endearing characters full of quirks and flaws, making them very relatable.

I loved the dichotomy between the two sisters, especially reading their journal entries. I particularly loved Kinsey, I could relate to her prickly behavior while being a big softie inside.

My only issue with the story was the repetitiveness in the pattern Eli and Kinsey keeping secrets from Brynn, up until the very end of the book. I just couldn’t understand why either of them kept another secret from Brynn when the first one had already made her fled and broke the trust she had so tentatively given them. If felt very contrived to use this again to keep the story going.

Reuniting two childhood frenemies around one big secret (disclosed in the blurb), The Summer Deal read like an easy beach read, entertaining throughout, it was lighthearted while still straddling heavier themes. Humor, family drama, romance and steam, is all I needed to get my mind off things this week. Special mention for the “Mini” effect, cute dog alert! The Jill Shalvis Magic lives!

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Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
794 reviews876 followers
May 10, 2020

AUTHOR: Jill Shalvis
SERIES: Wildstone #5
RELEASE DATE: June 2, 2020
GENRE: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance
THEMES & TROPES: Smalltown Romance
RATING: 3 Stars


They all had a role here, she realized. And Eli’s role was the glue.

Family is a big theme in all books in this series but even more so in this one. Brynn was lucky to be born into a loving home of two women. Bullied at school for it her childhood and teenage years were far from easy. When she returns home to Wildstone with her twil tucked between her legs after she was conned by her ex-boyfriend she is looking for a place to heal. Of course in a small town like Wildstone she can't avoid running into the best friend of your former tormentor and arch enemy who Brynn had a crush when she was a teen.

Eli has made himself a home, along with his little brother Max and best friend Kinsey. His family let him down too many times and after a failed relationship love is far from his mind until he rubs into the girl who he shared his first kiss with and now pretends not to recognize him.
He wanted this more than he should, but if he knew one thing about life, it was that what he wanted rarely mattered.

Now, these two were fine and nice and that's why they were perfect for one another but I thought as hero and heroine they were just too bland and I found myself wishing that Kinsey and her amazing love interest Deck would have been the main protagonists and the story told from their points of view. We do get Kinsey's POV and I loved her so much. She had edges, was bitchy but you knew that it was all for show to protect the ones she loved. She was frustrating, but I was never enough at her to throw my Kindle. Who frustrated me the most when it came to Kinsey was Eli. He enabled Kinsey to be dishonest and never forced her to come out with her truth.

I did love their friendship though and how they loved each other unconditionally. And I absolutely enjoyed the budding relationship between Kinsey and Brynn. It was great to watch Brynn growing a backbone and standing up for herself.
“You’re a very strange woman.”
“Takes one to know one.”

Now. Deck and Kinsey? OMG they were so good together. Deck was the male I'm used to in Jill's books. A little alpha and a lot of goodness. His love for Kinsey was so honest, patient and forgiving and he gave her the room she needed. He was a good man with a dash of naughty and I just adored him.
“Stop redirecting and avoiding. Just listen. Because I’m going to tell you exactly how I feel so that I know that you know, and then you know that I know that you know.���
She gaped at him. “You’ve been watching Friends.”
“Three times a week without fail. I’m in love with you, Kinsey.”
Oh, God. Her heart stopped.

Jill Shalvis is my go-to author for comfort reads. THE SUMMER DEAL wasn't as spellbinding as the other installments in this series although it had all the ingredients I love so much about her stories. The family dynamics and the friendships are always heartwarming. Add to that a funny pup with a sweet personality and it's exactly what we need in the time we live in right now. I'll definitely grab the next one!

Profile Image for Antonella.
3,404 reviews449 followers
June 7, 2020
Family-oriented series with sister centered plotline;
-book one-has sisters who found out that they are half-sister after one of them learns she is adopted Lost and Found Sisters
-book two - has sisters of heart, the one you choose to be your sister not by blood but life circumstances Rainy Day Friends
-book three- has estranged sisters The Lemon Sisters
-book four- has siblings where one of them is not only a sister but also raised them Almost Just Friends
-book five- has a half-sister that knew each other as kids but just recently learn they are related

This book so far in the entire series has the weakest romance.
Still, solid series with some gems.

