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Sunkissed

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Will the stars align?

Avery has always used music as an escape. But after her best friend betrays her, even her perfectly curated playlists can't help her forget what happened. To make matters worse, her parents have dragged her and her social-media-obsessed sister to a remote family camp for two months of "fun." Just when Avery is ready to give up on the summer altogether, she meets Brooks—mysterious, frustratingly charming Brooks—who just happens to be on staff—which means he's off-limits.

What starts as a disaster turns into . . . something else. As the outside world falls away, Avery embarks on a journey of self-discovery. And when Brooks offers her the chance of a lifetime, she must figure out how far is she willing to go to find out what she wants and who she wants to be.

Fan favorite Kasie West is back with another unforgettable summer romance that reminds us falling in love is full of wonder, heartache, and—most of all—surprises.

305 pages, Hardcover

First published May 4, 2021

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About the author

Kasie West

24 books17.1k followers
I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, BY YOUR SIDE, LUCKY IN LOVE, LOVE LIFE and the LIST, LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, FAME FATE and the FIRST KISS, MAYBE THIS TIME, and MOMENT OF TRUTH. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.

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5 stars
2,186 (24%)
4 stars
3,456 (39%)
3 stars
2,573 (29%)
2 stars
461 (5%)
1 star
95 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,447 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,072 reviews38.2k followers
August 12, 2022
Wow! Any Katie West novel guarantees you full package of 3S: softness, sweetness,swooning!

If you need something to brighten your mood after surviving at new not so normal pandemic craziness and spend your time with something motivating, inspirational, lighthearted to warm your heart , help to forget your daily stress, your worries, troubles, getting urgent appointment to be vaccinated, you find the best book which will check your boxes to give you a genuine smile!

This reminded me of innocent version of Dirty Dancing ! A family trip at the camp, young heroine’s crush to the staff member who is off limits and an annoying sister who is always in her face! Yes, did you catch the resemblances? I was expecting Brooks tell Avery’ s parents nobody puts her in a corner at the last chapter of the book!

Our sweet couple’s passion was music, instead of showing their mambo moves!
Both of the characters are sweeter than upside down pineapple cake ( which I’m devouring now after my 7 days torturous cleansing diet killed me slowly) , more relatable than your entire siblings ( or irritating aunt, wanker uncle, asocial cousin, pick any or your weird family members! )

As like the author’s previous works , this is easy to read, easy to connect with characters, easy to get lost in their story! Avery’s struggles, her personal growth was motivational and her blooming romance with Brooks makes your heart pound faster, widen your smile, brush your soul!

Overall: I got what I expected! I finished so fast ( it took only three hours of mine!) I feel lighter, relaxed, joyful! That’s the cure Kasie West books provide us! Giving my four musical notes, self discovery, growing pains, sweet liberty, camping fire stars!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s/ Delacorte Press for providing me this digital reviewer copy in exchange my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
603 reviews472 followers
December 28, 2022
Kasie West is my go to author when it comes to ya contemporaries. For years she's been my favourite and by now I know with her books I can't go wrong.

Sunkissed was entertaining, fun, fluffy at times and perfect pick to spend a relaxing day with.
I read it twice and enjoyed it both times.

The book was written in first person which made it so easy to flew through. Avery was a good narrator to follow and I have to say, she had good sense of humour.
You know who had even better sense of humour? Her sister. I enjoyed conversations between them and liked their relationship even more than Avery's and Brooks (who is the love interest).

If you like music and happen to like music making, this story could be the one for you because it features the bend and all the things that go along with it: writing, rehearsals, member fights, live gigs...

I wish we got to see more of family camp Avery visited with her family, and if the author decided to include at least one or two camp visitors as well, but overall it was a good book that I would recommend to ya contemporary summer reads.
Profile Image for Ali Goodwin.
116 reviews8,421 followers
August 7, 2022
3.5 stars!! Super cute light YA summer romance. I love that it takes place at a summer camp. That is such a cute setting!!
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,390 reviews77.2k followers
November 21, 2022
"Sometimes staying in the box we've made for ourselves is so easy. It's comfortable and familiar in there. And a lot of times, the people around us want us to stay in there, too, because that's how they've always known us: in that box. But sometimes we start to change, grow, and the box begins to get small and cramped. And yet, we fight to stay inside because the walls are high and climbing out seems harder than staying."

