Book Review: Never Vacation with Your Ex by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

*I received an ARC on Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Never Vacation with Your Ex
Author: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 3, 2023
ISBN: 9780593326909 

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.

A cute, summery, beachy romance with relatable teens and a simple storyline full of moments of growth and self-discovery, Never Vacation with Your Ex is an engaging part of Viking’s Spring 2023 releases. It’s perfect timing that this book is coming out in April, ready for teens to grab before they finish up school and head into summer vacation. Kaylee and Dean are two of the more down-to-Earth characters and their story is incredible accessible and relatable for this age bracket. There’s romance without being too graphic. it remains sweet throughout with the focus not solely being on the love story, but with friendships and familial relationships intertwined for an excellent balance.

Though I’m definitely too mature for this particular book (I didn’t personally find myself connecting with the characters on any real level), I did enjoy the story itself as a whole. Kaylee and Dean are both trying to understand themselves as individuals, as friends, and potentially as more than friends. They’re not letting any feelings that they have for one another get in the way of their dreams and aspirations. They’re learning to balance the expectations of others and their own true wants and desires for life, knowing that on the cusp of adulthood, they are on a precipice, about to embark on the next phase. It’s refreshing to see these two characters who understand that there is more to life than their feelings for one another. Life is complex and multi-faceted and within them, many feelings can exist and compete with one another. This is a true depiction of teenagedome that I think many readers will enjoy.

Happy reading!

Published by wornpagesandink

Hi! I'm Jaaron. I'm a book-obsessed blogger, writer, reader, coffee-drinker, and dog-lover. I have a B.A.H. in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Book and Magazine publishing. I've been fortunate to have worked in both trade and educational publishing. If you have any recommendations for excellent reads, let me know!

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