Book Title: Keeping Her Secret (Endless Summer series)
Author: Sarah Nicholas
Release Date: August 22, 2016
Genre: YA Contemporary F/F Romance
Two girls. One kiss.
The last person Riya Johnson expected to run into at her new summer camp is Courtney Chastain—her childhood best friend and the girl who broke her heart after a secret, mind-blowing, life-altering kiss. She definitely didn’t expect to be sharing a bunk bed with her for four long weeks.
Courtney has what every girl wants—she’s beautiful, rich, and the object of every boy’s desire at Camp Pine Ridge. Too bad none of them make her feel an iota of what Riya’s kiss did all those years ago. But Courtney needs to uphold appearances at all costs—even if it means instigating an all-out prank war with Riya as her main target.
Neither girl can stop thinking about the other…but that doesn’t mean they can give up past hurts and take a chance on a future together.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains drinking, sexual situations, and a fairy-tale romance sure to make your heart melt.
A breeze ruffled her ponytail and Riya’s gaze snapped to the door. Courtney strolled in like a freaking Nordic Goddess with her head held high, cheeks flushed and skin glowing. Sunkissed legs stretched from a pair of sparkly sandals up for miles and miles until finally disappearing under the hem of low-hung white shorts. Flashes of smooth stomach teased as her pink top moved with every graceful step.
Riya’s heart pounded in her chest. Courtney Chastain was trying to kill her. That outfit was a perfectly crafted murder weapon. Checking to make sure her mouth didn’t hang open, Riya tore her gaze from Courtney and swallowed. Hard.
Beside her, Colt slid down the bench, away from Riya. Riya didn’t know why until Courtney froze five feet from them. She glanced at Riya then shook her head at her brother. Colt rolled his eyes in response, patting the sliver of bench between them.
“Miss Chastain, please take your seat so we may continue,” Bob Fazio called, a small chuckle breaking through his voice.
It was then Riya noticed she wasn’t the only one distracted by Courtney’s entrance. Excluding her brother, every boy in the room aged twelve to eighteen stared in their direction—and some of the girls, too.
Riya watched a wide range of emotions pass over Courtney’s face in less than a second before she straightened her shoulders in some kind of resolve. Her hair tumbled to her elbows in gentle waves. Sighing, she tossed the golden strands over her shoulder before spinning and squeezing her hips between Riya and Colt.
The welcome talk continued, but Riya only caught fleeting fragments of the briefing. Something about the daily schedule and a talent show on the last day. Approximately 98 percent of her attention narrowed in on the seven inches of Courtney’s white-silk skin pressed against Riya’s outer thigh.
Riya took a deep breath to steady herself, but caught the sweet rose petal scent wafting from Courtney. She inhaled one deep breath, reveling in the heavenly smell, before shaking her head.
Ridiculous. She was being completely ridiculous.
She’d never let anyone have such an overwhelming effect on her. Certainly not someone like Courtney, someone who couldn’t—or wouldn’t—return her affections. Someone who had broken her heart four years ago and never once looked back.
Riya stared at her own shoelaces, actively un-focusing on the girl sitting next to her.
Trying to, anyway.
Next thing she knew, everyone stood around her and the room buzzed with conversation. The welcome event was over.
“Earth to Riya.”
A sweet friends-to-lovers romance with a side of having the courage to show your true self to the world!
Riya was best friends with twins Courtney and Colt years ago, until she kissed Courtney the night before Riya’s family moved away–Courtney ran away right after, and their friendship came to a screeching halt.
Fast forward to the summer before their senior year, when Riya’s parents–they’re moving again, and this time it will be somewhat close to where Court and Colt live–send her to regular summer camp instead of volleyball camp…the camp that Courtney and Colt have been going to for years, naturally. Colt’s thrilled to see his old friend; Courtney, not so much. Or is she?
Riya’s bi, and has been out for quite some time–her parents are supportive, and she’s never felt like she had to hide anything. She’s still carrying a torch for Courtney, though she’s had other perfectly nice relationships in the meantime.
Courtney, on the other hand, feels a lot of pressure from her family (to follow in their footsteps and be a successful lawyer) and from her peers (to pretty much just be the perfect, popular girl she seems to be) and has been trying for years to deny that the kiss with Riya meant anything at all. She goes through guys like there’s no tomorrow, trying to find something close to what she experienced with her first kiss, but having no success.
It was easy to relate to both Courtney and Riya, though in different ways. Riya is very down-to-earth, friendly, and sweet–she wears her heart on her sleeve and has a hard time not showing exactly how she feels about her ex-best friend. Once Courtney gives in to her feelings but insists on keeping their relationship secret, you can really feel Riya’s hurt and confusion.
Anyone who’s ever felt any pressure from parents or from society to live up to expectations or to be or act a certain way will identify with Courtney. It was hard to watch her struggle with first her feelings for Riya and then with the fear of what others–her twin, her parents, her friends, the other campers–would think of her if they found out. I was really rooting for her to find a way to come out, but at the same time totally understood her fears about the prospect.
Through it all, Colt, Courtney’s twin, was one of my favorite characters. He’s got to be one of the best fictional brothers out there–completely supportive of his sister and her future hopes and dreams, and a great friend to Riya. Fingers crossed that he’ll get a book!
Ms. Nicolas did a nice job of resolving Courtney’s issues at the end (they’re not 100% fixed, but she’s in a much better place than she was at the story’s start), and the epilogue of the book was very sweet. I’d definitely read more both from this author and in this series.
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
About the author:
Sarah is a 31-year-old YA author who currently lives in Orlando, FL. She believes that some boys are worth trusting, all girls have power, and dragons are people too.
She’s a proud member of the Gator Nation and has a BS in Mechanical Engineering, but has switched careers entirely. She now works as an Event Coordinator for a County Library. She also blogs at YAtopia.