💕 🌈 🌊 ☀️

description
Profile Image for Sofie |.
243 reviews148 followers
May 4, 2021
Will I read absolutely anything Kasie West writes? Yes. Yes I will.

______

Thank you NetGalley, and Caitlin at RHCB for the e-arc for review!

“Sometimes staying in the box we’ve made for ourselves is so easy. It’s comfortable and familiar in there. And a lot of times, the people around us want us to stay in there, too, because that’s how they’ve always known us: in that box.”


Sunkissed follows Avery Young as she spends her summer before senior year at an activity camp with her family, flirts with a (very cute) off-limits staff member, and makes it her summer goal to get out of her comfort zone.

West has a way with cute teen romance. Her novels always leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. I think my reading experience of Sunkissed, however, might be a little coloured because, y'all, I LOVED Kasie's last book, Moment of Truth. I'm a sucker for romance with history behind it (whether it be childhood rivals, falling-for-your-best-friend, secret pen-pals, boy-next-door...) so it has been a long while since I've read a YA romance that just... happens.

Avery meets Brooks, the lead guitarist of the dinner band who performs every night at camp, and they arrange a deal: Avery will help Brooks with lyrics for his music, and he will help her find new experiences. Seems pretty straight forward, and it was. It was cute. The tension and conflicts were quickly resolved, the stakes never felt too high, and the pair just sort of fell together over the summer. The quick pace of the novel made the relationship feel a bit fast, but I think an entire summer in reality is a fair amount of time for a romance to bloom.

Still, everything just felt a little surface level to me. And don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that. I've read many YA novels that are pure fluff, no stakes, and sometimes, it works. I think I just expected something a little deeper from West after Moment of Truth (which, if you haven't read it, READ IT!!)

Personally, I would have liked to see a bit more inner dialogue from Avery, to really show her struggling with coming out of her shell, meeting new people, trying new things. We got a taste of it, and then the story shifted almost entirely to the music contest plot, and we lost all the other exciting things Avery could have tried. And I know that stage-fright was a massive hurdle to overcome, but with the laser focus on the band (and her budding romance), everything else that I was enjoying about the novel sort of fell away.

The characters were cute. I would have liked to see Avery spend some time with some of the other people at camp, whether it be some other staff, her sister, or her parents. Most of the chapters we did get with her family were sped through for the sake of pacing, but I think there were moments we could have lingered a bit more on, particularly in regards to Avery and her dad.

Still, West always manages to paint a pretty picture. I loved the atmosphere of the camp. It made me nostalgic for summer and sun and lake-views and everything that was so wonderful about those glorious months off from school. Sunkissed is probably a great novel to get you out of reading slump, and is the perfect length to boost your number on your Goodreads challenge. Not my favourite from West (from whom, obviously, I will STILL read ANYTHING), but about as inoffensive and breezy as you can get!
Profile Image for aly ☆彡 .
337 reviews901 followers
September 6, 2022
For someone who seems to outgrow YA and have read romance in a stretch, this book is surprisingly enjoyable! If I have to describe it as a movie, have to say that this kinda reminds me of Camp Rock. Indeed, perfect to be read in the summer (p/s: people been referencing it to Dirty Dancing tho but I have never watched the movie so...)

This also brings me to say that Sunkissed is my first Kasie West book and and as a first-time reader, I'm delighted it was a good one. The book starts off as cliche and neither the plot description nor the first chapter drew me in, so I am surprised at how uplifting yet moving it turns out to be.

I am foremost floored by Avery's character who I can find myself identifying with. She's timid, a people pleaser and always put herself second in which this book main takeaway is on Avery's journey to putting her needs first as well as discovering her wants and dreams. Her growth was something I take joy in reading.

Meanwhile, Brooks started on the wrong foot as I find his character petty in the beginning. Thought maybe it comes from the past wound but turns out, it was nothing as such. Opportunely, he comes to redeem himself with the sweet gestures while also giving off the 'book boyfriend' vibe. Though admittedly, it still didn't help to make his character any more entrancing. And the same could be said to his other band mates, I'm sorry.

Contrary to few others, I guessed not having any expectation into the book helps me feeling less dissatisfy. I enjoyed the premise of the book; so many real world and great family message. Nevertheless, I do find few things falling short; like Avery's dispute with her best friend as well as the conflict between Avery and the band towards the end. It's either poorly executed or felt unneccesary, that it simply there for the drama. The flow of the book is still engaging though and the pace is exemplary, making this book easier to read.

