Review: It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Featured photo by Jess Barnett | Retrieved from Unsplash

WARNING: this review contains mild spoilers. Read at your own risk!

I’ve been seeing It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey all over bookstagram and Goodreads. It really sounded like my type of romance so I placed a hold for it on Libby and waited around TWO MONTHS for it.

Only to be disappointed.

The Synopsis:

“Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 

Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who is cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong.”

Read This If You Love…

  • Small town romances
  • A lot of sex scenes with words surrounding them
  • Soap operas

Had she ever dated a real man before? Or had they all been boys?

My Review

I wanted to like this book. I really did. While I didn’t DNF (did not finish) it, I still really didn’t enjoy it.

Piper is a hot mess express who is banished to a small ocean town in Washington state by her step-father after she’s arrested. Did I mention that she’s an ADULT? This isn’t like a Wild Child (you know, the 2008 chick flick with Emma Roberts) where the father enrolls his 16 year old child in an England boarding school… Piper is literally a legal adult! What the heck?!

There is absolutely no slow-burn for Piper and Brendan’s romance. They went from zero to one-hundred in about one, maybe two, chapters. I thought it was pretty intense, but not really out of the ordinary for some romance novels! What I did find disturbing was how possessive Brendan was of her. I feel like he said in almost every chapter, “you’re mine” or something along the lines of that. “You belong in my bed.” Gross. It reminded me of my first boyfriend, who thankfully didn’t say that I belonged in his bed (I mean, I was fifteen… that would’ve been really weird), but who was just as possessive as Brendan… and it was not healthy. At all. So yes, Brendan weirded me out.

I loved the supporting characters like Hannah, Opal, and Abe. I read some reviews that thought Abe was a pointless character but I disagree. I think he was one way for Tessa Bailey to demonstrate the way Piper grew after moving to Westport from Los Angeles. I am also stoked for Hannah’s novel, being released in 2022, because I thought Hannah was way more relatable. 

The other thing I loved was the small town vibes in this book. It felt a lot like the town I grew up in. I would’ve loved it if there was more about Westport’s history as well as more detailed descriptions of the setting. I honestly couldn’t even picture what Westport might have looked like so I was stuck imagining Virgin River the entire time.

The way the story wrapped up honestly reminded me of a super dramatic soap opera and I felt it was pretty unoriginal.

Above all, It Happened One Summer also demonstrates the importance of basic research, even for a fictional romance. At one point, there is a storm that Brendan and his crew get stuck in. Said storm was a tropical cyclone… in the PNW… *face palm*

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