Caly knew her mom would punish her; in fact, she'd planned on it. But a late-night ride in the backseat of a cop car wasn't part of that plan. Seventeen-year-old Caly Monroe has one passion: graffiti. Her mom hates it. And that's precisely why Caly decides to spray paint a barely dressed portrait of her mom in the middle of town, hoping to change her perspective―or maybe it was just to piss her off. After Caly's mom picks her up from the police station, she banishes Caly to Gemstone Beach, the run-down bay beach where they used to live each summer. The last time Caly stepped a bare foot onto that beach's crusty sand was five years ago, before her mom opened a bakery and permanently ended their vacations. When Caly returns, she is tasked with manual labor at the boardwalk as punishment; though, she soon discovers the real punishment is facing the people she once cared most about, including her first love, Aden. While Caly continues to contemplate her artistic future, she has to let her heart choose what, and who, is worth fighting for.
I haven't read a book yet that has made me nostalgic for my childhood until I read Caly's Piece. Playing flashlight tag, eating creamsicles on the beach, first kisses and young love. This book made me want to find a Delorean and go back to the Summer of '89 and relive all those magic moments. I really, really enjoyed this book you guys!
It opens up with 17 yr old Caly Monroe running from the cops after tagging a 50 foot portrait of her mother on the side of her bakery. What she ends up putting on the business is hilarious!
~The classic Pin-up model wore an over sized baker's cap over her curled blond hair, with a red and white checkered bikini top and matching mini skirt. Her puckered lips were stained Corvette red and she held a large muffin in front of her crotch. Pink and Black words arched over her head: Eat My Muffin
NO wonder her mother is pissed off! Once the police take her to the station she is questioned about other tagging's in the surrounding areas. When he mother comes in to get her she informs the 5.0 they don't have the right to question her daughter and ends up not pressing charges in exchange for Caly painting over the picture. Cally is devastated that her mother doesn't appreciate her talent. As punishment her mother sends her to stay with her grandfather where she used to spend her summers as a kid, without her computer and cell phone plus she is supposed to do chores instead of enjoying her summer.
Caly hasn't been back to Gemstone beach since she was 12 but she definitely remembers Aden Clark, the boy who shared her first kiss. When she sees him again she is reminded of everything they used to have during the summers. She secretly hopes they can pick up where they left off until she discovers he has a girlfriend. When she comes face to face with her old friend Tara and discovers she is Aden's main squeeze she is heartbroken but determined to finish her summer of purgatory and move on. Tara tries to befriend her again and along with her clone best friend Lydia they spend a day out on her boat. Once they all get onto the opposite beach Caly is distracted by her hatred for her bathing suit when Tara and Lydia peel out and leave her stranded. Her grandfather and his friend end up rescuing her hours later once they realize she didn't come back with Tara.
On top of all this humiliation Caly has to help rebuild the local boardwalk alongside Aden which makes her growing attraction to him even harder to handle. The only saving grace is her real friendship with Aden's sister Ava. Together they stick together and grow closer as they find common interests and shared experiences. Caly lets Ava see her private notebook full of her designs, something she has never let anyone else see before. Ava is immediately wowed by Caly's talent and insists she open up a facebook page to showcase her work. When Caly disagrees Ava takes it upon herself to get Caly's name out there and the response is phenomenal. Caly and Aden start to reconnect when an unexpected surprise throws everything into a tailspin.
This was a book that had heart and a great story. I loved Caly's character. This girl had serious balls when it came to expressing herself even when it ultimately got her in trouble. She was believable and real. Being in her world was humiliating and wonderful in a way that I could relate to, especially how awkward my childhood was. She doesn't have many friends and her mother is a bitch so you really fall in love with Caly. Her mother is the catalyst to this story, all Caly wants is for her mother to notice her talent and support her. What she gets is distance and heartache. I hated her mother throughout the entire story and there wasn't one thing she did that was redeemable in my eyes. Even when they worked everything out between them.
What I loved was the friendship Caly made with Ava and Alex (Aden's brother). Ava was spunky and mean but vulnerable in many ways. After the loss of their father she became hardened and closed off until her and Caly became friends. I loved watching these two misfits come together. I have a soft spot for Underdogs in stories like this. Alex was hilarious and you could tell the way he flirted with Caly was to get under Aden's skin and thankfully it worked! ADEN! God I loved this boy! He was sweet and lovable, even when he lost his damn ever loving mind being with Tara. That's one bitch I would like to pull a dirty Sanchez on! When her and her friend Lydia left Caly stranded on the beach with no way home I had to put this book down and talk myself off the ledge. She was just an awful character and does something heinous that had me really worried towards the end of the book. I couldn't understand how sweet Aden could date someone like her. She was vile.
The only thing that kept it from getting 5 stars for me, was how everything wrapped up at the end. It was good but it just seemed like things were too neat. There is a big reveal involving Caly's father that she just sort of accepted without much drama. I guess I was expecting her to freak out more with her being a teenager, and she had her moment but I guess I could have used a little more "oomph" in the drama department. I did like the ending though despite the lack of mega drama, and loved that things worked out for Caly and her artwork. I love how she made some real friends finally and ultimately found out who she is and what she wants. Caly's Piece is a fantastic feel good read that could be read on either a rainy day or at the beach while enjoying some drinks and hot lifeguards! Hello!
"We really do have a lot in common. Not that I like quirky shirts, I just tend to piss my mom off. And apparently it's something I do so well that I don't even have to try, most of the time." Ebook 33%
"I don't pretend to be someone I'm not. That could be the reason why I've lost some friends and avoided new ones. I was never willing to blend in just for the sake of feeling accepted." Ebook 62%
"I realized I had been lying to myself for too long. All these wasted summers, and I was still waiting for you. I wanted to kiss you right there, like all of those wasted summers had never happened and we were right back where we were before." Ebook 80%
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
J.M. Miller first discovered her love of writing in high school where she penned poetry for extra credit in English class, and even braved the anxiety of open-mic night at a local coffee shop. Life soon followed, with a couple of careers, marriage, and the birth of her daughter. The urge to write again came somewhere between changing diapers and potty training, this time calling for more than a few lines in a messy composition notebook.
She is a military spouse (and a veteran herself) who finds inspiration in the people she's met and the places she's lived and traveled.