Today marks the start of ‘Summer Reads Week’. Each day we’re going to pick a book we enjoyed and consider a good summer read, including some past ones we’ve reviewed that you should check out. Caitlin made an awesome banner (shown below). The first book this week is First Comes Love and there’s a giveaway at the end of this post!

You may recognize Katie Kacvinsky’s name from her dystopian series Awaken, which came out last year. This time it’s a contemporary book centered around two newly graduated teens who are trying to figure themselves out over the course of one summer.

Like his name, Gray is dark and stormy. Dylan, a girl always searching for what’s next, seemingly unable to settle down, is the exact opposite: full of light and life. On the outside, they seem like an unlikely couple. But looks can be deceiving and besides, opposites attract.

What starts as friendship, turns into admiration, respect and caring, until finally these two lone souls find they are truly in love with each other.

But staying in love is not as easy as falling in love. If Dylan and Gray want their love to last, they’re going to have to work at it. And learn that sometimes love means having to say you’re sorry.

Yes, I know they just used the line from Love Story at the end of the summary, but it’s not really like Love Story. I thought it would be (especially concerning the ending), but it’s not. Just needed to put that out there. Moving on…

Told in back and forth POVs, we are introduced to first Gray, and then Dylan as they meet, become friends, and then become something more. I really liked how Gray and Dylan notice each other before they meet. And no insta-love or insta-lust on either side. This felt like a natural progression for both characters. Neither one was looking for something more. Gray is as emotionally cut off from the world as a person can get, and Dylan is only in town for the summer and is not ready to be tied down to one spot after just gaining her freedom.

Their friendship lends the better part of themselves to the other person. For Gray, he gives Dylan some stability and a reason to keep coming back. For Dylan, Gray intrigues her and she wants to help him be involved in the world, so she lends him some craziness and spontaneity.

I really liked Dylan. Not so much her randomness, even though it’s rather funny to see Gray’s reactions to some of the things she does, but more her awareness of people. She’s able to help Gray out so much because she notices the things in him that other people don’t. During their first hang-out, he treats her like a normal girl, but Dylan treats Gray exactly how he needs to be treated. It’s the first time in a while someone’s surprised Gray, I think, so he starts looking at her differently. And then it all snowballs for them as the summer progresses.

This isn’t your typical YA contemporary book. The characters are still teens, but they’re no longer in high school at the start of the book. I’m surprised more books don’t cover that summer between high school and college. It’s one of the most nerve-wracking, life-changing summers a person can experience. Because you know everything is about to change and you have no idea what’s in store for you and as much as you plan and organize and seek out advice, you’re never quite prepared enough for the start of college and just how DIFFERENT everything is from high school.

I liked how Katie dealt with Gray and Dylan’s growing feelings for each other and how they handled the next step in their relationship. It was realistic enough to be believable, which is always nice. There’s nothing graphic, but the issue of sex is brought up several times toward the end of the book. And the way Katie writes Gray’s reaction to everything was pretty funny. Very guy-ish.

There is some angst mixed in there toward the end, which I always hate to see between two characters I really like. I understand the necessity of it, though. Just… *sigh* I wish everyone could always figure out what they need to when they need to instead of weeks or months later. It would make us all much happier, I think. Alas, that’s not how life works, thus the angst. But the ending was good.

This a standalone, which I’ve come to very much like in my books. It’s also a quick read at just under 200 pages, but a good one.

Overall, I’d recommend it to anyone who likes older teen books dealing with romance and life in a contemporary setting.

And I’m giving First Comes Love away to one lucky reader!

Just leave a comment saying what your favorite love story is — be it a movie, book or something that happened in real life — and I’ll pick a random winner at the end of the Summer Reads week!

Details: Open Internationally. Ends at MIDNIGHT CST on Sunday, June 9th, 2012. To enter leave a comment on this post. Only one comment per person will be considered for giveaway entry.

Good luck!

Here’s an example: My favorite love story is Beauty and the Beast, be it the Disney version or retold in whatever setting.

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