The Girl in the Sunflower Dress, by Katie Montinaro
I absolutely adored this young adult coming of age novel from debut author Katie Montinaro.
I loved this book for its gripping storyline, the romance, the characterisation and the fabulous dialogue - including snappy conversations via various social media platforms, which no doubt young adult (and adult!) readers will readily relate to.
Chelsea has just finished high school and it's the summer holidays. Chelsea's plans are to relax with family and friends, do a few shifts at Pete's Pancake parlour and avoid her ex-boyfriend. Pretty simple, right?
As it turns out, things don't go at all according to plan and Chelsea finds herself joining forces with her old high school crush Noah Kalani, in an attempt to uncover the dark secrets her family is hiding. As she comes closer to uncovering the truth, she begins to realise that her feelings for Noah are more than just friendly, but things are getting seriously complicated - her ex-boyfriend is showing up and making things awkward, and the secret her father is hiding threatens to tear apart everything she has ever known.
Will Chelsea have the courage to face the truth, open herself up to someone new, and embrace who she really is?
This is a beautifully written story of heartache and secrets and love and friendship and I absolutely adored it. Once you start reading you won't be able to put it down.
A highlight for me was the witty dialogue between Chelsea and Noah - there is real chemistry there - and yes, I must admit to having a huge literary crush on Noah (trust me, if you read this book you will too. He's pretty hot).
And finally, I loved the sunflower references throughout this book, a lovely allegory for the way in which Chelsea is able to find light in the darkness, gradually feeling empowered to follow her own path and embrace her true self.
Published by Wildflower Publishing