Seventeen-year-old Gemmaâ€™s favorite kind of beach is an empty one. Social interactions are too much for her to handle. She always says the wrong thingâ€”if she manages to say anything at all. She canâ€™t even bring herself to speak to her longtime crush, Beau Booker, without losing sleep over her own awkwardness.
During a solo outing to her favorite beach, Gemma realizesâ€”to her horrorâ€”that the popular kids from school have shown up to throw a party. Before she can sneak away (and possibly puke behind her car) Gemma is pulled into the action and ends up talking to Beau, who asks her to pretend that theyâ€™re â€œclose.â€ Gemma is too flustered and flattered to refuse, and mostly, sheâ€™s wondering why Beau is talking to her at all . . . right up until the moment when he falls off the boat, hits his head, and ends up in a coma.
After rescuing Beau from the water, Gemma is mistaken for Beauâ€™s girlfriend by his friends and family, including his mysterious older brother, Griff, who has returned to town after a year away. Gemma tries to correct the record, but her social anxiety (and a nosy reporter) gets in the way at every turn. Before she knows it, sheâ€™s in too deep to backtrack. And when Beauâ€™s warm, boisterous family pulls Gemma into their orbit, she realizes how much she wants to keep them in her life.
For the first time, Gemma has everything sheâ€™s ever wanted: friends, big family dinners, and Griffâ€”a boy who she can be herself around. But how can she embrace her new dream life when everything is built on a lie?