New England Rocks by Christina Courtenay

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New England Rocks by Christina Courtenay

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Category: Teens
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Bland characters make this romance one that's only for real fans of the genre.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 208 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Choc Lit
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781890301

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Shortlisted for Romantic Novelist Association Young Adult Romantic Novel 2014

After being expelled from her boarding school, Rain Mackenzie gets sent abroad to New England, to live with her parents and attend the local high school. Not expecting to like anything about the place, she's surprised to find herself immediately falling for the school heartthrob Jesse Devlin. Will they end up together, or will Jesse's girlfriend Amber get in the way?

New England Rocks has its good points, I suppose, but it's hard to get involved with a book which focuses massively on its two main characters and yet still somehow fails to give either of them much development. I could cope with a tight focus on a romance to the exclusion of interesting supporting characters if the main couple were excellent, but as it is, they're pretty boring and everyone else is one-dimensional - with the worst culprit being Jesse's girlfriend Amber. She seems to exist only to put a slight obstacle in the way of the instalove between Rain and Jesse. Even a subplot with Jesse's abusive father gets barely any time on the page - a shame, as it could have fleshed out his character a bit.

As well, while Courtenay's writing style is okay generally, there's an occasional lapse - particularly in some of the dialogue and a few of the parts describing what Rain's thinking about - which reminded me she's an adult author writing her first book for teens. She doesn't seem to have quite captured the right voice for a younger than usual target audience in the way that people like Bonnie Hearn Hill and Alex Barclay have.

It's not all bad - the plot is reasonably quick to move along, the descriptions of Rain's football playing (that's soccer, rather than American football!) entertaining, and despite being the first in a trilogy, it can be read as a stand-alone - apparently future books will deal with Rain's sister and her father's goddaughter. There's so many wonderful teen romances out there, though, that I'm unlikely to return to Courtenay for the second and third books. "

My favourite teen romances of recent years are Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt, Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry and Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley.

Buy New England Rocks by Christina Courtenay at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy New England Rocks by Christina Courtenay at

Buy New England Rocks by Christina Courtenay at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy New England Rocks by Christina Courtenay at


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