I also find Avery and Brooks adorable but their romance could be better. The chemistry between the two are mostly based on mutual interest and personableness, but for some reasons still inadequate to make readers feel connected. If the author could empower it more with interactions and moments, they would have been perfect. Still love the two of them and their first time kissing was incomparable.

I initially rated this with four stars, but after writing this review, I believe the book could be improved in some aspects. Even so, Sunkissed still and all a cute summer camp love interest and it was perfect to kick off the summer with! I finished the book with warmth and great feeling.

[3.5/5]
Profile Image for Snjez.
699 reviews325 followers
August 27, 2021
Not my favourite by this author. I expected something light and summery and I liked the idea of the family camp, but I found the story disappointing in the end for several reasons.

Profile Image for Bhavya .
476 reviews821 followers
June 5, 2022
"Sometimes staying in the box we’ve made for ourselves is so easy. It’s comfortable and familiar in there. And a lot of times, the people around us want us to stay in there, too, because that’s how they’ve always known us: in that box. (...) But sometimes we start to change, grow, and the box begins to get small and cramped. And yet we fight to stay inside because the walls are high and climbing out seems harder than staying."


~ Rating- 1 star ~

Content/ Trigger Warnings-
Terminal illness, Emesis

Note- I have tried to include all the content warnings that I noticed, but there is no guarantee that I haven’t missed something.

-No Mention of these in the review-

"What’s tomorrow look like from over there? Because from here it looks a lot like yesterday, and I’m tired of trying to rewrite history."


Sunkissed, by Kasie West was a book I was quite excited to read, but the moment I started reading it, I knew it wouldn't be for me. Kasie West's books had slowly become stories I was enjoying a lot, but this one missed the mark entirely and I'm not sure I will be reading more by the author. I'm keeping this brief (as I have 63 more reviews to write).

"But if you aren’t feeling like yourself lately, if you’re feeling uncomfortable and a bit cramped, maybe it’s time to start climbing."


➼The plot was very typical YA. I'm not bothering with a plot summary as there's nothing really that happens. The lack of 'diversity' also just made it harder for me to connect with anyone. This felt like a mix of On the Fence and P.S. I Like You, and it had nothing unique to offer.

➼The writing was ok, and had some good quotes, but it was cringey and cliché at times. The characters didn't really sound like teenagers, and I did not like the writing for some reason I can't explain.

➼The characters are the weakest part of the book. They have no personality, have very little development and they are just carbon cut-outs of all YA stereotypes and characters that already exist. I found it incredibly hard to relate to any of these characters, their personalities or experiences, so the book just became incredibly boring to read.

➼We have a quirky 'not like other girls' MC, a 'brooding love interest with a tragic past', a 'shallow sibling who cares for no one and is the exact opposite of the MC', etc. I'm not saying that we have to relate to characters to read a book about them, but they should still be interesting and well-written, which I felt wasn't the case here.

"Music is a love language, isn’t it?"


Overall, I am dissatisfied with Sunkissed, and wish it was a better read. However, I'd recommend it if this interests you.

"Initial impressions are stupid. Superficial. If people really cared, they’d want to know more than their first thoughts about a person."


Review written & uploaded on 15th November 2021.

Storygraph Review. Storygraph. Spotify. Youtube. Pinterest. Linktree.

DISCLAIMER-All opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed are my own, and are with no intention to offend anyone. If you feel offended by my reviews, let me know how I can fix it.

How I Rate-
1 star- Hardly liked anything/ was disappointed
2 star- Had potential but did not deliver/ was disappointed
3 stars- Was ok but could have been better/ was average / Enjoyed a lot but something was missing
4 stars- Loved a lot but something was missing
5 stars- Loved it/ new favourite

..................................................

This... wasn't that good. The characters were shallow, the romance had no chemistry and this felt like a mash of Kasie West's other books. It was disappointing. Review to come.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,157 reviews448 followers
October 27, 2022
Want a sunny read with a bit of sass? This Kasie West book will be just what you are looking for. Avery and her family are on an adventure. They are spending two months at a summer camp without access to the internet. Is this utopia or u-torture-me? It takes a few days for Avery and younger sister Lauren to find their happy place on vacation. All that off-screen time is going to show them things about themselves and their relationships that they might not have realized before. Love the band storyline (especially their "Love Song" performance) and the clean romance. Kasie West does not disappoint.

