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New Release Review! ALMOST JUST FRIENDS by Jill Shalvis (Wildstone #4)

Almost Just Friends cover

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Wildstone with the touching story of finding your place in the world—and the people who make it home.

Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.

When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.

Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks—just as the new life she craves may have already begun.

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Once again, Jill Shalvis has given us a wonderful story about family, growing up, and taking chances.

I loved Piper and Cam–and Gavin, Winnie, and Emmitt too, of course. (Though I am kind of glad we didn’t get to see events from Emmitt’s POV–just seeing some of his exploits through Cam’s eyes were bad enough! Poor Cam…this is why adults don’t stay with their parents 😉 ) Ms Shalvis does as fantastic a job writing about family members (a common theme in this series) as she does about friendships–the dynamics are spot-on. Wanting to kill each other really is pretty much the definition of siblings, and lying about killing spiders? It’s totally beyond the pale, but exactly what a sister would do. (Not me, of course. But other sisters, definitely… 😉 )

This book had me alternately smiling, laughing out loud, groaning, and getting teary…and occasionally, wishing I had a fan to cool down. Like pretty much everything I’ve read from her, it seems to have just the right amount of humor to balance out the drama, of romantic relationships to counteract the family dynamics.

There are so. Many. Secrets! in this book–and poor Piper finds nearly all of them out at the worst possible time. Combined with her many, many personal issues (of which bullet journaling is *not* one–bullet journaling–especially with stickers–is awesome!) even when she gets in her own way, it’s hard to blame her given all that she’s gone through. Through it all, Cam is amazing–even though he’s got his own issues, and is keeping secrets (mostly not his own)–and always seems to know what to do to help Piper (or Emmitt, or Winnie, or Gavin…) get through whatever it is she’s dealing with at the moment, and knows how important it is to put her first, especially since she’s never going to do it herself.

And that (two years later) epilogue? Perfection…

Though this is the 4th book in Shalvis’s Wildstone series, it truly does work as a standalone–other than the geographic location (and writing style, of course), I really didn’t notice anything (anyone?) else it had in common with the previous books in the series.

Now I’m just (oh so patiently…) waiting for the next book, The Summer Deal !

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Published inBook reviewsBOOKS!new releasespotlight
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