Monday, August 4, 2014

In the Still of the Night

Expected Publication: March 3rd, 2015
My Best Everything
By: Sarah Tromp
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13:  9780316324786

You say it was all meant to be.  You and me.  The way we met.  Our secrets in the woods.  Even the way it all exploded.  It was simply a matter of fate.

Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it all one more time, then maybe I wouldn't feel so uncertain.  But I'm going back to the beginning on my own.  To see what happened and why.

Luisa "Lulu" Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind.  So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.

Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky.  Quickly realizing they're out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who's always seemed like a dead end.  As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work.  But can she leave town before she loses everything - including her heart?


     Lulu Mendez has always counted on the fact that her parents would pay for her college tuition.  So when after graduation she finds out that her Dad has made a risky investment and lost the money they would have used for her tuition, Lulu is desparate for a way to make money and finally get out of town.  When an unused copper still for making moonshine comes into the junkyard where she and her friend Roni work, to be left there in storage, it feels like a sign.  Lulu convinces Roni and Roni's boyfriend Bucky to give making and selling moonshine a try.  In the backwoods of Virginia, it seems like a sure bet to make some easy, fast money - illegal or not.  Not knowing where to even start, Lulu convinces Mason, a mysterious local boy from a notorious bootlegging family, to help them with the intital setup and process.  But the more time Lulu spends with Mason, the closer they get to falling completely in love with each other.  Can Lulu get out of town as planned and if she does, will her heart still be intact?
     So, this book is written as a letter from Lulu to Mason, after everything has already happened.  I spent the whole book wondering if she was writing to him from college, if he was the one who had left town, or if Mason had died.  One of the three is correct, but I'm not going to tell you which one it was.  Suffice it to say, I didn't quite know what to expect from a book whose whole premise is about making illegal liquor to fund a college education!  Lulu doesn't have the best life, with an agoraphobic mother who can't even go on the front porch anymore and a father who is never home.  Not to mention, no one seems to understand her need to leave town and go to college.  Her best friend Roni just wants to get married to her high school boyfriend Bucky.  In the first scene of this book, a drunk Lulu meets up with Mason and pukes in his motorcycle helmet and he gives her a ride home.  Not exactly love at first sight.  This book definitely represents the fact that Mason has been raised to live, breathe, and love the business of moonshine.  The fact of his love/hate relationship with alcohol was a really realistic portrayal and I enjoyed that the author didn't take the easy road out.  I don't want to say much more, because this book doesn't come out for another seven months.  I will say I was practically crying by the end and this book is definitely a highly emotional coming-of-age, first romance story.  And a unique one at that.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication date is March 3rd, 2015.*

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