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Review: The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan

The Boys of Summer (Summer #1)
by C.J. Duggan

It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘OnslowBoys’. Every time they swaggered in the front doorof the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him ... Toby Morrison.

Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins.

To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets.

How did she let her friends talk her into working?

After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos.

All with the one boy she has never been able to forget.

It will be a summer she will always remember.

Warning: sexual references, and occasional course language.




The Boys of Summer is one of those books in which all my expectations were thrown back in my face. I had predictions, based on stereotypes, about this book, and I was very (pleasantly) surprised that it was not at all what I thought it would be.


Tess is gearing up for a summer of waitressing, dirty dishes, ruined manicures, and time with her two best friends. She's had a rough go of things at school, and she's just ready to leave that world behind her and pretend it doesn't exist. It's summertime and, although she doesn't know it yet, anything can happen. 


"The Onslow Boys" are that group of guys. You know which ones I'm talking about. That group of boys that is always out for a good time, creates a roomful of contagious and captivating male laughter, and consistently catches the eye of every female in a ten mile radius. Yeah, they're those guys, and I love them for it. (Sean, especially... *wink*)


When Tess meets "The Onslow Boys," she's surprised by who she is when she's with them. They bring out her confidence at the same time as they (or Toby in particular) make her nervous and self-concious. It's an interesting mix as Tess edges along the border of new boundaries she's yet to ever cross. 


What I love most about Tess are her flaws and how she overcomes them. She's not a perfect character; she can be very insecure and unsure of herself. I can relate to her so completely, especially when I think of myself at that age, as I think many young women will. Tess makes some pretty big mistakes due to her insecurities, actions that took me by surprise, but she owns up to them, growing from an awkwardly shy teenager into a woman who's gained realization, confidence, and learned some truths about herself.


Honestly, I thought The Boys of Summer would be one of those quick, fun, easy reads. While it is all of those things, it's also so much more. C.J. Duggan builds a perfect summer escape, drama and all, that makes you want to stretch out in the sun and stay a while. Her characters are genuine, flawed, and distinct, and the story she creates around them is a bit nerve-wracking and a lot hopeful. It'll give you the warm and fuzzies, get you laughing out loud, make you pull your hair in frustration, and have you holding your breath, hoping for that sigh of relief. 


Highly recommend :)



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