Profile Image for Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader.
1,104 reviews130 followers
June 13, 2020
Book number 5 in the Wildstone series can be read as a stand alone. I loved the drama, I really loved the two romances. I thought about how messed up they all were and how well they fit together at the same time. I loved that they ended up close and never gave up on each other.
This is a 4 star read and one that you don't want to miss.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,474 reviews495 followers
May 11, 2021

I am now speeding my way through all of the Wildstone series and loving every single one of them. The Summer Deal was no exception and I am really appreciating the way Jill Shalvis can write books with so much humor and heart. This one didn't make me laugh quite as much as the others did, but man did it make me teary. The viewpoints switch between Brynn and Kinsey, and Kinsey's was definitely the story I gravitated to the most. Her health issues broke my heart, and she was the reason for all the tears I shed while reading this. I have also come to love the romance that Shalvis infuses into her novels, and there is no shortage of hunky guys and steam in The Summer Deal. Honestly, I wanted more of Kinsey's hot boyfriend, but that's neither here nor there.

The Summer Deal is the perfect beach read, and I will forever love the setting of Wildstone, CA. Another thing I love about Shalvis' novels is that her characters are all so relatable and real. Kinsey and Brynn feel like women you could know in real life and could see yourself being friends with, and that rings true will all the books I have read in this series. This is definitely a feel-good, leave a smile on your face type of novel, and I also loved that Brynn had two moms! I loved the audiobook as well which is narrated by Erin Mallon. When they first switched to her from Karen White I didn't like it, but now I can't imagine anyone else narrating this series. I don't like change, but this time the change definitely worked!
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,989 reviews194 followers
August 7, 2020
A sweet summer romance with flaws. The MC's deal with troubled family issues, bad relationships, life and death. There were parts that flowed well and some that were a bit cheesy and unbelievable. The cheese developed more towards the end. It started out really well for me I really liked where it was going. But, the love was too easy, too fast, to unrealistically understanding. These girls were horrible to the men and the men were all, it's okay I'm here for you no matter what...I really wished they got a backbone and said NO.
Bottom line: Fun-ish mindless read, no deep thoughts involved, no real connection to the unreal characters.
Profile Image for Katie T.
1,006 reviews88 followers
July 14, 2020
Meh, I have to give 2 stars because I have given several good but not great books 3 stars recently... and this book does not compare.

This is complete and utter fluff. Started pretty cute but really this was just a bunch of vapid and inane characters, acting and talking in a way no one actually does in reality. Completely predictable with completely unrealistic men. No, I don't think all men are jerks and incapable of sensitivity and romance, but this was beyond. Every guy was an idealized sexy perfect romantic desperate to be with our flawed heroines.

All that is fine, really, but it just wasn't that great or interesting and so predictable and fluffy it got boring and a bit offensive. This is not just a fun or sweet beach read, but falls more into the bad chick lit category for me.
Profile Image for Nadene  (Totally Addicted to Reading).
1,270 reviews175 followers
June 22, 2020
I am glad I had the opportunity to read this latest offering from Shalvis. The Summer Deal, the fifth book in the Wildstone series, turned out to be both my favourite read of the series and 2020. Shalvis created an awesome and heart-warming story, which featured a cast of lovable but sometimes irritating characters. Collectively they had suffered pain, loss and heartbreak and my heart broke for them all. Throughout the story, I kept hoping they would get the happiness they deserved.

The author treated the reader to not one but two sweet and swoon worthy romances. The romance which existed between Deck and Kinsey and the one developing between Eli and Brynne.

I had a marvellous time watching how the relationships developed between the characters. My favourite of them all was the relationships which existed between Brynne and Kinsey and Deck and Kinsey. Brynne and Kinsey had a complicated relationship. Discovering that the person you grew up disliking and bullying at camp is your half-sister would have been quite a shocker. Her fear of revealing this knowledge to Brynne had the potential to destroy their budding friendship.

Deck and Kinsey loved each other, but her medical issues had her running scared, which led her to keep pushing him away. Deck’s patient and understanding nature would be the catalyst to save their relationship.
The Summer Deal is a story about love, family, friendships and building relationships. The issues raised although heavy were lightened by the humour Shalvis sprinkled throughout the story. This allowed for a few laugh out loud moments. I especially loved the scenes featuring the kindergarteners. Kids really do say the darndest things.

