Monday, 14 August 2017
Review | Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame
Series: DIMILY Trilogy #1
Published On: April 30, 2015
Published By: Black & White Publishing
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Amazon | Goodreads
When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden's parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she's about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler's group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can't understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn't – her step-brother.
Throw in Tyler's clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there's secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?
I'll be completely honest with you, I only picked up this book because the author is Scottish and I felt some kind of obligation to read it for that reason. However, I am very glad I did. I cannot believe this book was written by a teenager! Estelle finished this series when she was around 16, I believe, and it absolutely matches up to the standard of writers twice her age with many published works. It was very well written and well thought out, and I honestly felt as though it had been written by someone with years of experience.
The story follows Eden as she spends her summer in California with her father and his new family, which makes it the perfect summer read. It was very fun, fast-paced and exciting and it made me want to get out and enjoy my summer. Sadly, I was stuck at work but I definitely enjoyed living my summer through Eden for a short while.
Throughout her summer, Eden is introduced, firstly to her new family members, and later to a lot of new friends. This book is packed full of really great, well developed characters, all of whom I want to be friends with. Eden herself is very likeable, despite not having the best relationship with her father and being unsure about his new family, she is never bratty or unnecessarily rude or spiteful, as is often the case when similar situations arise in books. I appreciated that aspect in particular as it illustrated the maturity of the character. I also liked that all of the characters were quite different and some were very complex, with various issues and room for development throughout the series.
The various issues different characters are dealing with allows for some more series topics to be discussed. Eden is having to come to terms with her father leaving and finding happiness with a new family but at the same time Tyler is having to deal with some very serious issues involving his father. I was worried that such a young author may not handle sensitive subjects quite as well as someone with more experience but I had nothing to be worried about. Such things were handled sensitively and discussed in a mature manner.
One of the main aspects of this story is, of course, the romance. However, this isn't quite the light and fluffy romance you might often find as we are talking about a romance between step-siblings. I was a little uncomfortable going into this book knowing that situation would arise and I expected it to bother me. I was very surprised when, in actual fact, the step-sibling relationship didn't really bother me at all. I loved both Eden and Tyler and found myself routing for them to get together, I thought they made an adorable couple. However, I liked the fact that they acknowledged the consequences their relationship could have and thought about their families rather than simply focusing on themselves and their relationship, that felt more realistic to me.
While I think this was written very well, and found the teenage voice to be much more authentic when written by an actual teenager, there were some aspects I found a little immature. Some plot points were slightly predictable and reminded me of the fact this book was written by a young author. Things like blackmail in relationships, which weren't very necessary to the story and weren't written particularly well. However, these were very minimal and didn't take away from my enjoyment.
The ending of this book took me completely by surprise. I couldn't have predicted the ending I got but I did enjoy it. It was very interesting and definitely left things open for the next book, but it completely threw me and I was left desperate to continue with the series.
Overall, I think this was a great first book by a young author and a great start to the series. I am interested to see how the writing and characters develop as the series continues, I will definitely be picking up the next books. I would recommend this as a fun summer read but there are some more serious topics covered, it isn't all light and fluffy but still great fun. I can't wait to see what happens next.