Monday, August 5, 2019

Review of Say You Still Love Me by KA Tucker

Say You Still Love Me
By KA Tucker

“Favorite place in the world. Favorite summer. Favorite girl.”

My anticipation for literally anything KA writes is always through the roof. I’ve been hooked since the day I discovered TTB and then binge read everything she’s ever published. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was FINALLY approved for an ARC of Say You Still Love Me.

SYSLM is told in dual timelines: one in the past at Camp Wawa, and one in the present as adults. The second I opened this book and saw that it was the bad-boy, rich-girl summer camp story I was hyped. Kyle was the summer camp dreamboat, and Piper didn’t want to be there.
That changed quickly.

“So…Shane is going home next Saturday, for the night.” Kyle pulls his bottom lip between his teeth and holds it a moment before releasing it, a shy smile touching his lips. “I’ll have my cabin to myself for the night. In case you wanted to hang out there with me.”
My stomach flutters as I grasp what he’s really asking.
“For a few hours…or the night.”

Okay the build up to this moment felt like YEARS. I was flying through pages like, okay your teenage angst is giving me heart palpitations. And meanwhile in the present-day timeline Kyle is working in Piper’s building but acting like she doesn’t exist. So, truly, the angst was killing me.

The relationship blossoms into something so pure and beautiful that summer, and when it comes crashing to a halt my heart was broken. They’d gotten in some rowdy teenage trouble during their time at camp, but the event that brings it all down changes the trajectory of all their futures.
For one, Kyle disappears and breaks his promise to keep in touch with Piper.
He breaks her heart.

And many, many years later, that boy—now a man—comes back into her life, and it seems that summer love may have never died. But Piper will not allow anything to move forward until she finds out why he disappeared, because she knows that he felt the same way.

“Was all this really worth it?” I call out, my voice shaky.
“To get even one more day with you?” He pauses at the open door of the cab and smiles sadly, those golden eyes the color of burnt caramel that entrapped me so many years ago settling on me now. “I was worth
everything to me.”

Tucker has a way of writing stories as elegant and original as a spider’s web. There are so many pieces veining out that connect all the dots she has so carefully laid. As Piper and Kyle race toward a second, inevitable crash, my heart was thumping, and I was praying that these two souls would find their way through the wreckage back to one another.

But there was a lot of wreckage.

As we work our way to the center of the web, and the end of the novel, Piper feels a familiar tug pulling her back to Camp Wawa. So, she goes back to where it all began, with a hell of a lot more baggage to carry, and she’s hoping she might find someone to share that load when she gets there.

Ashley smiles wistfully at the kitschy signs that still plaster the wall. “Remember how kids used to write secrets on the back of these?”
“Check the ‘Happy Campers Live Here’ sign.”
My heart stops. Of all the silly little messages and confessions scrawled on the backside, I recognize Kyle’s handwriting instantly.
‘I’m going to be madly in love with Piper Calloway for the rest of my life and I only just met her.’

KA Tucker doesn’t disappoint. Whether she’s writing romance, YA, new-adult, contemporary, etc., she is a master at her craft. I’m always most excited for her books because she isn't afraid of a challenge. Say You Still Love Me was a romance, but it toed the waters of YA with the camp timeline. It also incorporated the rich/poor love trope and showed up what a second-chance romance can be. That’s a lot to fit into one novel—and it’s a lot harder to fit it in and do it well.

Keep writing endings we can't predict, KA! They’re the best kind of books.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!

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