Sunday, August 11, 2019

Maybe This Time

West, Kasie. Maybe This Time
Published July 9th 2019 by Scholastic Point
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Sophie is bound and determined to make it out of her small Alabama town and attend design school in New York City for college. To earn money, she is working at a florists, and since the town is small, the owner also does a lot of event planning, and Sophie must go along to help. Her best friend, Micah, is often at these events, since her father is the local caterer. Since business is difficult, he has applied to have Jett Harte, a former television chef and personality, mentor his business for a year in exchange for a share of it when the business is doing better. This would be fine, except that Jett is a bit of a difficult diva, and his son, Andrew, isn't any better. Smug, privileged, and very sure of himself, Andrew introduces himself to Sophie by messing up some of her arrangements, and almost all of their interactions end poorly. The book follows the calendar of events through the year, so we start at Valentine's Day at the local senior center, hit Mother's Day celebrations, weddings, and end up at Thanksgiving dinner. At each event, we can track Sophie's progress at college and scholarship applications, get a glimpse of her difficult family life, and watch as she and Andrew spar and get into trouble on the job. Micah thinks that the two have a spark, but Sophie is too determined to make her college dreams come true to focus on a romance with a boy who is often annoying. Is Micah a better judge of character than her friend?

Kasie West writes intriguing high school romances that also appeal to middle school students, due to their lack of sexual references and other more mature themes. The settings are usually more grown up, with the main characters having jobs and other responsibilities. This is a hard combination to find, and readers who enjoy Jennifer Colasanti, Sarah Dessen and Jennifer E. Smith will find these books a great way to wile away a summer day.

The small Alabama town, with its cast of quirky characters, is a fun setting against which to place a variety of celebrations. From a town picnic to a local fall festival, Sophie gets to work with her friends during amusing events. Who doesn't want to spend time at a senior citizens' Valentine celebration, or at a New Year's Eve barn dance, especially when there is the promise of romance in the air?

Micah is a great friend, and I love to see teens with jobs they enjoy. Even though Sophie's passion is fashion design, she channels her creative energy into the floral arrangements. Andrew is a bit of a mystery, and a decent guy whose quirky father is inordinately difficult. I'm not usually a fan of the Cybil Shepard/Bruce Willis Moonlighting sort of romance, where the characters hate each other and fight all the time but eventually fall in love. This isn't quite like that; Sophie and Andrew just get off on the wrong foot and can't seem to get their bearings with each other.

Romance books are always popular, and Maybe This Time takes the reader along for a year of festive celebrations where hard work and romantic possibilities go hand in hand, and are even accompanied by a corsage!

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment