Release Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Dakota McCloud has just been accepted into a prestigious art school. Soon she'll leave behind the artists' colony where she grew up―hippie dad, tofu since birth, yurt―and join her boyfriend and best friend on the East Coast. It was the plan…until Dakota finds out her boyfriend and best friend hooked up behind her back.
Hurt and viciously betrayed, Dakota pours out her heart on a piece of paper, places it in a bottle, and hurls it into the ocean. But it doesn't quite go where she expects…
Jack Sauvage finds the bottle washed up on the shore and responds to Dakota's letter. Except what if his straight-laced life doesn’t jive with the free-spirited girl he’s only seen from afar? As Jack creates a persona he believes she’ll love, they slowly fall for each other with each new letter. Now Jack is trying to find a way to make this delicate, on-paper romance happen in real life…without revealing his deception.
There's beauty out there, and we're going to find it.
Dakota's had one hell of a day. After getting accepted to her dream art school, she finds out that her boyfriend cheated on her with her best friend. With no one to really voice her troubles to, she vents on paper and then, on a whim, puts it in a bottle and sends it out to sea. Only it doesn't go very far, in fact, it comes right back where Jack finds it.
Having run into Dakota at a local coffee shop, Jack was instantly transfixed. However, years of self-doubt and isolation from people his age have made Jack shy and uncertain of how to act around girls. Then there's also the fact that his family is extremely rich, he never knows exactly what people want from him. When he finds Dakota's message, he comes up with an idea - he creates this alter-ego, Alejandro, and writes Dakota back.
When I read the premise of this book, I was really excited. Guy finds message in a bottle and begins a relationship with girl via letters...sold. Well, that's not really how it happened. I was a little disappointed that Jack knew of Dakota before finding the letter. He had almost an insta-love connection with her. That threw me for a bit and also kind of moved me away from Jack. But once I read more about his character, he grew on me and he became quite the adorable one.
With Dakota, I loved her. Such a strong, unique, individual woman she was. Here's a girl who grew up on a hippie reservation of sorts. She was homeschooled and raised by artists. Art is her passion, her driving force, and when she meets Jack, she finds someone who matches her passion (his with music). Her actions made sense, her emotions were real, and I felt for her. I wanted her to find her way on her own.
The relationship between Dakota and Jack was a slow build-up. There was chemistry, but she was wary because of her past heartbreak and this 'Alejandro' thing, and Jack was hesitant because he was afraid to be himself. This was my first read from Gehrman but I don't think it will be my last. I liked the way she told the story. Both characters had interesting backgrounds that you don't normally see in YA and it made the story that much more intriguing. I like authors who change it up, and Gehrman did exactly that.
I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.