Summary (From the publisher): Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.
And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
If you’re ready to trade your winter jacket for your bathing suit and need a book to match the mood, look no forward than Lillie Vale’s Small Town Hearts. Better yet, if you’re seriously in the mood for a dessert (or three), Small Town Hearts is sure to spark the baking (or dessert-eating) within you. If you haven’t been able to tell yet, I was totally charmed by this adorable YA summer contemporary following one girl’s summer in her sleep Maine beach town.
Small Town Hearts has everything you need in a summer contemporary: days spent at the beach, working at the local coffee shop, and picking blue berries. There’s also plenty of friendship and romance to go around. Speaking of romance, outside of her amazing baking and barista skills, our main character, Babe, is a unique YA protagonist for her bisexuality. Babe deals with the past when her ex-girlfriend is back in town for the season as she breaks one of her most important rules: never fall in love with one of the summer boys.
The book also expertly handles its coming-of-age vibes, Babe having hit a rough patch with her two best friends during their last summer before college and the future. While it’s certainly not the focal point, Babe and her friends are a bit more mature than some other YA contemporaries, as the book includes (mentions of) sex, partying, drinking and smoking. Many of the protagonists are also fairly independent, such as Babe and her best friend, Penny, living on their own. I mean how could you pass up living in a lighthouse??
Like many of the summer contemporaries I hold close to my heart, I simply couldn’t put Small Town Hearts down! Despite her rule for not getting emotionally attached with the summer tourists, I loved seeing Babe and Levi’s relationship bloom. I am also just generally in love with Babe’s everyday life: working at the Busy Bean, baking her heart out, and spending many days and nights at the beach. This book just felt so atmospheric and has made me crave summer more and more. Not to mention iced coffee- if the Busy Bean ever happens to do online orders, can caramel iced coffees be included?
Overall, I loved Small Town Hearts for its romance, friendship, and atmospheric setting and feels.
Small Town Hearts comes out on March 19th, 2019.
This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts or opinions.
Speaking of cravings, Small Town Hearts is filled with plenty of food that will make you head to the kitchen in between chapters. While many of Babe and the Busy Bean’s sandwiches and iced coffees sound heavenly, today I’ll be sharing one of my favorite dessert recipes. As the name suggests, coffee cake goes perfectly with a good cup of coffee and makes for the best breakfast (or frankly any meal).