A very promising rich girl/poor girl romance debut
I think this book is a debut and it’s exactly the kind of debut that makes me happy and hopeful. It’s smart and well-written and sure, it’s not flawless but I love that the author has room for growth. The premise is simple: at boarding school, teenage Cara Talarico had a massive crush on Lauren Havemayer. She hasn’t thought much about her in the ten years since they graduated but when she finds herself in Lauren’s car after their high school reunion, the attraction is still there too.
There’s a lot of longing in this book – even though both women acknowledge the mutual attraction rather quickly – and you know how much I love longing. Feelings have a way of getting involved even when it seems ill-advised and this book is a delicious illustration of that.
Nan Campbell created two women reluctant, for very different reasons, to enter into a relationship that goes beyond friends with benefits: Cara wants to be loan-free when she gets to that part of her life; Lauren believes she’s not made for serious relationships after she got burnt by her ex’s betrayal. The conflict is much deeper, however. Lauren’s family is extraordinarily wealthy and while she’s considerate and caring, she’s not always aware of how privileged she is. Cara, on the other hand, received free tuition for boarding school thanks to her mom being an employee there. As she gets to know Lauren as an adult, and not as the girl she crushed on, she realises that their experience of school, as a boarder and as a day student, were wildly contrasting. As are their outlook on life at twenty-eight, with Lauren working her dream job at the Met and Cara as a high school teacher in the Bronx. Not all is black and white however, not all is easily explained either, and the journey to understanding each other or, at least, respecting each other’s values and feelings was fascinating to witness. The author brings nuance to what could have been a basic rich girl/poor girl romance and despite it being a little repetitive, I enjoyed it very much. 4 stars