The Summer Deal was a fantastic read and one I would highly recommendThis review was originally posted on Totally Addicted to Reading
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
3,033 reviews646 followers
June 2, 2020
Brynn Turner grew up with her adoptive Moms in Wildstone before leaving. Kinsey Davis never left. The two have a history and were both awkward girls at summer camp. But Brynn has moved back and is feeling pretty beat up after her world fell apart.

Eli is best friends with Kinsey and has supported her through some gruelling times. He knows all of her secrets, including the fact that the girl he crushed on at summer camp is Kinsey’s sister.

The story that unfolds was wonderful and heartfelt. All three have baggage. Eli is the fixer but never feels worthy, Kinsey has a hard, snarky exterior meant to keep people away and Brynn wants friendship and love but has met only disappointment leaving her battered and bruised emotionally.

I fell hard for these characters, even Kinsey because Shalvis did such an impressive job of allowing us to understand her harsh attitude. I wanted to hug Eli, and hold Brynn’s hand so she could be brave.

The author did a fantastic job with the issues tackled in this home, from serious illness to growing up in a non-nuclear family. It had heart and felt genuine.

The story shares not only the sibling story, but two romances. Deck, the man in Kinsey’s life was swoon-worthy, patient, and the most grounded character I’ve ever come across. Prepare to fall hard ladies! Eli is grounded despite his share of disappointments. He is a tender giving soul. I easily fell for his charm and wanted him to get the girl.

I loved the housing situations and hope we get Eli’s brother’s story. Brynn’s moms were a hoot, and I enjoyed page time with them. You’ll want to back your bags and move to Wildstone. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
Profile Image for Simply Love Book Reviews.
6,949 reviews827 followers
June 2, 2020
4.5 stars

The Wildstone series by Jill Shalvis has been a bit hit and miss with me, but The Summer Deal was a hit. While this book did contain not one but two romances (more on that in a bit), it is more of a women’s fiction story than an out and out romance. That being said, this book was completely entertaining and I loved reading it.

As a child Brynn attended school and summer camp with Kinsey who taunted her and was basically a bully. The only saving grace was Kisney’s best friend, Eli who always seemed to be nearby to soothe Brynn’s feelings. Now adults, Brynn is faced with Kinsey as a roommate when she agrees to move into Eli’s house after returning home following a bad relationship and break-up.

Throughout this book both Brynn and Kinsey spend time examining their lives, choices, and growing which I appreciated. Eli pursues Brynn and it takes awhile for her to accept their relationship. I enjoyed watching her grow into it and admired Eli’s patience. Why this book wasn’t 5 stars? Kinsey was in a friends with benefits relationship with Deck and to be honest, Deck is one of those heroes that I love, seriously good guy to the core, and he put up with a lot from Kinsey, and I wanted more about their relationship.

Add in the fact that Kinsey found out that Brynn is her half sister yet doesn’t tell her and there’s a bit of drama that ensues.

I appreciated all the different types of relationships in this book; the long time friendships, the sibling relationship between Eli and Max, the enemies to friends to siblings relationship between Brynn and Kinsey, and the romances between the two couples. Add in Brynn’s relationship with her two moms and this was a very full story with a lot going on, but it was uplifting and wonderful.

Filled with humor and heart, The Summer Deal is a not to be missed novel.

Review copy provided for a voluntary review.
Profile Image for Bree Hill.
791 reviews572 followers
July 20, 2020
‘Loving you had been the easiest thing I’ve ever done.’
Profile Image for Shannon.
2,330 reviews166 followers
May 26, 2020

The Summer Deal was such a great story, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! Why, I don’t know- it’s not like I really had any preconceived ideas going in, but it’s one of those stories that just kind of crept up on me and took me by surprise.

I loved how Brynn, Kinsey, and Eli’s lives were all intertwined. I loved the “found family” aspect of this story. Even though Brynn has 2 wonderful moms, Kinsey and Eli, and Max, were sorely lacking in the family department and created one of their own, and welcomed (some more easily than others) Brynn into the fold when she returned home to Wildstone.

Brynn comes home bearing a heavy weight and feeling down on herself. I liked the way Ms. Shalvis had Brynn work through her issues- things didn’t automatically get better for her once she was home, at times even causing her more pain. There was a lot she needed to come to terms with, to accept and move on from, and I think it was all dealt with in a realistic way. The blossoming romance with Eli was sweet, and sexy, and it was nice to see her find someone that truly loved her. I liked that there was a bit of a second chance romance aspect to their relationship.

