Series: Paradise #1
Published by Hachette Australia on April 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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There's bound to be trouble in Paradise . . .
When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson never expected they'd send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of home schooling on a rural Australian property, she's sure that Paradise will be amazing. But when she's thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie's not so sure.
Hanging out with the self-proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie's never experienced, but all that's about to change. It's new, terrifying . . . and exciting. But when she meets Luke Ballantine, excitingdoesn't even come close to describing her new life. Trouble with a capital T, Luke is impulsive, charming and answers to no one. The resident bad-boy leader of the group, he's sexier than any boy Lexie has ever known.
Amidst the stolen moments of knowing looks and heated touches, Lexie can't help but wonder if Luke is going to be good for her . . . or very, very bad?
Paradise City. A place where dreams come true. It’s sunny, beachy and filled with hot surfers, summer flings and romance.
I should have known this book was going to be cheesy from the title. Paradise City is like a high school Sin City, where girls start wearing makeup when they’re 12 and boys hook up with a different girl a week (oh the horrors).
From Lexie’s point of view, it all seems quite scandalous and exciting. She has been home schooled on a farm all of her life, and coming into the city, her life is turned around. It becomes filled with boys, sneaking out and late night parties, and she’s never had more fun. While Lexxie had a really fresh and hilarious perspective, she was a massive bimbo. And the second she meets Ballantine, she becomes totally boy-crazy and incredibly obsessed and pines over him for the entire book.
I can see why though. Ballantine absolutely smouldered all the way through and he was a really sweet, decent, incredibly handsome guy who precedes his bad boy reputation. I had to laugh at some of the eye-rolling cheesy lines describing him though:
I found it hard to concentrate, when all I could do was think about the hot boy next to me: the rise and fall of his chest, his perfectly proportioned profile, and his ludicrously good-looking bone structure.
The romance, while it had instant attraction, did gradually develop with a lot of obstacles in the way. Frustratingly, Lexie and Ballantine would hook up, but pull away before they could seal the deal because of little rumours, interruptions or things that could be solved with communication. The love triangle was quite forced, although it made for some great snarky banter between Lexie and the prickly and broody Dean.
There’s a strange relationship between Lexie and her bitchy cousin, Amanda. From childhood friends, to competitive girl on girl hate, to a somewhat reluctant tolerance of each other, it was something that I never really got. In the boy crazy rebellious world of Paradise City, Lexie only starts to gain her cousin’s respect from breaking the rules and hooking up with boys.
A lot of judgey labelling goes on in the book as well, which I wasn’t a fan of. Everyone in the book seems to be subject to it, from Lexie writing off Amanda as a smug, bitchy rebel to thinking surfers are like the below:
“Yeah, well. I kind of imagined that you would all have long blond hair, and say things like ‘gnarly, dude’ and ‘cowabunga.”
Ballantine squinted. “I think you’re mistaking a surfer for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.”
I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be endearing, but it just had me rolling my eyes.
Then you have this pretty awkward scene with her supposed BFF Laura, who gives her a D&M on what she thinks of Ballantine:
Lexxie: “And what? He’s a horndog surfer that usually beds the first girl he sees?”
Laura: “Well, yeah, kind of. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just surprised, is all.”
So of course after that conversation, this happens:
“After tonight I was no longer going to be a virgin. Ballantine would not get bored with me and I would not be the only freak at Paradise High that still held her V-plates”
HOWWW IS THIS OKAYYYY. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing with your virginity!
While I was entertained with Lexie’s hilarious and fresh perspective, I think in the end it was the cheesiness in this book that I couldn’t get past. So much of the book features Lexie pining and obsessing over Ballantine and his abs, and there wasn’t much else that happened.
The book is labelled as NA, but with teenage characters and a high school setting, it’s pretty much a YA book with sex. There was something about the juvenile writing that felt like a naughty fan fiction that I shouldn’t be reading.
Rating: 1 out of 5
Thank you to Hachette Australia for sending me this review copy in exchange for an honest review.