Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review: Rewind to You by Laura Johnston

ISBN: 1601833504
Published: September 15th, 2014
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Read from May 4th to 16th, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.
But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.
When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…


The story within Rewind to You was enough to hold my attention although there was nothing about it that particularly wowed me. It was, overall, what I expected going into the book. I did enjoy some of the attempts to incorporate the setting into the story and make it an important part of what was going on. In fact, if I had to choose a favorite part of the story, I would probably choose its setting on Tybee Island, which made it very much feel like a summer book.

My least favorite part of the book would without a doubt be the characters. Aside from Sienna's boyfriend Kyle, who you figure out pretty quickly is not someone you're meant to like, I wasn't particularly interested in any of the characters.

I did like Austin. He's just about the only character I can say that about. While I get the impression that I would have liked both Brian and his mother if we saw them more, the fact of the matter is that we don't. Sienna and Brian are meant to have been friends since they were kids and spend every summer with each other, but that didn't come across that well in the book. Once Sienna meets Austin at the beginning, I think she interacts with Brian maybe twice. Or once? I honestly don't remember. At any rate, it left their friendship being something that you were told about far more than you actually saw.

I also think I would have liked Sienna's brother Spencer more if we actually saw him. I think I was supposed to be left with the impression that their relationship greatly improved over the summer based on the ending of the book, but I'm not really sure how that could be when it wasn't shown in the book itself.

Really. Sienna's relationships with everyone except Austin and Kyle is neglected in the books. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I went into this book knowing it was a romance, so I expected such a thing to be the case. It's just that the author seemed to try to make the book about Sienna's relationships with everyone at the end, which didn't feel accurate to the rest of the book's sole focus on Sienna and Austin's relationship.

All of that being said, I did enjoy Sienna and Austin together, and because of that, I mostly enjoyed the book. The only pet peeve I have is that Sienna spends the majority of the book dating both Austin and Kyle, which Austin knows about and Kyle doesn't. While Kyle is set up as a jerk who has repeatedly cheated on Sienna from the beginning, it didn't leave me feeling any better about Sienna's reactions. Sienna also gets very defensive when her mom is angry about this, which seems a bit unfair considering the circumstances. Was Sienna's mom unfairly prejudiced towards Austin? Yes. She treated him horrible as a person. However, I would have been more worried if she'd seen her daughter cheating on her boyfriend and not been angry about it. I was actually surprised that she didn't do or say more to condemn what Sienna was doing.

Overall, Sienna seemed to get a huge pass for cheating from just about anyone. Almost everyone knows she's dating Austin despite the fact that she has a boyfriend back home, and hardly anyone seems to care, which is an aspect of the story that I can't seem to wrap my head around. It made what would have been an otherwise more positive experience instead leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I didn't like it, and it made it far more difficult to support Sienna and Austin's relationship.

I almost would have appreciated a bigger focus on Austin anyway. I enjoyed the development he went through over the course of the book, and he was a far more likable character than Sienna. I greatly enjoyed the parts of the book in his point-of-view, and that might have been what helped me stick through and read the entire book.

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