This story follows identical twins Aiden and Max, but they couldn’t be more different. Max is straight, and Aiden is gay. Max is the more outgoing of the two whereas Aiden is shyer and more introverted twin, often referred to as “Max’s brother.” But in spite of their differences, the Kingsman twins are pretty much inseparable. They even chose to not only go to the same university but also to room together while there.
One day while home for summer, they run into their childhood best friend Oliver, with whom they had lost touch and hadn’t seen in 10 years and who happened to be Aiden’s childhood crush. Imagine Aiden’s surprise when he not only learns that Oliver (who is now quite hot, by the way) is gay, but that he also had a childhood crush on Oliver. Needless to say, once these two reunite, sparks begin to fly, though it did take a bit for them to get together initially, given that they’re both introverts with neither of them daring to make the first move.
While all three of them were young, Oliver and the Kingsman twins were almost inseparable with a lot of precious memories shared between them. Max assumed now that the three of them were reunited, they’d inevitably pick up where they’d left off — as three good friends enjoying a summer together. But as Aiden and Oliver’s relationship moves from friendship to something deeper, Max feels hurt and excluded, not understanding how his brother could choose Oliver over him. And drama ensues.
What I liked
First thing I have to say was that I loved the cover! It was this that initially caught my attention and made me read the blurb so kudos to the cover designer.
The story itself was a sweet and tender romance, and I enjoyed the build between Aiden and Oliver. Though things did progress rather quickly, it’s not unbelievable given the history between them. It was an endearing story of two boys given a second chance at love, and I loved both Oliver and Aiden, in all their stumbles, blunders and flounders. Their awkwardness with each other made them all the more lovable.
What especially worked for me, was that this book stressed the importance of relationships between family and not only those of the romantic kind. That being said, this wasn’t only a story of two childhood friends falling in love, but it was also about the need to give ALL the relationships in our life equal importance, not just the romantic one. What’s interesting about this book is that it delved into several different types of relationships: friendship, romance, siblings and family units and it did so masterfully, in my opinion.
The situation in this book reminded me of how friendships often become tested when one of those involved begins dating outside of the friendship. The situation in this book is magnified given that the friendship that’s being tested is that of identical twin brothers who’ve spent their entire life with each other and each of whose world revolved around the other. I enjoyed seeing the both of them adjust as they began to figure out who are they apart from their twin.
Another thing that really worked for me was that the novel was told from each of the boy’s perspective. Though Aiden and Oliver, we experienced the exhilaration and excitement of the developing of a new romance whereas though Max’s point of view, we get the fear, uncertainty, and confusion he goes through when he feels as though he’s losing his brother. Via this device, the author did an excellent job of fleshing out each of these three characters and we as the reader could empathize equally with each of them.
I thought this was going to be a light and fluffy beach type of read but was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the story. And the ending was just perfect.
What I didn’t like
There were a few times during the story when the characters felt more like young high school students rather than college students. There were some parts in the book where I wanted to ask the Max and Aiden, “what, are you like 13?” So in this way, the maturity level at times didn’t seem to match the age of the characters.
To be honest, I felt that the co-dependent nature Max and Aiden’s relationship may have been a teeny-tiny bit over the top. I mean, I’m sure they dated other people…wouldn’t they have? I might have liked to have read a little more backstory on the boys’ dating life or learn whether they had friendships outside of their relationship with each other.
I ended up loving this book! I found it humorous, light-hearted and an overall enjoyable read. And for the record, the book ends with a happily-ever-after, and there was one point near the end of the book where my eyes definitely became a bit moist.
I was totally drawn into Aiden, Max and Oliver’s story and couldn’t put it down once I started. It was funny and heartwarming with a tiny bit of angst and drama along the way. Fourteen Summers left me feeling happy for all of the main characters with a case of the warm fuzzys once I reached the end.
In Fourteen Summers, Quinn delivers a sweet romance filled with rich well-devloped characters, friends, fun, and family that will induce ear-to-ear grins (at least it did for me).
I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review so as of this writing, the book is not yet available. It is expected to be released on May 21, 2018, so be sure to check out Riptide Publishing or your favorite retailer at that time. A big thank you to Netgalley and Riptide for this opportunity.