Babe Vogel has spent her whole life in the postcard-perfect small coastal town of Oar’s Rest, Maine. She works at the local coffee shop, the Busy Bean, lives in a lighthouse, and has a tight group of friends she’s known since birth.
When NYC-based artist Levi Keller turns up at the Busy Bean, Babe can immediately tell he’s from “out of town.” Levi is determined to live like a hermit and remain a mystery to the Oar’s Rest natives, but Babe won’t allow it. She takes Levi under her wing and shows him how the Maine locals live.
But as the seasons pass and Babe and Levi’s friendship becomes something more, they both have to figure out if they can balance small-town living with big-city dreams. Is Levi just a “summer boy," destined to go home when the seasons change, or is he in Oar’s Rest to stay?
|Publisher:||Feiwel & Friends|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It’s the summer after high school graduation in the small beachside holiday town of Oar’s Rest. Babe has been looking forward to spending it with her best friend Penny and Penny’s boyfriend Chad. Babe knows things will change when they start college, she just wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly. First, a misunderstanding leads to her losing both of her friends. Then Levi, the cute customer at the coffee shop where she works, catches her attention - but she knows better than to date a summer boy after what happened to her mother. And, finally, her ex shows up and starts making waves. It’s not quite the summer Babe was expecting. But it might just turn out to be even better. It took a while to get the drift of this book, as I couldn’t tell who the narrator was or even what sex they were for half of the first chapter. In addition, it felt like I had missed a previous book, as we are thrown into the story and given very little background information. For example, it’s not explained how two recent high school graduates have their own homes (Babe the lighthouse and Penny the houseboat) until about a quarter of the way in. The chapters are very long, and the book is extremely long overall for a young adult novel, although it’s probably technically new adult (but without the explicit sex). There’s a lot of unnecessary detail throughout, but it all adds to the atmosphere. The book is extremely well-written, with near-perfect editing, and littered with gorgeous seaside similes and metaphors. Sights, sounds, tastes, and smells are evocatively portrayed, and I loved the descriptions of the food, so much so that I was disappointed there was no recipe at the end. Perhaps an accompanying cookbook is in order? By the end, you’ll want to visit this town and meet all of its inhabitants. An impressive debut. Warnings: coarse language, underage drinking, sexual references, LGBT themes, drug use. I received this book in return for an honest review. Full blog post (22 March): https://www.booksdirectonline.com/2019/03/small-town-hearts-by-lillie-vale.html
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. I’ve just started this earlier today and finished it in a day. And considering that I’m a painfully slow reader, that says a lot about how much I adored this book! The characters are spectacularly-written. Granted, a couple of characters were superficial and “just-there” but I feel like they weren’t really valuable to the main story. The ones that are, though? They were so realistic and I loved every single one of them. I instantaneously liked Babe Vogel, our main character, mainly because I feel like we’re very similar individuals in the sense that we both fear change, however minuscule it may be. She is also mind-numbingly sweet and loyal to her friends, even though she ends up getting hurt most of the time. But most of all, I liked her since she developed so well through the course of this story. I actually felt like a friend, so proud of who she’s become by the time the book came to a close! Not to mention, she also cares for the environment as she still picked up her trash to throw away even in the middle of a thunderstorm! AND she bakes!!! If all those reasons didn’t convince you in the slightest that she’s one of the best main characters there is, then I don’t know what will. Poppy, Babe’s best friend, is a character with many flaws which grew on me. I was initially aghast at how Babe managed to be on good terms with Poppy for so long because it seems to me like Poppy was a selfish and manipulative person. However, I understood that she had her reasons and came to realize that she was one of the most realistic characters among them all. And then there’s Levi. I can’t stop swooning over Levi while reading, and as I’m typing this, I’m falling head over heels in love with him once more! He is definitely the epitome of a perfect book boyfriend. Aside from being extremely talented, he knows exactly how to treat a girl [Babe] right. He was very mature in the entirety of the story and I admire him for that, especially considering that he’s eighteen. On the other hand, as if the fantastic characters weren’t enough, the storyline of Small Town Hearts is breathtakingly genuine and the romance so heartwarming that I just couldn’t get enough of it! Small town. Coffee shop. Friendships. And a summer boy. Those are four of my soft spots so seeing them all in one book and be executed properly? Lillie Vale has outdone herself on this debut novel. Oar’s Rest indeed sounds like paradise, plus the food, coffee and baked pastries mentioned made my mouth water numerous times! The romance was everything I could have hoped for too! It was equal parts charming and honest, which was made extra special since it was the only thing that was mostly going right in Babe’s summer that turned upside down. And although it didn’t touch upon much familial aspect, this book shined because it deals with problems on close-knit friendships as everything seems to change the summer before college. Overall, I absolutely recommend Small Town Hearts because aside from being such a sweet and romantic read, I think this is an important book for young and new adults such as myself. This book has definitely made its mark on my heart! I would definitely be on the look out for more of this author’s works!
