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Never Vacation with Your Ex by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka is a cute summer read about second chances. I loved the Malibu vacation backdrop and the volleyball star main character, and this one also contains thoughtful discussions about women in sports. Fans of the exes to lovers trope, as well as books about childhood best friends, will enjoy this one.Title: Never Vacation With Your Ex
Author: Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: April 4, 2023
Seventeen-year-old volleyball star Kaylee Jordan lives a life of player rankings, constant training, and a carefully curated social media full of followers watching to see if she'll go pro out of high school like her famous mom. Her one refuge, and the thing she looks forward to every summer? The vacation her family spends in Malibu with the Freeman-Yus.
This year, there’s only one problem: Kaylee and their son, Dean, dated for the past three months, and Kaylee just unceremoniously dumped him. Hoping to spare them the worst summer ever, Kaylee comes to Dean with her unconventional solution: she’s going to walk him through her rules for getting over an ex. When Dean grudgingly cooperates, Kaylee’s got her work cut out for her.
But helping Dean follow her own rules starts becoming difficult when the pressures of Kaylee’s family legacy and perfect life start to feel less like a plan and more like a prison…and amid warm California nights and stolen laughs, Kaylee feels herself falling for Dean for the same reasons and some new ones. With their trip coming to an end, Kaylee has to make the complicated choice between doing what’s expected and taking a (second) chance on love.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Never Vacation With Your Ex by Emily Wibberley
For Kaylee, the annual summer vacation her family spends with the Freeman-Yus is a break from the pressure of being a volleyball star. However, after dating their son Dean and breaking up with him, this summer is about to be incredibly awkward. To try and salvage their vacation, Kaylee comes up with a plan to help Dean get over her, but as the summer progresses, she realizes that she might not be as over him as she thought.
❀ Interesting Main Character
Kaylee is an interesting main character, and while I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of her actions, I appreciated her internal conflict. As a volleyball player whose mother was also a volleyball champion, Kaylee feels like she’s living in her shadow. Throughout the book, she experiences a lot of pressure, and I empathized with her tendency to consider others’ expectations in everything she does. For me personally, however, the romance fell flat as there was so much back and forth between Dean and Kaylee that it got repetitive. It was difficult for me to connect with either of them, and I wished they had a bit more chemistry.
❀ Thought-Provoking Commentary
What I especially enjoyed about this book is the commentary on the experiences of young athletes. Kaylee and other characters in the book feel a lot of pressure to be the best and balance school with sports, and there are also discussions about the ways uniforms, especially for volleyball, influence body image for women. These conversations add another layer of depth to this beach read, and I appreciated the authors including them.
❀ A Cute SeconD-Chance Romance
Never Vacation with Your Ex by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka is a cute second chance romance that is perfect for the summer. I enjoyed the Malibu vacation premise and the discussions about some of the challenges women face in sports. This is a great read for your beach bag.