I enjoyed the multi points of view in this book, that we got to see things through Brynn, Kinsey, and Eli’s eyes. Their lives are all so connected, it was nice to get to “know” all three. I especially liked when we were inside Kinsey’s head, and I was happy that we got to see her grow over the course of the book. I loved her romance with Deck, he was all kinds of swoony! Her relationship with Brynn was really the catalyst for this story, and I did enjoy the way things played out between them.

The Summer Deal is a perfect summery read- sweet, swoony, and heartfelt.

Although it is book 5 in the Wildstone series, it can definitely be read as a standalone- there are no overlapping or continuing storylines.
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,434 reviews234 followers
May 18, 2020
They shared a history as frenemies, and it seemed, they shared some DNA. Now, they will also share a home, and maybe, learn to open their hearts to the possibility of love.

I feel like I keep saying this with each successive Wildstone book I read, but they just keep getting better and better. I simply loved EVERYTHING about this book.

They shared some history

Brynn, Kinsey, and Eli all spent their summers together at camp, when they were growing up. Eli was Brynn's first kiss, but he was also, Kinsey's best friend. And, Kinsey had a history of making things difficult for Brynn. I really enjoyed learning about these three as children. Via their stories and camp journal entries, I gained a lot of insight into why they were the way they were, and helped me fully understand some of the choices they made.

Fate brought them back together

This was such a perfect set up. Brynn and Eli cross paths in the hospital, reuniting after quite a few years. It was apparent, that there was a still a bit of spark between them, and it took me about 0.3 seconds to get on board that ship. But, Eli had other motives, when he told Brynn about his room for rent. He was looking for Brynn and Kinsey to get to know one another, and what better way than forced proximity.

Their life in the house

Eli was a collector of people. His own parents, more or less, abandoned him, and so, he found his own family. That family consisted of his half brother, Max, Kinsey, Deck, and now, Brynn. I am complete and utter trash for found family, and wow! What a fantastic group Shalvis assembled. Their interactions, their banter, their emotional responses to one another were all fabulous, and I could have spent forever in that house with them.

They guarded their hearts

I already mentioned that Eli's family was less than stellar, and Kinsey's wasn't any better. Their friendship was built on being each other's "person", and they had stood by one another through thick and thin. Eli feared letting someone in, and then being abandoned...again. While, Kinsey wouldn't allow anyone to love her, because of her health issues. And then, there was Brynn, who just didn't trust her judgement any longer after being burned.

I will admit. It was tough hearing all the details as to why these three had built fortresses around their hearts. I ached for them, but I will admit, I cried for Kinsey. Her storyline probably hit me the hardest, and it was most likely why I rooted for her the most. I needed her to let her guard down, and let people love her.

Both Deck and Eli were kings among men. They were wonderful and compassionate, and they went to great lengths to show their love. I adored them both so much, and was truly grateful that Shalvis gifted us with such great love interests in the book.


The Summer Deal was simply fantastic! I had been struggling a bit with my reading during quarantine, but this book, I devoured it. I smiled, and giggled, and grinned my way through it as I also wept, laughed, and swooned. This was another exceptional book from Shalvis, which made my heart overflow with joy.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,683 reviews597 followers
June 3, 2020
****4.25 Stars****

This is a story of Brynn and Kinsley who were enemies as children and their second chance of becoming friends and family. Along the way, we learn about trust, truth, love, and life. The road isn't smooth but instead it being full of obstacles and many rocky paths...Brynn has a second chance with her childhood crush, Eli. And Kinsldy has to learn to let go and love her "friends with benefits minus the friends part", Deck.

