Local Girls and Rich Boys

When I was in high school I dated a boy, an out of towner, who I eventually broke up with in spectacular fashion because the gap between our socio-economic status made me uptight, and insecure.  He, and his family, are visiting my parents right now which makes reading Local Girls and revisiting those feelings a somewhat loaded proposition for me.

Kendra’s best friend Mona left the Island last summer with her family after her mother got married, to a rich man.  Kendra’s not particularly adept at handling the change in Mona, and for Kendra it is a change. The change isn’t about money but it is, Kendra doesn’t like “summer people”, she comes off as resentful of the money but I think it is more than that.  She is uncomfortable with change, and the money and being uncomfortable with that is an easy target.  It doesn’t really seem to me that Kendra is very fair, or even gives Mona a chance.  Mona seems a little uncomfortable with the whole thing herself.  Henry is Mona’s twin, and he is much more at ease, able to walk the line between the summer families, and the locals.  Predictably Henry and Kendra fall in love.  But really this is more about getting comfortable with one’s self, settling in to who you are.  For both Kendra and Mona.  And by focusing on Mona, Kendra can kind of ignore her feelings about her family, and the island, which is something Kendra is going to have to handle.

I didn’t like Kendra early on, but I there was a hell of lot that I “got” – not liking the influx of tourists, being upset at the changes in Mona, the vague feeling of isolation that being around the “moneyed” gave her, and the burning desire to leave that small community behind, and not understanding why no one else did.

Rich Boys takes place a year later, and with different characters.  It is more of a money doesn’t buy happiness, contented family story.  Oh and like Local Girls a summer romance, there may be more.

Winnie’s family is not falling apart exactly, just drifting in their own directions.  Jay’s is more fractured.  She doesn’t know quite what to make of him at first but finds herself drawn to Jay for some reason (perhaps the fact that he is apparently a hottie???) but probably because Winnie likes to fix things.  Not all things can be fixed but there is still a pretty happy ending, with just a twinge of sad.

The covers of these books are sort of “fun summer read”-esque.  The covers are  more Au-Pairs than Sarah Dessen, but the stories are more Dessen than Au-Pairs.  Hardly a label mentioned.  Which means that these are well worth a read.

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