Sometimes the stars align
Sometimes the path seems moved for you
sometimes it's just in time
Exactly when hope was almost through
And sometimes is all I need
And more than I deserved
So I read into every sign
Because sometimes, yes this time, brought me you
~ Brooks

Sometimes the moon goes dark
And the path ahead unclear
Sometimes I miss my mark
And I'm living in constant fear
But sometimes is all I need
To grow and try and learn
Because sometimes, yes this time, sometimes brought me you.
~ Avery
Profile Image for Christy.
3,714 reviews31.6k followers
May 26, 2021
3.5 stars

Sunkissed was a cute Kasie West book. Not my favorite of hers, but I still really enjoyed Brooks and Avery's story. I love that so many of Kasie's books are inspired by 80's/90's movies and this one was inspired by Dirty Dancing which is a movie I love. Avery spends the summer with her family at a summer camp and meets Brooks, who works at the camp. This one was sweet, fun, and a tad bit predictable but overall a good listen.

Audio book source: Libby (library borrow)
Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Narrators: Phoebe Strole
Narration Rating:4 stars
Genre: YA romance
Length: 8 hours and 48 minutes
Profile Image for abigailscupoftea.
132 reviews1,559 followers
July 22, 2021
this book was so wholesome! 🥺 kasie west is one of my comfort authors and this book delivered all the cozy summer feels. avery had so much character development and i was so proud of her for facing her fears. i really enjoyed the love story with brooks, the family dynamics, the friendships, the band members (especially charismatic kai!), and the fun summer camp setting.
🌞🌊🍄🪵🍃🏹

favorite quotes:

✨ “sometimes staying in the box we’ve made for ourselves is so easy. it’s comfortable and familiar in there. and a lot of times, the people around us want us to stay in there, too, because that’s how they’ve always known us: in that box. but sometimes we start to change, grow, and the box begins to get small and cramped. and yet we fight to stay inside because the walls are high and climbing out seems harder than staying.”

✨ “tonight is a new moon. it’s a chance to start over.”
“i like new moons.”
“me too.” 🌑

✨ “plus you owe me all your future children. so there’s that.”
Profile Image for Mika Auguste.
153 reviews2,554 followers
April 26, 2022
i genuinely love kasie west so much because she just always knows the perfect formula for a good YA book, and even though this one wasn’t my absolute favorite of hers i still really enjoyed it. this is definitely a perfect quick romance read for the summer!

3.75 stars
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
525 reviews648 followers
May 17, 2021
*4.5/5 stars*

Sunkissed was really great light summer read! On the Fence is still my #1, but Sunkissed has now become one of my favourite KW books as well alongside with The Distance Between Us, Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss or The Fill-In Boyfriend.

Sunkissed takes place at a summer camp. Avery, alongside with her parents and a sister, are spending the summer there. She is glad for the chance to get away from her life for several months, especially when she learned that her best friend kissed her recetly-ex-boyfriend who she wanted to get back together with. Avery has always been the peacemaker, the go with the flow type, the non dramatic one in comparison to her passionate sister. She doesn't know what she actually wants to do, what she's passionate about or how to stand up for herself. What awaits her is a summer full of fun, adventure, self-discovery and music.

I don't always love all of KW's main heroines (I've actively disliked only one of all of them, from Lucky in Love, but some of them were rather unmemorable, hello By Your Side), but Avery I really liked as a main character and enjoyed following her journey, she had a pretty great arc of self development and discovery. It was rather cliché sometimes of course, as these types of cute summer reads can be occasionally, but I enjoyed it for this too. A little bit of sweetness and fluff and lightness didn't hurt anybody from time to time. And that's exactly what this book was.

Brooks was a nice love interest, I enjoyed Avery's and his interections. What I really liked about this book was the relationship between Avery and Lauren, her sister. I liked how different they were from each other, how they didn't always understand each other and had some tiffs, and how much they ultimately loved each other. I liked the romance quite a bit, but Avery's journey and he journey with her sister maybe most of all.

Overall, definitely recommended if you want a dose of summer camp lightness, easy to read fluff and cuteness, themes of music, cute romance, important (and sometimes rocky) sisterly relationship.

“Sometimes staying in the box we’ve made for ourselves is so easy. It’s comfortable and familiar in there. And a lot of times, the people around us want us to stay in there, too, because that’s how they’ve always known us: in that box. But sometimes we start to change, grow, and the box begins to get small and cramped. And yet we fight to stay inside because the walls are high and climbing out seems harder than staying.”