I laughed...cried...and felt that overwhelming warm feeling when everything started to synch together and all of these characters found their happily ever after!
Profile Image for Shannon Rochester.
865 reviews72 followers
April 10, 2021
This was obviously a good pick for me...of course, so far, I have really enjoyed every single book by this author. While not my favorite, there were still many great characters that managed to capture my heart, even if I didn't like them in the beginning. To me, that shows great writing because if you can begin to like and even feel compassionate towards a character that initially drives you crazy, that says something. :) Essentially this book is about the past and the present, Brynn, Kinsey, and Eli went to summer camp together when they were younger until suddenly Kinsey and Eli stopped coming...Kinsey and Brynn did NOT get along while Brynn had a crush on Eli that didn't really get any closure. Now in the present, Eli and Brynn run into each other at the hospital, of all places. Eli and Kinsey are currently roomies and best friends and suddenly they are all a part of each others' lives again...with a shocking twist or two. I loved the book, I loved the characters, I loved the writing style...I mean really, how many times can I say this? :)
Profile Image for  Lori (Ficwishes).
686 reviews19 followers
March 14, 2020
It absolutely pains me to say that I didn't like this book. I am a long-time Jill Shalvis reader and never thought I'd find a story of hers that didn't, at the very least, entertain. I guess it's not fair to say that I wasn't entertained, because I did keep coming back and reading more, I just wasn't happy when I was through with it.

I will start by saying that I didn't hate everything about it. I don't want to mislead you. I did enjoy the periphery characters, but the main characters did not do anything for me...at all. I really loved Deck. He was an incredible character. He made limited appearances, but he stole the show for me for real. I adored his and Kenzie's relationship.

Now for what I didn't like...

I feel like Brynn accepted the fact that Kinsey was her sister WAY too readily. She didn't ask for proof or even time to accept it. It didn't match with all of the previous interactions between the two.

Also, Brynn was definitely a hypocrite. She went around telling everyone that they had to be honest and there could be no more secrets, no more lies, blah, blah, blah. Then when she was looking for their dad, she say, "Sometimes people keep secrets because it's easier than the hurt and disappointment that knowing those secrets will lead to." She was quick to judge everyone around her, but then ran to hide when people turned the table on her.

And then there was Eli... he was a bit stale to me. He was very complacent and just a drab character and I didn't connect with him at all.

Overall, it just wasn't what I'm used to from this author.

Thank you to the publisher for providing an early copy of this book.

Profile Image for Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms.
2,724 reviews331 followers
March 29, 2020
*I received a free copy of The Summer Deal. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review which is honest and unbiased.*

Shalvis has managed to create a cast of characters that felt so real to me! Sometimes, I wanted to slap them, and other times, I just wanted to hug them and tell them that everything would somehow be OK.
The intricate relationships, and the very different personalities of the characters were the two things that moved the story forward. And I am a big fan of character driven stories. Shalvis had two girls who hated each other at summer camp meet again as adults. Life had not been easy on either of them, but they both thought that other people's lives were better than their own. (And isn't that just something we do?)
Enter a very nice, sexy and handsome Eli, who was linked to both women in the past, and who wanted something more in the present.
A lovely, beautifully written romance that will make your heart soar!
Profile Image for Asheley T..
1,309 reviews118 followers
June 12, 2020
Brynn Turner and Kinsey Davis have known each other since they were little kids. Their relationship has always been contentious and volatile at best. The girls attended the same summer camp year after year, and they never got along…then one summer, Kinsey stopped coming to camp. That’s when summer camp became fun for Brynn because there was no more bullying from Kinsey.

Now their paths have crossed again, years later. They become reluctant roommates, sharing a house with brothers Eli and Max. Eli has been Kinsey’s best friend for her entire life. Max is Eli’s brother. This is the story about how they all learned to get along and love one another as family.

I’m leaving a lot out because I don’t want to be spoilery, but you should know that I loved The Summer Deal. Jill Shalvis does what I completely expected her to go: create a cast of characters that I love, that I wish I knew in real life, that I ended up falling completely for even though Kinsey does her very best to be unlikable. The story features the evolving relationship between Brynn and Kinsey in a way that moves forward from the present, but also includes snippets from both girls’ journals since the year they first met. This way, I was able to see that living together and moving on from their difficult past was something they were working on and I was able to see exactly how and why things were so hard for them to get along as children. I didn’t really love their path to reconciliation and friendship, because there was enough push-and-pull and secrecy to make it feel a little stressful. BUT I appreciate that it must have been hard for them and I like the way it all ended. Truthfully, I still don’t really know if I really like Kinsey all that much but I appreciate where they ended up.

Both girls have romances. Brynn’s romance is sweet in that her love interest is interesting and genuinely fantastic, and he’s a guy that has crushed on her for years. Kinsey’s romance is sweet in that her love interest must be the most patient man in the entire world. He sees the best in her even when she isn’t being nice to him at all. The evolution of Kinsey’s romantic relationship was as chaotic as her relationship with Brynn, to be honest. But both guys are pretty irresistible, which is another thing I love about every Jill Shalvis book. I love the way the romances ended up.

