Synopsis: Riley Hope, a senior at NYU, appears to be on top of the world: a loving mother, ride-or-die friends, and a long-time boyfriend destined for the National Hockey League… She puts on a smile for the world but, behind it, Riley’s drowning with fears for the future. Then Ben Fagan comes crashing into her life. British and alone in the Big Apple, the struggling actor is looking for an escape—minimum commitment, maximum fun—anything to avoid returning across the pond. As they form an unlikely bond, Riley keeps her reality from Ben, but how long can she hold back the truth…and is Ben keeping his own secrets, too?
Plot: The storyline is like real life –everything intertwining to where it is impossible to simplify into a single sentence. However, the relationship between Riley and Ben seems central as it affects Riley’s engagement with Josh, her friendship with Erika and Leia, and the future of her mother.
Setting: The majority of the novel takes place in New York, and I loved getting to know the city through Riley and Ben. I’ve never been, but NYC has certainly been added to my list of places to go. However, I struggled a bit with the logic of Riley having her own apartment. How could she afford not having roommates when New York is so expensive? And why was she in an apartment when two rent payments was not feasible? I get the transit from her mother’s home to school is long, but couldn’t quite justify it in my mind when I spent about three hours a day commuting myself.
Characters: If you loved Freddie and Lucy in the “London” books, then you’ll adore Piper and Casey. Both has best friend sidekicks consisting of an outspoken femme, a quirky male, and one of them being in a same-sex relationship. I wish any and all of them were my friends!
Romance: Riley was already in a troubled relationship when Ben came onto the scene. He gave Riley courage and hope, spurring her to make changes in her life. Ben had some secrets though and I almost wondered if he would merely be an inciting incident rather than Riley’s “knight in shining armour”. These flaws kept Ben from being too good to be true, as he was practically perfect in every other way.
Unfulfilled Promise: In each of Jackie’s books there is one thing that always makes me wonder “why?”. In this book it is a conversation between Piper and Casey revealing that Casey had a crush on Riley for years and did nothing about it. Until that point, there was no indication of his feelings for her and, normally, that sort of tidbit leads to the guy getting the girl in the end. That isn’t true for this book and therefore felt out of place. Unless there are more books in this world that hinges on scenes like this, I cannot help but wonder the reason such information was added.
Quote: Love you until the last star fades.
Conclusion: Jacquelyn Middleton has written another great book! While I did not relate to Riley as much as I had Alex in the “London” books, it is still a page turner. I really hope Jackie’s next book is about another girl who travels to different countries trying to find a place that feels like home and finds someone to love her… I could totally relate to that girl *wink*