*********************************


My rating of all KW contemporaries:


The Distance Between Us ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

On the Fence ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

The Fill-In Boyfriend ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

P.S. I Like You ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)

By Your Side ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars)

Lucky in Love ★☆☆☆☆ (1/5 stars)

Love, Life, and the List ★☆☆☆☆ (1/5 stars)

Listen to Your Heart ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

Moment of Truth ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)

Maybe This Time ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)

Sunkissed ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Profile Image for mads.
318 reviews340 followers
May 5, 2021
Actual Rating: 4.5⭐️

I was a bit hesitant about this one because, even though I love Kasie West, her past few books have been a bit meh for me. I was really pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this one. I'd even venture to say it's one of Kasie West's best books yet.

It definitely had a different vibe from what I was expecting, which was actually for the better. A lot of YA books center on finding yourself, but there was something about the precise struggles Avery was going through that really resonated with me.

I've been thinking about the line: "It felt like it was taunting me. Like it was saying, You wish your life could be bigger and more exciting but it can't be because you're the one living it." since I read it last night. I haven't felt this called out (in a good way) by a book in a looong time.

So yes, anyway, read this book for cute summer vibes and an existential crisis.
Profile Image for ☀︎El In Oz☀︎.
484 reviews293 followers
June 22, 2021
3.5/5

Kasie West’s latest novel is a really sweet contemporary romance perfect for a quick summer read. Set during the summer itself, it’s a short and fluffy romance.

That being said I feel this book lacked the depth that some of Kasie’s previous books have. My personal favourite of hers, Moment Of Truth, dealt with some really important and interesting topics. This book didn’t have any deep struggles for the characters, the huge thing was ‘finding yourself’. It felt very surface level throughout the entire tale, not really diving into anything but rather skimming over and keeping everything light.

Our main character, Avery, is likeable enough. Most YA romance heroines are the same to be honest and I can’t say Avery is much different. She’s nice to read about I suppose but, again, kinda 2-D.

Brooks, the love interest, is okay. I honestly have never really fallen for any boy in a contemporary, so don’t think it’s a bad sign. But when it seemed Brooks would have some depth, it wasn’t explored.

The plot itself, again, was easy and breezy. No real problems and everything went well. The ending was really unsatisfying for me though.

At the end of the day this was an enjoyable romance but it wasn’t long enough or had enough meaning for me to be able to properly enjoy it.
September 11, 2021
I had to bring this book to a livestock show while I waited for my sheep to be judged, that was hard, this book was easy.

Even with hundreds of sheep, a few cows, goats, hogs, and people, my attention on the book could remain consistent. I feel like that says a lot.

Profile Image for Beatrice Masaluñga.
1,135 reviews1,656 followers
October 18, 2021
Thank you Penguin Random House International for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

How long has it been since I last read a Kasie West book? She's one of my go-to YA authors whose novels take away effectively my reading slump. Sunkissed is a good summer themed story set in camp. Avery Young and her family spend their vacation in the mountains, no internet connection and physical activities.

Sometimes it's nice to unwind away from the social media and reflect. Avery is a quiet, talented girl who loves music but needs to overcome her stage fright. With the help of Brooks, the boy she met at the camp and is part of the band, worked together in a competition. Both worked on their music secretively.

The story is decent but something is missing. The main characters lacked the romance build up and I find them platonic. The ending was cute but I am not head-over-heels in love with it unlike The Distance Between Us or On the Fence. I miss that vibe.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews361 followers
January 26, 2021
This was absolutely everything I needed when I needed it.

Who doesn't love a sweet coming of age story that will make you smile, melt your heart a little and wish you knew all these amazing characters in real life because, once again, West has made them seem so real. Characters that you have come to care about and most of all, love.

West has this amazing ability to make outstanding characters that stick with you long after her stories are through. Stories filled with wonderful friendships and family, with real situations that almost anyone can relate to and mixes them all together to make one heck of a feel good story.

She is one of those authors that I come to time and time again because I know I will always get a good story. One that will leave me with warm fuzzies and a smile on my face.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,856 reviews1,497 followers
February 1, 2022
This was pretty good as a YA story, though the romance didn't thrill me any. I really liked Avery and the relationship with her sister felt genuine and endearing. Their parents were a bit strange, at times harsh and others fairly caring. But that made them feel pretty real, too.