There is humor too. And a dog! And sunshine and water sports and great banter. I inhaled this book here at my house, but I had serious beach and poolside vibes while I was reading! I completely recommend taking this one outside or on vacation if you can. This book is technically the fifth book in the Wildstone Series, but it reads perfectly fine as a standalone.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you, William Morrow Books!

Find this review and more like it on my blog, Into the Hall of Books!
Profile Image for maggieandteddy.
1,052 reviews122 followers
September 7, 2020
I read and listened to this one. I just loved Erin Mallon's narration. This is 3rd person POV & She did all the voices.
There are 3 main characters: Kinsey & Eli are best friends since childhood; and Brynn. All 3 meet at
summer camp when they're young kids. All 3 attend each year. Kinsey & Brynn's thoughts and feelings are told each year in a journal entry. Brynn thinks of Kinsey as a bully, and Kinsey is bitter about a chronic illness & is resentful of Brynn's happy homelife. Eli likes Brynn, but neither of them
are secure enough to say how they feel. Then, there is present day when they all meet up again.
Brynn does have the best homelife-she has 2 moms- Reyna & Olive. I just love Reyna's earthmother, hipster, style helicopter- mothering style. I think that Reyna steals ever scene.
The friend/frenemies dynamic was fascinating. I normally do not like flash-backs. The Brynn & Kinsey journal entries are brief & do not slow down the flow of present day.
It seems easy to dislike Kinsey. She keeps everyone at a distance, but there is a very good reason for that. Eli and Brynn's growing attraction was sweet. The real big story is Kinsey & Brynn's relationship. I would have liked a few more details about Eli's past. I do give him a lot of credit for being such a good friend to Kinsey & for being so patient with Brynn's shy hesitant personality.
I thought the ending was building up nicely, but it finished a little weak for me.
I would love to read this again. I do think that this would be a great book club/buddy read.
I need to mention, the great majority of the time is spent in present day. I've read some books that really put WAY too much emphasis on the high school years. I think that adolescent and preteen years are way more important in forming our selves and relationships.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,874 reviews1,879 followers
June 10, 2020
You may remember that late last year I finally discovered Jill Shalvis and in that short amount of time I’ve become such a huge fan. There’s a handful of authors that I can truly depend on to take me on a fun, entertaining escape and she is definitely one of them. Also, look at that cover, I mean have you ever seen a more perfect one for summer? The inside is amazing as well.

So this one is much more than just a summer romance novel. Yes, there is romance (two actually 😍🔥) but it’s also about friendship and family as well, truly a little bit of everything for everyone. It also has the author’s trademark fantastic characterization, every single person in this book feels so authentic and relatable on some level. A cute little addition that I adored was journal entries from two of the main characters back when they were frenemies at summer camp, and oh yes instead of a friends to lovers romantic relationship the two female leads have a love/hate relationship. I’m telling ya, this was such a fun one and a perfect addition to summer reading!

Profile Image for April Marie.
168 reviews1 follower
September 22, 2020
Not my kind of book. So juvenile both the script between the characters and the writing. I didn’t feel close to any of the characters. I felt myself rolling my eyes at dialog more often than not. So predictable and I’m really not even sure there was a plot worth 350 pages. But I’m not a quitter so I dragged my feet through the mud to finish.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
2,182 reviews82 followers
May 29, 2020
4.5 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

The Summer Deal is a love note to messy, wonderful families, both the ones we make and the ones we’re born into. Jill Shalvis’s fifth Wildstone novel features the imperfect characters and bumpy roads to a heartwarming happily ever after that I’ve come to expect and enjoy from this series.

Brynn has come home to Wildstone with a bruised heart and a lack of trust in her own instincts. Brynn is kind, quirky, and somewhat of a mess at the beginning but I loved watching her learn to stand up for herself over the course of the story. The person who pushes her to do that isn’t a love interest, but rather her old summer camp frenemy (and secret half-sister), Kinsey. Kinsey claims to have a black heart but really what she is is fearful. She’s been sick most of her life and has been battling kidney transplant rejection for years. Kinsey feels like she has an expiration date and she doesn’t want to hurt others by letting them in, so she pushes them away first. She and Brynn don’t have the best history, but Ms. Shalvis shows why each of them acted the way they did as children and it makes sense. These are flawed heroines, but they’re relatable because of it and it’s easy to root for both of them.

