I'm GIVING AWAY an e-copy of EFFORTLESS WITH YOU by Lizzy Charles! This is an incredible contemporary YA you really shouldn't miss and I've given plenty of reasons below :) Enter the rafflecopter after the review for your chance to win!
There are tons of reasons why I love this book. I could go on and on about the amazing writing technique of Charles, about the sharp and crisp dialogue, or about how round her characters are, but instead I’m going to narrow it down to the three main reasons why I couldn’t put this book down.
First reason: Lucy.
Our main character is a realistic high-school girl that is incredibly easy to relate to. She has the stunning ability to be completely clueless about how amazing she really is, yet it is evident to everyone around her because she quickly becomes the target of blatant bullying and covert undermining from her supposed best friend. Lucy only begins to understand who she really is and what she stands for when she is forced to take a job with a crew of guys painting houses. It is here that she gets to know Justin―the most popular and super hot boy from her school, who she had always thought of as an egotistical jerk. Through getting to know the real him, she finds the real her, and is finally able to face the demons that have haunted her both at school and at home. Her journey to self-discovery is intense and riddled with social land-mines, heart-wrenching family conflicts, and an unexpected love worth risking everything for.
Second reason: The family dynamics.
Charles does an incredible job of creating a realistic family for Lucy and the role they play is a huge factor in Lucy finding herself. This aspect―for me―is a fresh take for the YA genre where more often than not the familial aspect, including parents, are almost non-existent. Lucy’s parents take an active role in her life, not only showing their love for her, but making their character’s more realistic and relatable. The fact that they are still married and act as a team to help guide their teenage daughter going through one of the hardest periods of her life―despite it driving Lucy nuts―gives the story an authentic edge that I believe any teenage girl can relate to.
Third reason: Justin.
Our male lead is not just swoon worthy. Charles has given him a wide range of depth and emotion―something that shocks Lucy as she gets to know him. Justin has a wealth of good qualities that could make any girl fall in love, but Charles reveals them in quick snippets throughout the novel, adding to his mystery and fueling Lucy’s intrigue. Charles’ technique in this matter is flawless―making the discovery of why Justin is such an amazing character as rewarding as dipping a pale in the shallow of the ocean and each time finding a different beautiful seashell waiting at the bottom.
The dynamic between Justin and Lucy is filled with witty banter, genuine compassion, and some serious heat. As their friendship grows stronger, Justin is able to pull Lucy out of the shell she’d retreated into as a result of bullying and family problems. With Justin, Lucy finds herself again and the person she discovers is humble, non-judgmental, and has a sense of maturity well beyond her years. The characters complement each other in an effortless way, each one bringing out the best in the other, giving readers a complex relationship that blossoms from a solid friendship.
Add to the above tangible antagonists, heartbreaking mother-daughter fights, and a crew of goofy guys who quickly turn from co-workers to confidants, and readers will be left shouting the iconic “I Love Lucy!” for an entirely new reason.