3.5⭐️ – Remi’s plans for the summer crash when her father blackmails her into visiting him and his extremely famous wife Serena in South Carolina. Despite the method he chose to get her to come or his attitude during the divorce, Remi hopes he’s still the man who taught her to love space and the stars, a shared love that set her on track to study at MIT and maybe, someday, become an astronaut. While rekindling the relationship and getting to know her new stepmother, Remi meets a local girl, Harper, who takes her breath away right from the start. When Remi finds out that her stepmother’s restaurant is putting Harper’s parents’ at risk, she decides not to tell Harper about her ties to Serena right away.
The first relationship the author focuses on is that between Remi and her dad. Remi is angry at him for not being the wonderful man she thought he was, her best friend while growing up. The way she deals with her conflicted feelings is surprisingly mature, even if I sometimes felt like she was giving in too easily. I’m definitely not judging, especially as she seems to be able to see the whole picture in a way I never could at her age, when I was struggling with the relationship with my own father.
I never completely warmed up to Remi, and since the story is told from her POV exclusively, it didn’t touch me as much as I hoped. There’s a lot I can forgive from teenagers that would highly irritate me with adults, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t roll my eyes a lot at Remi’s procrastinating in telling Harper the truth. She is extremely smart, and I get that, and still very young at the same time, all the more so as she’s foregone a lot of teenage experiences by focusing on her studies. She had a boyfriend for a couple of months but has never been to a party, for example. So yes, she’s a bit pompous at times and can be really condescending, but I guess that comes from being a clever eighteen-year-old? Hopefully, she’ll learn from this summer. The ending gives hope for that.
Harper on the other hand is immediately likeable. She’s not perfect, she can be a little unfair, but she’s sweet and funny and encouraging without being patronising. I had absolutely no problem believing in the chemistry between Remi and Harper. In fact, the connection the two characters feel and the longing, especially in the last chapters, is what I most enjoyed reading this book.
Serena is another interesting character, a superstar whose neighbours are no other than Reagan and Blair from Hammers, Strings, and Beautiful Things. Serena is a lot less shallow and snotty than Remi expected, unlike her son Theo.
I liked the setting, the summer atmosphere, the stargazing, all the talk of food. I wasn’t blown away by this book, but I still recommend it. There are quite a few very sweet scenes and I already mentioned the chemistry.