I had a bit of trouble with Avery because she's very much a people pleaser and fairly weak about it. The story arc was clearly going to include her growth on that dimension, though, so I stuck it out. And I'm glad it worked out as well as it did.

The music angle was a sideline for too long, but it turned out stronger than I expected. Indeed, the final bit with Avery and Brooks exchanging some banter over their music felt so genuine and engaging I totally got the appeal for their audience.

And I know that all sounds pretty tepid for a book I'm giving four stars. That speaks to West's skill as an author and having some stand-out side characters and enough plot to keep the pace up. A lot of this was outside my taste and I was still engaged throughout.

A note about Chaste: Avery and Brooks are both a bit gun shy for reasons of character. So they don't really do much more than kissing, and that late in the story. So this is extremely chaste, I think.
Profile Image for exploraDora.
520 reviews250 followers
August 8, 2021
***4 stars***

Sunkissed is a super cute, teen romance. But that's not the only focus, because this book is also about self-discovery and stepping out of your comfort zone. It's a coming of age story, with building friendships and family issues weaved together.

The summer before her senior year, Avery is about to spend two whole months at a camping resort with her parents and her 15 year old sister, Lauren. The camp has every summer activity imaginable, but it doesn't have Wi-Fi or cell reception. And that's not the only problem - Avery and Lauren are polar opposites in pretty much every way. While Avery is a people pleaser and an introvert who has no idea what she wants from life, her sister is a total extrovert who has a passion for video making and is a master at social media.

The story is partly centered around family, but fear not because summer camp equals summer romance and those expectations are met when Avery meets Brooks, a resort employee who plays guitar in the band that entertains during dinner meals. At first they don't really like each other, but their feelings quickly turn into attraction, even though the staff isn't allowed to mingle with the guests. The journey that lies ahead of Avery became more than she expects and the outcome had me 💯 pleased.

I was swept away by this book! I particularly loved the summer camp setting and the whole cast of characters.
Quick and light-hearted, this is everything I wanted in a summer book 🌞🌴🌊
Profile Image for Lindsay (pawsomereads).
576 reviews360 followers
April 3, 2021
When Avery Young finds out that her best friend and boyfriend kissed, she’s more than happy to escape on a family vacation with her parents and younger sister, Lauren, to a remote campsite in the mountains. Running, hiding and just trying to keep the peace has always been Avery’s way of keeping herself safe. But this summer, she’s ready for a change. She’s looking to branch out and break out of her shell, which she works to accomplish with the help of Brooks, an attractive bass player in the camp’s band. The two make a deal that Brooks will help Avery explore more around the camp, and Avery will help Brooks with his song writing. The more time they spend together, the more Avery’s dreams grow. The only question now is whether she’s brave enough to go after them.
Kasie West never fails to write the sweetest YA romance that bring an extra layer of depth. Being an older sister myself, I really enjoyed the storyline that focused on the sibling relationship between Avery and Lauren. They didn’t alway see eye to eye, but they grew so much as people and sisters by the end of the book.
This story focused a lot on music and that’s one of my personal favorite topics to read about in books! Following Avery and Brooks as they bonded over the song writing process was adorable. They were a super cute couple and I loved seeing them open up to each other more and more throughout the book. They learned important life lessons from each other and I think that’s what takes this beyond just a surface-level romance.
I think some twists were kind of predictable but it was still really fun and cute. It was a fast and easy-breezy read that will be perfect to pick up this summer!
Thank you so much to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with a copy of theirs book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Rida Quraishi.
381 reviews65 followers
May 24, 2021
If I ever feel like I need a light read or if I feel I'm heading towards a reading slump, I can always trust Kasie West's books to rescue me 🤩

Sunkissed is about Avery, who goes to a summer camp with her family after being betrayed by her best friend and ex-boyfriend. She's crushed but since she has this urge to just smooth things over with everyone, she can't really face the situation and doesn't know what to do. In the middle of the camp, she realises that she's sick of being called the "predictable" one and wants to try out new things and Brooks, the lead guitarist and singer from the band that plays at the camp, soon becomes her good friend and agrees to help her in exchange of her help with his songs. And thus begins our summer romance! ❤️

