It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘Onslow Boys’. Every time they swaggered in the front door of the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him ... Toby Morrison.Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins.
To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets.
How did she let her friends talk her into working?
After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos.
All with the one boy she has never been able to forget.
It will be a summer she will always remember.
Warning: sexual references, and occasional course language.
When Toby kissed me it was like I burned from the inside; I had never felt more alive, more wanted. The edges of any doubts I'd had, had melted into him. It had been fast, hot and completely unexpected, and then like that he was gone, leaving me in the darkened alcove, my hands shaking as I had touched my kiss-swollen lips.
Tess is a quiet and shy 17 year old who would much rather blend into the background than be front and centre. Thanks to some taunting and pranks at school she doesn't have a great deal of self confidence. But she is looking forward to the summer holidays and spending time with her friends Adam and Ellie. But her plans are about to go out the window when Adam convinces her and Ellie to work with him at The Onslow Hotel for the summer. Tess see's all her big Summer plans, all the fun times she imagined dissolving before her eyes. But there is at least one upside to her new job. Toby Morrison!! Tess has been crazy about Toby from the first time she laid eyes on him years ago. But it's been from a distance. Toby is older, already left school and joined the workforce and Toby has a girlfriend. But he's a regular at The Onslow Hotel so Tess will be seeing a lot more of him.
I loved absolutely everything about The Boys of Summer. Aside from the fact that it's set in Australia, this book just had that Aussie feel to me. From The Onslow boys hanging at the pub after work having a beer and playing pool, to some of the music references and the good old Ford ute. It was perfect!!!
Told from Tess's point of view, the characters were all completely down to earth, real and relatable. And one of the things that I loved most about it were the friendships and especially how much Tess meant to her friends.
"Anyway, I'll make this quick. To Tess..." She held up her glass. "...the most amazing person I know. My life will always be brighter because you're the one that shines next to me."
Tess, Adam and Ellie are the very best of friends but they are all so different but all complement each other perfectly. Tess is the least outgoing of the group. But once she opens up she is quick witted and funny. But she has her insecurities and I'm sure we can all relate to Tess's feelings of uncertainty when it come's to herself and to Toby's feelings towards her.
Ellie is the opposite to Tess and is confident and friendly and she goes after what she wants. But we also learn that she has her insecurities as well. Adam is fun!! I loved the banter of emails and texts between him and Tess. But he is also very protective of his friends.
And then there are The Onslow Boys. All special in their own way, but none could come close to Toby. He is quiet, thoughtful and caring. And I swooned!! Boy did I swoon!!! Although sometimes the quiet side of him was a big part of what caused Tess to have doubts and question what his feeling's for her could be. There were times that I was internally begging him to talk. To open up and let Tess know what he was thinking and feeling. But when he did have something to say, boy did he say it well.
“That’s the thing. I’ve never met anyone like you, Tess. You think you’re a no one? You’re so wrong. So wrong. You stand in a room with all the Angelas, even the Ellies. None of them can compare to you. I remember when you started working at the Onslow, I couldn’t keep my eyes off you. You were so terrified. You weren’t full of yourself like other girls. Every time you walked into the bar, you were like a breath of fresh air. Even when Angela was a bitch to you, you rose above it. You made me see the difference in people. You’re not a nobody, Tess, you’re a somebody.”
I know how much I've enjoyed a book by the big goofy grin that's spread across my face and I had that grin for such a huge portion of this book. Everything about The Boys of Summer was fantastic!!! C.J. Duggan has written an amazing story and she was able to perfectly capture the Aussie Summer, fun times with friends both new and old, and all the feelings of falling in love with the boy of your dreams. Bring on book two!!!
5/5 Toby Morrison Swoon Worthy Stars!! Oh, he was a perfectionist alright. And he was damn good with his hands.