Published May 2016
“Well hello you beautiful, perfect, summery book! You’re coming home with me tonight.” – this is me talking to myself as I pet the bookshelves in Barnes & Noble last week.
*buys book based on cover*
*brings book home to ogle*
*takes pictures of book*
*THEN reads book synopsis*
“Oh, well will you look at that! This story takes place in New Orleans!”
For those of you that don’t know, I have spent the last 15 years of my life in Nola, until last year when my boyfriend and I moved to North Carolina. So, I thought this book would give me some serious home feels: I do miss Nola so…. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The setting was just a superficial aspect to the story. Once I got over that fact, I enjoyed this quick insta-love read.
All she needs is one night to be anyone she wants.
Julie is desperate for a change. So she heads to New Orleans with her youth group to rebuild houses and pretend her life isn’t a total mess. But between her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions, Julie feels more trapped than ever.
In a moment of daring, she ditches her work clothes for DIY fairy wings and heads straight into the heart of Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, where she locks eyes with Miles, an utterly irresistible guy with a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. She jumps at the chance to see the real New Orleans, and in one surreal night, they dance under the stars, share their most shameful secrets, and fall in love.
But their adventure takes an unexpected turn when an oncoming hurricane changes course. As the storm gains power and Julie is pulled back into chaos she finds pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.
First and foremost, am I a bad New Orleanian? I have never in my life heard of Mid Summer Mardi Gras. Then, I started thinking about it and realized that in Louisiana, in the summer, you are talking about 100 degrees outside with 100% humidity. These are not great conditions for partying. But minus my mild disbelief at the setting, I did really like the premise of the book. Toss everything aside for a whirlwind 24 hour adventure, adopting any personality you wish, transforming yourself for a day? That sounded appealing, and something I wish I could do relatively often. But being that all 290 pages of the book take place in one single day, the book is exactly what you are bargaining for…. A whirlwind.
While the story moves quickly, characters are introduced just to disappear three pages later, and the setting wasn’t everything I imagined it to be, my main complaint with EITSF is that it took way too damn long to reveal what exactly Julia was running from. Her adventures in real time are broken up by flashbacks of her disjointed family life, with emphasis on her now estranged brother. But the reveal for why she feels so broken isn’t until at least 2/3 of the way through the book. I didn’t like how long we had to wait; the waiting crossed the line of being suspenseful and entered into the realm of annoying.
At the end of the day though, this book was cute. Unbelievable maybe, but cute nonetheless. I liked the ending, that it was open and up for interpretation by the reader, and I liked the cutesy relationship the two main characters formed. I think a lot of people are quick to hate on insta-love, but I liked that this book exploited that. There is nothing wrong with falling in love in one day. I have done it, and I would like to believe that anyone that has spent a day in New Orleans has done it as well. There is nothing wrong with forming immediate bonds based off attraction and fun. So for that Mia Garcia, stick it to the haters.