Small Town Hearts – Lillie Vale

Success, or anything, really, doesn’t come with a pushpin. You can’t just stick a destination into a map and think there’s just the one route that gets you there. And if you wind up right back where you started… well, that’s okay, too. We get to come back from our mistakes. We have to believe that’s possible. We’re too young not to.

Babe has her whole summer planned out. All she wants is to spend these few months with her two best friends, before they go to college in the fall. But nothing goes according to plan, when one stupid incident causes their trio to break up. Now she faces the reality of having to spend this summer alone. Or maybe she should break her rule and give the cute tourist, who spends all of his free time in her coffee shop, a chance to know her better?

The writing in this book is very light and rather simple. It doesn’t mean that it’s bland or dull in any way. On the contrary. It’s not a very heavy book, so I think that this writing style complements it very well. In fact, the author is able to portray complex emotions and experiences in such a way that feels both very easy to read and extremely relatable and intimate. I think that she managed to capture the lovely, calm spirit of living in a small town beautifully. It made me miss my city a lot, though I could only wish for a community as wonderful as the one in Oar’s Rest.

I am generally not a big fan of character-driven stories. ESPECIALLY in contemporary. So I have absolutely no idea why I loved this book as much as I did. But I loved it A LOT.

I think that Babe (oh, this name made me feel all kinds of confused at the beginning) is a wonderful main character. She’s brave, smart and very responsible. It takes a lot of courage to choose a completely different route than everybody else around you, and to be so sure of your path and your place in the world. I kept forgetting how young she is, because she felt so incredibly mature. Also, she lives in a lighthouse! How cool is that?

But of course, Babe isn’t perfect. She makes a lot of mistakes. I was especially annoyed by her inabilty to make decisions and stick to them. And by how badly she allowed her best friend to treat her – though I know it’s often very difficult to see toxic traits in a someone who is so important to you.

I loved that Babe is bisexual and that it has absolutely no impact on the plot. It’s just who she is. It’s not what this book is about. And it felt so refreshing to see that. I think it was one of the healthiest bi rep I have ever seen in a book and it made me want to cry.

I liked that a big portion of this book was about the fear of letting people go, even if it’s the best option for you. The feeling of friends slipping through your fingers is one of the most horrible things in the world, especially if you have spent your entire life with them. But sometimes it’s what we need to do in order to keep growing. As we mature, our expectations, our dreams and goals change, so one day it’s possible to realize that you are no longer compatible with the person you grew up with. So sometimes it’s just better to let them go, no matter how hard it is. I think that in part it’s what this book is about and I related to it a lot. It’s a topic that I feel isn’t talked about as much as it should. I am used to books with those friendships that last forever and can survive anything, but sometimes it’s simply not the case. And I loved seeing that.

I also think that the relationship between Levi and Babe was amazing. Yes, it was cute and adorable which is always a plus. But it was also very healthy. I feel like they did a great job at communicating. Yes, Babe hid a few things from Levi, but I understood her reasons. Also, it’s very hard to be totally upfront about everything at the beginning of the relationship, when everything feels so new and a little fragile. I liked the way they talked to each other after an argument or a misunderstanding. It felt very mature.

And before I go I just need to say that I hated Penny since that first scene on the beach and my dislike for her only grew and grew with every single page.

I am no contemporary expert, but it still felt kind of refreshing to read a YA contemporary where the main character is not going to high school or college. In fact, Babe doesn’t want to go to college at all, which was a very nice surprise for me.

Honestly, I can’t say that this book is action packed. It’s not. And somehow I didn’t mind that at all. It made this book feel like it could go on and on and on. And I kind of wish that it did.

I have never encountered a book that made me feel so warm inside. It’s just a lovely story with an adorable romance. It’s a perfect summer read. Just be careful if you are on a diet. Babe’s pastries made me crave waaay too much sweets.


I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


You can find this book on Goodreads, Book Depository and Amazon



5 thoughts on “Small Town Hearts – Lillie Vale

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  1. I can see someone looking at Babe’s bisexuality and complaining, “What was the point of this if she’s not going to come out or make some big discovery about it?” But that’s really cool in that it’s just who she is. I think we can move past the novelty of someone dealing with their sexuality and just let them be them. LGBT people can have regular adventures too.

    This sounds like a really nice book! I think I’ll add it to my pile! 🙂


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