Brynn and Kinsey’s relationship is central to The Summer Deal , but that doesn’t mean Ms. Shalvis skimped on the romance. Kinsey is clearly in love with her non-boyfriend Deck, a caring, incredibly patient nurse and father. It’s obvious from the start that Deck wants more with Kinsey, but her fear may cost them a shot at happiness. And the main love story is between Brynn and Kinsey’s lifelong best friend, Eli. Eli might just be one of my favorite Jill Shalvis heroes. He’s a sexy-as-sin marine biologist with a marshmallow heart. Eli has been rejected more than once by people who should have loved him and he’s afraid of getting hurt (a theme in this story). But Brynn has always captured his interest so she slides quite easily into his heart. Eli cares for people deeply and it shows every time he’s on the page. He’s pretty much the perfect hero and I can’t count how often he made me melt. It was easy for me to fall into his and Brynn’s romance and even though I could see the obstacles that would inevitably come their way, I was rooting for them every step of the way.

The Summer Deal is a heartwarming story of healing, family, and love. I enjoyed everything about this book and I look forward to revisiting Brynn, Kinsey, Eli, and Deck again soon.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Taryn.
833 reviews21 followers
June 2, 2020
Brynn Turner is forever trying to get her life on track but life seems to have other plans for her. Things will start to look up but life gets in the way and she has to take several steps back and change directions. When her personal life takes a nose dive she decides it's time to go home back to Wildstone for a fresh start. On her first day back she has an anxiety attack, her mom's rushing her to the hospital thinking it is something worse. While there she runs into Eli, her childhood crush, he also happens to be best friends with her biggest foe Kinsey Davis. You see the three spent years going to camp together where Kinsey made it her job to make Brynn's life a living hell. Brynn soon realizes to make a fresh start she has to get out of her mom's house. Eli sets out a deal for Brynn hoping to help her make the changes she wants to make in her life. Brynn agrees but isn't sure how long she will last and if she can trust what Eli is saying. Follow along as Eli puts his plan forth hoping to make friends out of Brynn as Kinsey yet. Will he help both of them realize that they are what is best for each other? Can he get Brynn to truly see him? Will his plan work for the better? This was an emotional read that will take you on a roller coaster ride with ups and downs the whole way through.
Profile Image for Aly.
2,328 reviews67 followers
June 8, 2020
It's not the first time I say this, but Jill Shalvis have a knack for characters. Because no matter the flaws some have, they're always lovable. Friends, enemies, long-time crush and friends with benefits, the author explore all the dynamics in the 5th book of the Wildstone series. You can still read it as a standalone and while I enjoy reading all kind of books no matter the season, the cover doesn't lie; it's the perfect beach read! I've always loved stories where characters kind of become a family without really realizing it and JS did it brilliantly with The Summer Deal. Serious Brynn, Grumpy Kinsey, Sweet Deck and Charming Eli, I felt for each and every one of them. Last but not least, I love how naturally JS show diversity.
August 18, 2020
After a bad breakup, Brynn returns back to Wildstone, California for the comfort of her home and her two doting mothers. Things aren't going well for Brynn. She suffers a panic attack and ends up in the ER. While there, she runs into her former friend from summer camp, Eli. This isn't just any camp friend from her teenage years. This guy is her first crush and her first kiss. Eli is at the ER with Kinsey Davis, his best friend who is seriously ill. Brynn and Kinsey did not get along at camp; in fact, they hate each other, which is pretty awkward for Eli. However, Eli is happy to have Brynn back in his life and when they meet up again, he invites her to live in his beach house as they are looking for a new roommate. Brynn needs a new start, so she takes him up on it. However, Kinsey is a housemate, so cue all the drama. However, Kinsey is no longer the summer camp mean girl that Brynn thinks she is. She is dealing with very a serious health issues that has impacted her greatly and while looking for a kidney transplant, she finds out that Brynn is her half-sister. Brynn obviously doesn't know this and Kinsey won't tell her. On the other hand, Eli wants Kinsey to tell her the truth, because they both could benefit from this new relationship more than they ever anticipated. The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis is quintessential summer reading with a lot of heart and relationships that you will want to root for.
Read the rest of my review here: http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...
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