I really liked the setting of this book! It created a great picture in my head. Avery's struggle with all the things she was going through was inspirational and I think that was the highlight for me in this book. I really enjoyed the friendship that developed between Brooks and her, which later turned into sizzling chemistry. I really liked reading about those two, smiling all the time ❤️

I just wish there was more development... We were shown a conflict between Brooks and his mom but that wasn't really developed and was just resolved. It felt flat to me. I mean, there were threads of things thrown here and there but in the end, everything did not come together.
But, all in all, I did enjoy it. I got what I expected out of it, which was a light, fluffy, summer romance.
Profile Image for Oceana.
592 reviews727 followers
August 14, 2022
A bit young for my taste now. There wasn’t anything wrong about it though. Better for teen readers!
Profile Image for Hannah B..
692 reviews865 followers
October 27, 2021
✨This was quite atrocious✨

I didn’t connect with the story, I didn’t connect with the characters, I didn’t connect with the music, and somehow (?) I didn’t connect with the practical ADULT trying to get with the 15-year-old.

Side note: I get it, I’m 23 and this is YA so I’m not talking about a soul connection but I generally like to be invested in the story, sue me. There was no connection because this was straight up boring.

They made damn sure to mention that Kai was WAY too old for Lauren—like I said practically an adult here!—and then just GLOSSED over Brooks having to tell Kai not to and Kai had the audacity to be ANGRY about it. I’m just SO CONFUSED why this was even added to the book???? I can’t remember how old Kai was exactly (I blacked a lot of this book out) but it was said enough times to make me so uncomfortable with the fact that he WANTED to get with her even though he never did. He should never have had to be TOLD to stay away. And then Avery just IGNORED it.

Avery was also just so wishy washy. Brooks was a little shit with no personality. I cannot believe he even deigned to think Avery shouldn’t be the one to sing that motherfuckin song at that show. Instead of a mic drop she should have just punched him in the face after she was done.

Together, the two had zero chemistry. Avery’s issue with her friend was also wishy washy because she was such a pushover and how it all ended NEGATED her progress CUT 👏🏼 HER 👏🏼 OFF 👏🏼 now that’s what I call GROWTH.

Avery was also like 17-years-old but her inner thoughts and actions were just so young. I get that this is YA but it almost read like middle grade.

This did not spark joy.

⭐️⭐️/5
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,672 reviews701 followers
May 4, 2021
I don’t think I’ll ever say no to a Kasie West book.

I loved Avery. She’s struggling and maybe a bit uncertain and being in her head was fantastic. Her sister Lauren was a delightful distraction with a lot more going on than it seems. Brooks is a little broody and stand off-ish at first, but with good reason.

Plot wise, it was good. As with any Kasie book, there are a lot of sweet moments, a good amount of fluff, and minimal angst and this was no exception. I could have happily read 100 more pages with these two and desperately wanted more of a future take, but I really enjoyed this slice of time.

Overall, it was a quick, fun read. I loved this camp setting and the characters who came with it.

**Huge thanks to Delacorte Press for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,330 reviews94 followers
May 7, 2021
This had some cute and funny moments, but ended up being just ok for me. It felt like there were a lot of things recycled from some of West's other books - the songwriting from "PS I Like you", the making a list of things to do to expand your horizons like "Life, Love, and the List", the outdoorsy setting like "Listen to your Heart." It was just kind of odd. I liked the main character well enough, but felt pretty ambivalent about everyone else, including the love interest. I also felt like she spent the whole book trying to become a better version of herself and then it happened all at once at the end. This probably isn't one I would read again, but I'll still look forward to the next Kasie West book.
Profile Image for nαомι αndιno.
170 reviews53 followers
May 9, 2021
A family trip with *cue gasps* no wifi!! I loved this because this accidentally happened to me on a family vacation about 3 years ago! Except that I did not have an annoying sister and a cute off-limits staff member :(

Avery was pretty relieved about the no wifi thing since she was trying really hard to ignore her best friend who had recently kissed Avery’s ex-boyfriend. Also, Avery is tired of being the predictable daughter and wants to start trying out new things and coming out of her shell.

I loved the general plot and most of the characters (although Lauren reaaaaally made me mad towards the end). My only complaint is that it ended up focusing too much on the contest itself and not so much on Avery dealing with her issues. I feel like it would have been cute for Avery to have had bonding moments with her dad.
Profile Image for Sharon.
505 reviews254 followers
June 24, 2021
I literally had an all-nighter for this one from 9PM to 5AM. It was the perfect summer read.

