27 October 2013

Review: Twisted Summer by Lucy V. Morgan

What they say: A dark New Adult romance

You have to understand that we never meant for it to happen. We knew it was stupid. We knew it was wrong.

Eighteen-year-old Danni Warren has big plans for her last summer before college: a cool job, a concert she wouldn’t miss for the world, and spending time with her beautiful girlfriend, Esme. But after one hell of an argument, Danni’s mother packs her off to stay with her estranged step-uncle, Gabe, in his lodge on the English coast. So begins a weekend of the worst punishment imaginable: no phone signal.

With his sun kissed good looks and sarcastic manner, twenty-nine-year-old Gabe Asher isn’t anything like Danni expected. She wants to hate him—he’s her punishment for standing up to her mother—but between surfing lessons and beach hikes, Gabe and Danni grow close. Maybe too close.

Now Danni’s questioning everything: old family secrets, her future, her strained relationship with Esme. One sun stained afternoon, Gabe and Danni go too far. And then everything else falls apart...
What I say: Just a quick warning Lucy V. Morgan's NA book Twisted Summer includes the controversial topic of a relationship between a young girl and her step-uncle.
Right, onto the plot... The book begins with 18-year-old Danni being sent to stay with her Mum's estranged younger stepbrother Gabe. This is her punishment for ranting about her Mum's annoying boyfriend. It's the summer before she starts uni and Danni is unimpressed at being sent to stay with a stuffy sort-of-uncle she hasn't seen since she was little. She's also unhappy about missing a gig with her girlfriend Esme. Danni decides she'll just have to suffer through the weekend with Gabe until she can go home. BUT Gabe is neither stuffy, nor uncle-like; he's a super hot 29-year-old, tanned surfer.
I had expected to instantly hate Twisted Summer (because there's nothing more annoying than something being controversial just for the sake of it), but I ended up really enjoying the story. Although the relationship between the two leads is controversial it became clear as their relationship progressed how much they balanced each other, so much so that I ended up forgetting the pseudo-incest stuff (Danni's word not mine) and focused on the love story.
Sometimes Danni really annoyed me with her bratty behaviour; she flew off the handle really easily. She's also selfish and whinny at times, but most of this is down to her age. There's also the confusion about her sexuality; Danni herself explains she always expected to be with a guy and she considered herself bisexual. I got the impression Esme was very much the driving force in their relationship and didn't allow Danni to be Bi or even consider the possibility of wanting to be with a man.
It's blindingly obvious Danni isn't really invested in the relationship with Esme. For the most part she goes along with what Esme wants. Gabe is a shining light, he allows her to be whoever she wants and encourages her to try to experiences (yes this includes being with a man), whereas Esme holds her back.
At first I did think Gabe was taking advantage of a vulnerable and confused young woman. He actively pursues Danni even though he is the grownup in the situation. My next idea was along the lines of Gabe having a fantasy about converting a lesbian, but I finally moved on to realising how they were instantly drawn to each other and couldn't stop the situation they were in.
I was happy with how Morgan decided to finish their story. I wasn't expecting to become so invested in their relationship, and found myself really disliking Esme (who is the innocent party in the story). 
There are a lot of naughty bits in the book between Danni and Gabe and the odd scene with Danni and Esme. It was entertaining reading a teenage girl's smutty thoughts and at times it was more like we were hearing the story from a teenage boy instead, but this made the story work. Danni comes out with some brilliant and hysterical lines at times which lessened her bratty qualities with comedy value.
I'm not a big fan of sequels for no reason, so instead of a sequel I'd like a novella from Gabe's POV explaining his thoughts at in the book. In particular it would be interesting to see him try to justify his actions to himself.
A somewhat controversial 4 Stars in my Sky!
My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • "I've spent the past few nights in nasty hell without you, mostly wishing I was in nasty hell WITH you."
  • He went from delicious, forbidden and adorable to a heap of magic bastard pudding.
  • "You're not going to get me out with frickin' Spooky McTapper."
  • "Mum is very supportive of our girl-love. I think she feels all feminist and PC because of it."

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