Paige, a beauty from the Hamptons, just graduated from high school and just learned she has to spend her summer with her family~in an RV! She assumes she'll be an outcast amongst the other teens, but isn't prepared for the treatment she receives. She also isn't prepared for Travis! He is the only one interested in getting to know her, but they have to explore what lies between them in SECRET.
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I really loved the idea of a rich chick roughing it for a summer in an RV. I loved the idea of said chick discovering romance at a campground even more. Sadly, the opportunity to create an awesome story in an even more awesome environment is lost here. In Inspire, Paige is forced to travel from her mansion in East Hampton, NY to a campground in Vermont for the summer before she starts college. She's not exactly thrilled with the idea, but appreciates that this time together could be good for her and her parents. Once there, she meets Travis - and his awful, nasty friends. When a romance strikes up between Paige and Travis, Paige couldn't be happier about it. Except Travis seems determined to keep it a secret from everyone else. As mentioned, the campground atmosphere was my favorite part of Inspire. Buchine captured the feel of it perfectly. I could almost smell the burning wood and taste the s'mores. It was the first book I've ever read that took place almost entirely while camping (and not like sleep-away camp - REAL campground camping with RVs and tents and bath houses and such). Authors, take note of this unexplored backdrop! Sadly, that is where my infatuation ends. I had a really, really hard time relating to the characters in Inspire. Paige was, simply put, too good to be true. She was kind, sweet, and polite to everyone, even the mean girls at the campground who treated her like crap. She runs her own charity with her best friend and likes to spend her spare time working for soup kitchens. She's willing to give up her own happiness just to protect the feelings of someone she doesn't even know. She has a perfect relationship with her parents, only lying to them about the teeny tattoo she got on her hip. And, in the fall she is starting at an Ivy League school. I'm sorry, but NO 18-year-old - male or female - is that... good. Most of the time, the dialog didn't read like 18-year-olds to me. Especially Paige, Travis and Paige's best friend Tracey - they used words and colloquialisms that most teenagers don't use. Instead, they read like a bunch of 30-year-olds trying unsuccessfully to sound like teenagers. So, this made it even harder for me to relate to them as believable characters. Although there is no cliffhanger in Inspire, events happen (very randomly, I might add) at the very end of the book that set things up for the next book in the series. I hope it takes place at Willow Falls Campground again. And, hopefully the second time around there is far less winking and everybody and their brother isn't getting raped or almost raped. Because the more off-hand treatment this plot device receives (as you see several times in Inspire), the more it trivializes the real issue. And, that's not okay.
nspire had some ups and downs for me. Buchine's writing is quite good for the most part and the story flowed well and kept my attention (even if it did having me yelling and cussing at the characters). If you have ever read my reviews you know that my favorite part of a book is the characters. Buchine's characters had me all over the place. One minute I find something admirable and the next I can't stand the way this person is acting. Paige is this really adorable girl that seems to have it all. She has just graduated and gotten into Columbia, she is a dancer and runs events with her friend to raise money for the needy. She seems to be a pretty self assured, happy, and confident young lady. Then she meets the incredibly sexy Travis and instant attraction! Alright I can handle that. A hot date comes next. I'm still good. The next day Travis completely ignores her in front of his friends AND let's them treat her like crap. WHAT!?!?! Anyway I don't want to give spoilers but there were a lot of mistakes made by Travis, and Paige turned her head way to easily and just let so much slide. I never could figure out why she let these people treat her this way. I felt Travis had WAY more groveling to do. As I mentioned before the writing was good and I think I would pick up another book by Buchine because I really do think she could wow us especially if she gives us some stand up characters next time.