“You’re off-limits, so why can’t I stop thinking about you?”
Fay Whitaker, sixteen years old and yearning for adventure, is excited to spend the summer with her fearless cousin Celia in small-town Juniper, Indiana.
But Fay soon discovers that her summer home is not what she expected. She is alarmed by her uncle’s temper, and learns of the grudge he holds against the Dearing family. Celia handles the tension at home by escaping with her boyfriend, leaving Fay with time on her hands—time that leads her straight to Malcolm Dearing, off-limits because of his last name. Fay is captivated by Malcolm’s warmth and intensity. She finds that trying to stay away from him only makes her think of him more.
Fay and Celia are launched on a journey, and each must attempt to navigate the thrilling and unpredictable world of love. Everything Fay thinks she knows about love is put to the test, as relationships unfold and reveal themselves in ways she never before dreamed.
I received an advanced ebook copy from the author. In no way has this affected my review; all thoughts and opinions are mine.
The Edge of Juniper was a really satisfying story. It has all these elements which I really enjoyed, including coming of age and romance, but I think it also explores issues such as divorce and alcoholism in a really good and respectful way. It was also a really well written story, which I was pleasantly pleased by. The characters were also well developed, and they each have distinguishing attributes which they can be identified by. While I really enjoyed the story as a whole, I have a few minor criticisms, which I’ll just talk about now.
There isn’t really an insta-love plot or a love triangle, which is something I find really refreshing in this day and age of YA contemporary. The relationship between Malcolm and Fay is cute; it didn’t move too quickly. They actually developed a sort of friendship before it turned romantic, which was really nice because you get to see their relationship develop. However, while their relationship was cute, the writing did feel a little awkward and a bit too cheesy at times. There are some moments where I was just cringing internally at how overly cheesy the romance was, and it took away a little from the overall plot and relationship.
“I just have a feeling I’d like you, if you let me know you.”
The story is also set at a really good pace. It doesn’t move too fast or too slow – it’s somewhere in between. However, I do think that the last couple of scenes which built to the ending were a little rushed, and a result, the ending was quite abrupt. I personally would’ve liked to see a bit more at the end, and for things to wrap up a little more nicely. On the whole, however, there was not a moment where I felt like the story was slow at all (except maybe the first couple pages of the book that it took for me to settle in), and the overall plot flowed nicely.
What I loved about this book is the character growth, especially in the main protagonist, Fay. At the beginning, I didn’t really like how blindsided and oblivious she was; she was always taking things for granted, and just very sheltered from all these issues that exist. However, as she’s gradually exposed to all these issues, such as violence and alcoholism, she becomes more aware of these things, and therefore becomes a more mature person. I really loved seeing this character growth, and how she starts to assert her own individuality more, as it’s one of the aspects of the book I relate to the most.
Another thing that I really liked was how important issues like divorce and alcoholism is dealt with. It’s done in a way that’s really respectful, but it also proves the consequences on an individual who is a third-party. I think these issues are just as important as mental health and abuse as they have a huge impact on an individual’s wellbeing.
While I really liked the development of Fay’s character, I think this has to also be attributed to her relationship with other characters, especially her cousin Celia. Celia is pretty much the opposite of what Fay stands for, especially in the beginning. It’s also hard to see why they were even close in the first place! However, as the story progresses, Celia also grows as a result of her experiences. Although they are close in the beginning, their sister-like relationship strengthen as they experience the “ebbs and flows of life”. They’re always there for each other, and they’re always supporting each other in times of need, whether it’d be for better or for worse.
Overall I really did like this book! I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting a good coming of age YA contemporary that doesn’t have insta-love or a love triangle. This book would also make a really good read if you’re in the middle of a reading slump, as it’s quite easy to follow and flows really nicely.