Pros
Avery: I loved her as the protagonist. I 100% related to her being a pushover and always wanting to smooth things over. It was a bit annoying when she almost caved into what Shay wanted because she was so focused on their history and guilty for not forgiving her right away when Shay was trying. However, I felt like it was realistic because it was easy to doubt your own feelings, especially when speaking to a gaslighter. And I had a feeling that even if she did forgive Shay earlier, she would’ve snapped out of it eventually considering how entitled Shay acted and with Avery learning to be honest with her feelings more. And besides the Shay thing, I liked how she grew in her confidence with her singing in public. That was definitely outside of her comfort zone. She was shaky at times, but she did it courageously. And by the end of the book, she was able to stand up for herself And she stood up to Brooks and Ian It made me feel comforted to not only see a fellow people-pleaser in a book, but also one who grew to be better at standing her own ground no matter what people thought. West did an amazing job describing her back-and-forth thoughts of wanting to please vs. wanting to speak out. I appreciated that it was not an easy journey for her. It was not an easy one-time thing where she stood up to someone once, and she was all of sudden changed. She struggled with it throughout the book, and it was hard earned when she finally did stand her ground. Fantastic character developments.
The relationship between Avery and her sister, Lauren: It was a surprise. I thought Lauren was so self-absorbed in the beginning. She made a few mistakes, but I liked that she owned up to them. By the end of the book, she really was in Avery’s corner. It was sweet to see them support one another.
The friendship with Mari: Mari was super friendly and supportive from beginning to end. And she was never afraid to speak about her feelings on a topic. She was honest, but kind. It was a relief to see Avery have that kind of friendship, considering how Shay, the backstabber, was her best friend and pretty much her only real friend back at home. Mari was always willing to listen to her when she was troubled about something, and she was encouraging.
Brooks: He was sensitive and sweet. When Avery was panicking or troubled, Brooks would get concerned and try to help her or comfort her. Plus, he and Avery had the cutest bantering and teasing. They understood each other’s sense of humor. He was also hard to read at times, which was frustrating. However, it turned out that a lot of his vague moments were him fearing having hope. I felt like that put his reactions into perspective. I appreciated this book for diving deeper into the love interest. He had a sad background . All his family issues created a deep fear of hope. Every time he hoped for something, he was scared of how much greater the disappointment would be. I felt like his family problems and his fear were super relatable. It made his character more layered – and perhaps one of the most layered love interests we’ve seen in all of West’s books.
All the other friends made at camp: It was lovely to see such a community at the camp with the employees. Kai in particular was funny and fun. It honestly made me wish I had the “summer camp experience” that some people had.

Cons
I was conflicted about Brooks at the end though.
Kai at the end: I was also super disappointed with Kai at the end. I adored him for most of the book because he was so funny and nice. At the end, he was surprisingly rude to Avery. I guess he didn’t have to have the same opinion on the song choice as Brooks, and he just happened to have strong opinions about music – as shown by his many fights with Levi. And he did probably see their group as the OG group, especially with him playing with Brooks for a few years, and thus, Avery felt like an outsider. Still, Kai made it sound like he didn’t even know her even though Avery and Kai were friends all summer. He made her sound like some unimportant fling, instead of an actual human being and friend. It was a little shady. And we didn’t really get an apology from him at the end. He performed and he seemed to welcome Avery, but it was unsatisfying.

I was wondering as I was reading this why did these Kasie West books about teenagers appeal to me – a 25-year-old. Mind you, when I read my first Kasie West book, I WAS a teenager at the time, so I guess more accurately, why did these books about teenagers STILL appeal to me 8 years later? And I think it’s because these books besides having great character developments, universal family and friendship themes, and cute romance – Besides all of those things, these books honestly made me wish I had those fun experiences in my childhood. Reading this book made me experience for a moment that fun part of those teenage years. Her books are always so adorable. Plus, she shows teenagers as full-fledged human beings who make mistakes, grow, and experience meaningful moments.

4 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this from beginning to end. The character developments, romance, and friendships were what sold me. This might be one of my favorites now. I’m caught up with all of Kasie West’s books, and I think this is officially in 2nd or 3rd place of the many for me.

Things that you might want to know (WARNING: Spoilers below)
Happy/satisfying ending?
Love triangle? Cheating? Angst level?
Tears-worthy?
Favorite scenes?
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