“You’re off-limits, so why can’t I stop thinking about you?”
Fay Whitaker, sixteen years old and yearning for adventure, is excited to spend the summer with her fearless cousin Celia in small-town Juniper, Indiana.
But Fay soon discovers that her summer home is not what she expected. She is alarmed by her uncle’s temper, and learns of the grudge he holds against the Dearing family. Celia handles the tension at home by escaping with her boyfriend, leaving Fay with time on her hands—time that leads her straight to Malcolm Dearing, off-limits because of his last name. Fay is captivated by Malcolm’s warmth and intensity. She finds that trying to stay away from him only makes her think of him more.
Fay and Celia are launched on a journey, and each must attempt to navigate the thrilling and unpredictable world of love. Everything Fay thinks she knows about love is put to the test, as relationships unfold and reveal themselves in ways she never before dreamed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Fay Whitaker has been sent to stay with her mom’s sister and her family for the summer while her parents work on their relationship. While Fay finds the little town of Juniper, Indiana to be a nod to the past, she’s been looking forward to spending time with her favorite cousin Celia.
The summer isn’t turning out quite like Fay expected. She no longer feels like a special guest in her aunt’s house. Instead of hanging out with Fay, Celia’s running around with her boyfriend Ronan. The entire family is tiptoeing around her Uncle Todd. Everything they do is to make sure he isn’t enraged — including staying away from the Dearing family.
Staying away from the Dearings should be easy for Fay. She doesn’t even know them. But when she encounters Malcolm Dearing, Fay can’t help be attracted to him. He’s cute and sweet. She knows she should stay away, but with nothing to do and no one else to hang out with, she finds herself gravitating towards him.
The Edge of Juniper was a solid sophomore novel from Lora Richardson. It took me a bit to get into, but that wasn’t a reflection of the writing. The writing was very good. What prevented me from immediately enjoying the story was the extended family Fay was staying with. I didn’t really like any of them except young Abe. Uncle Todd, Aunt Donna and Celia were all kind of harsh and negative. Reading Fay’s interactions with them made me cringe. It was just uncomfortable. Once Fay began to branch out from her relatives, make her own friends and have her own experiences I began to enjoy the story more.
Fay was a great female main character. She had a maturity about her I don’t often find in YA characters. Her strong sense of self and ability to share her thoughts and feelings without timidness was refreshing. I enjoyed how Fay tried to support her cousin, even when she didn’t always agree with her. I don’t think I would have been as understanding of Celia and her treatment of Fay, if I was Fay.
Malcolm was the perfect book boyfriend. He was cute, caring and supportive. I liked how he saw the positive for Fay when she couldn’t. I do have to admit there were a few moments where I had a hard time believing just how mature he was acting. I’m not sure I’ve met a teenage boy with so much empathy. But his attitude was a good fit for this story.
The main characters weren’t the only great thing about this story, though. It dealt with so many pertinent issues for today’s youth. I appreciated how it dealt with the topics of teenage relationships and sex and a multitude of parental issues in a realistic fashion.
The Edge of Juniper was a great coming of age romance. It had a realistic and honest feel to it. I enjoyed experiencing the characters’ growth throughout the story. And even though the ending felt almost too good to be true, I loved getting a rewarding happily ever after.