Perfect Summer by Katie Graykowski
Series: The Lone Stars #1
October 16, 2013
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
High school teacher Summer Ames is trapped in the nightmare morning from hell. Her alarm clock didn’t go off, she accidentally backed over the rosebush her grandfather gave her grandmother right before he accepted defeat against prostate cancer, she’s wearing clothes she picked up off the floor, and when she opens the door to her classroom, the lights from the TV cameras nearly blind her. She's won Teacher of the Year. But unlike the past winners, she doesn't get a new car or a Hawaiian vacation or even new school supplies, she wins an over privileged quarterback with a bright smile and questionable intentions.
Clint Grayson is an NFL quarterback in need of a reputation makeover. If he has any hope of landing a hundred million dollar endorsement deal, it will take some pretty impressive PR to clean up his bad boy image. In an attempt to polish his tarnished reputation, Clint agrees to be a high school class mentor.
When these two get together all hell breaks loose and they both learn that all is fair in love and football…and winning is just the beginning.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
School teacher Summer Ames is used to being on the outside. Constantly put down by her mother and jilted by a fiance who, as it turns out, only went out with her for money, she’s not expecting a happily ever after. But the one place she fits in is the classroom, where she does everything she can to guide at-risk students to a better future. And when she wins Teacher of the Year, it seems she’s finally being recognized for something more than being an overweight disappointment. Except instead of a vacation or a new car, she gets stuck with a slimy NFL star who thinks “mentoring” her students is a good way to clean up his image and get an endorsement deal. But he is pretty easy on the eyes…
The problem with my reading a story set in Austin is that I recognize everything, especially the fictional parts, and I get distracted by things that seem off. Like, I get the whole creative license thing, but we all know we’re nowhere near big enough to support a pro football team. And why did Grayson call it Town Lake when it was became Ladybird Lake like six years before this book was published? And where’s this inner city area Summer’s teaching in? East side over by Montopolis on the edge of the city would make sense, and all the crappy areas I know are east and southeast. Oh, and that lovely area around Rundberg where the scariest looking hookers in the world troll. Is that considered inner city even though it’s more on the fringe? Why don’t I know my city????? See, I get distracted by the dumbest things.
I don’t understand the cover. Is that supposed to be Austin? Where’s the Frost building? Sure, I avoid downtown like it’s infested with zombies or those rabid sales chicks at Victoria’s Secret, but this doesn’t look familiar at all. And whose high heels are those on the cover? Summer always dresses…well…kinda dumpy. Baggy jeans and t-shirts, no heels…Dammit, I’m so confused! Don’t get me wrong. It’s a cute cover. It just doesn’t seem to go very well with the story I just read.
Turning off my stupidly analytical train of thought, it’s a fun read. Summer’s snark is just awesome, and I love the way she not only doesn’t hold back, but she fires away even when surrounded by reporters. She certainly puts Clint in his place right away. Her love for her students is evident, but it’s not overdone the way so many other books have it. I’m not sure what it is, but she does everything she can for them without making it sound like charity.
And Clint is rather interesting. Sure, he’s only there for the good publicity at first, but it’s clear he’s not a bad guy. He might be thinking about his own interests, but he’s quick to help a struggling football player improve his form, and he doesn’t once turn his nose up at the less that ideal students he’s faced with. He’s quick to notice Summer as well, and while his immediate interest might be a little on the pervy side, he clearly sees her differently than he sees herself. Summer’s self-confidence issues are completely understandable. Her mom is downright evil (or so it seems for quite a while), and while Summer is way different than the girl she once was, she’ll never be thin and petite, and her issues from her childhood are deeply embedded.
The romance is cute, starting out as simply a hell of an attraction and becoming something much more as they get to know each other. There’s no real conflict aside from Summer’s issues with her body, but just as quickly as those become a problem, Clint eases them away. I love that Summer didn’t go through some transition to become more attractive, like a permanent makeover, new wardrobe, or diet. Sure, there was a night out where she got all gussied up, but it didn’t stick, so this wasn’t a Pygmalion kind of thing.
All in all, it was a fun read, a nice helping of fluff and happily ever after interspersed with some laughs. It was more ideal than 100% believable, but in that sense it was more of a feel-good romance, which is exactly what I was looking for.