Grace Grows - Shelle Sumners I won this book from Goodreads Giveaways and found myself thoroughly enjoying it. I started out intrigued by the style choices when reading from Grace's point of view. She may have been 27, but she didn't curse, didn't smoke, didn't "talk dirty," was an all around innocent. It made reading her character feel a lot more like this book was a Young Adult novel rather than an Adult Romance. In fact, for the first quarter of the novel, Grace annoyed the bejeezus out of me: she was just too perfectly innocent. It was unrealistic that she'd made it to 27, from a mostly broken home, living in NYC and was still so Gods Damned Innocent. It's like she made it into the adult world, but only by the skin of her teeth and her attitudes had never aged beyond her 16 year old self.

However, Grace Grows was an appropriate title for the novel. As Grace's life pulls a 360 and falls apart, and she actually starts to pull it apart so that she can make the changes in her life that she wants, I began to like her more and more. Angsty, upset Grace was a much more believable, relatable, and understandable character. It makes her stubborn and cranky and unsure of herself and she becomes a procrastinator. Maybe I liked Grace when shit was hitting the fan because her coping mechanisms remind me a lot of my own: completely nonexistent. She tries to run away every time she's cornered into doing something good for herself that's going to hurt. She refuses to leave her chair. She cries for no reason and with no prompting. Sure it's dramatic, but she's self conscious and hurting; it was the way she coped with being forced to tear everything down to build it up that made me like her, made me think of myself. Don't real good books make you put yourself in the main character's shoes?

Tyler, the love interest, is a sparkly perfect sexy new-to-the-city dog walker that she meets on his first week in the city. He's moved to New York to try to sell his music. Slowly, but surely, he becomes a perfect rock star, with stalker fans and false news all over the internet. While perhaps he is too perfect and has too few flaws, his and Grace's relationship is shown perfectly through Grace's eyes. Her self consciousness comes out in thinking that he's sexually and socially over confident, which of course just makes her think that she couldn't possibly be good enough for the magic rock star. Even his perfectness (lack of flaws) can be attributed to seeing him through Grace's eyes. You know those boys that just make you want to crawl into yourself when they're at their most confident because then you can't feel good enough, not by a mile? They may love the girl and they may never do anything to hurt her, but she can't see past her own issues? That's Tyler and Grace.

Looking for a good Beach Read? This is perfect for that. It's simply written, but engaging and hilarious. I found myself giggling quite a few times. Romance novels are not always my cup of tea, but this was a Romance and a Coming of Age all rolled into one. It's sort of too bad that this doesn't come out until October, because it really would be a perfect summer read.

I do see this book succeeding on the strength of the voice of Grace, and the strength and unique characters of the people she is surrounded by.