May 2013, Atom, 352 pages, Paperback, Review copy,
Themes: summer job, being a live-in member of staff, typical evil housekeeper, rich family who aren't all they seem, a lonely daughter, acting up to cover your true feelings, avoiding acting on impulse and acting impulsive, stepping into an alien culture, superficial friendships and happiness, doing what others want/expect of you, heartache, heartbreak, having regrets, being dishonest, family secrets, living what should be an ideal life, happy ending, true friends
Content: teen romance (occasionally strong),, alcoholism, adultery (inference), tissue needed
Summary from Little, Brown
There are two sides to every summer. Rory McShane's signed on to be a summer errand girl for a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion. She hopes she'll be able to sneak in some sunbathing too. Enter Isabel Rule, who's not only up for sunbathing but set on having a breathless summer romance that her family would never approve of. Isabel has decided that this is the summer for taking chances, and she's dragging Rory along for the ride. But when long-hidden secrets start to surface, their friendship will be put to the test.
I love stories about protagonists who get to live where they work. I was gripped by Rory's persistance in staying where she sometimes wasn't wanted. It was a refreshingly pleasant surprise that the romance side of things wasn't overly strong - it was a part of the plot but it didn't take over the book. I liked the difference in how Isabel came across to others and who she was when the chapter was from her point of view. I made a guess about her at the beginning, as I sensed she seemed a nice person deep down. She has issues but eventually gets through them both with Rory's unexpected help and without it. Rory does a fine job of messing her life up but I promise it all works out well. This is a not too tense read, definitely one to share this summer.
You can find out more on Joanna's website.
For a spookier but just as good story about a girl who lives where she works check out Kate Cann's Possessed (Young Adult, 10/10 & not as spooky as it sounds - promise! You know how freaked out I can get...)