Small town hearts by Lillie Vale Thank you to Lillie, Macmillan/swoon reads and Netgalley for E-arc in exchange for an honest review. 5 ⭐️ This book is one of the best books I have read in the past few years. It’s so beautifully written, every aspect of the story is precious, just simply adorable in every way. The Bi representation in this book is AMAZING! It’s just there, woven perfectly in the to story. We have Babe; she can’t wait for the best summer of her life with two of her closets friends, Chad and Penny, who happen to be dating. Babe is bisexual, but Chad and Penny are the only ones who knew about Eloide, babes ex girlfriend who left for college, packed her stuff and left it all behind her without a second thought. One rule babe has always followed is never fall in love with a tourist, Until one day when a handsome young man walks into Busy’s, the cafe babe works at and everything babe thought she knew started to change for her. Will babe get the summer of her dreams with her best friends or will she get her Prince Charming? I HIGHLY recommend this book to, well everyone. Especially if you love contemporaries that capture you into the setting and the story written on the pages. Lillie did an amazing job with writing this book! ❤️
I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All quotes are taken from the ARC, and all opinions are my own. Review in a Nutshell: Small Town Hearts is a fantastic read, with something for everyone, from an adorable romance to a great portrayal of the ups and downs of friendships. Lillie Vale’s writing style is amazing. Her voice is the perfect blend of the humor and wit that’s now a must for lighthearted contemporary romance, and the elegant prose of heavier, sometimes denser reads. It sets the tone for this fun, adorable, yet grounded story. It also helps to vividly portray the town of Oars Rest, which is probably one of my favorite aspects of this book. I grew up in a small beach town that can get touristy, and the entire time I was reading this book, I kept seeing my hometown. Lillie Vale’s portrayal of Oars Rest made me remember why I love my town so much. There are a lot of things going on in this book, but it never feels heavy. There is constant action, angst, and drama stirred by the various relationships (romantic, platonic, and familial) and the unique events of an Oars Rest summer. No moment is dull, there is always something interesting happening, and always something you’re waiting for, dreading, or anticipating. Not only was the setting crazy relatable for me, but also the characters. Babe is such a fascinating protagonist, with flaws that hit home a little too hard, and so many great strengths. Her character growth over the course of this book is amazing! Meanwhile, her best friend, Penny, was equally grounded. I want to go on about her more but I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say she struck a nerve with me. That was one thing I really adored with this book. There were no cliche mean girls in this book, which is something that you see in YA contemporary too often. Instead, you’re given down-to-earth, scarily realistic characters that will remind you of people you know in your life, both for better and worse. The romance in this book is absolutely adorable, and Levi is such a great love interest. Also, I was so happy to see a bi main character fall in love with someone of the opposite gender and no one calls her straight or minimizes her sexuality! Honestly, everything with the LGBTQ+ rep in this book was amazing. I was so happy with how her ex-girlfriend was handled. She was still in the closet while they dated and broke up, and I loved that she was never blamed for not wanting to come out, and that Babe respected her privacy and protected her secret even if led to more issues for her. It was just really great. Small Town Hearts should be added to everyone’s TBR. It’s adorable, fun, yet full of heart and depth. This is a book you can’t miss!
If this book does not eventually become a movie, I will be shocked. This was the perfect modern Summer Loving Teen romantic story. Readers will totally relate to Babe and her dilemma and her opportunity to start a new chapter in her life from having an ex-girlfriend and two best friends off to college, to meeting someone new and different that she never thought she would have in her life. You fall in love with Babe and Levi and can't help to read on and see what happens. We will definitely be considering this title for the collection and that is why we give this book 5 stars!