Mini Review: Heat of the Moment by Lauren Barnholdt

I’m going to do something a little different for the next three books. Written by Lauren Barnholdt, the Moment of Truth series looks at one trip through three different perspectives. Each book deserves its own review, but I also think the series as a whole should be reviewed. So I’ll be giving each book a mini review, and a full series review on Monday, April 11th.

Heat of the Moment

Title: Heat of the Moment
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Series: The Moment of Truth Series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: May 12th, 2015
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5)

Heat of the Moment summary from Goodreads:

Before graduation, I promise to…learn to trust. In the first book in the Moment of Truth series, Lyla discovers that trusting her head might be easy but trusting her heart is a whole other matter.

Each book in this paperback original series is told from the perspective of a different girl—Lyla, Aven, and Quinn—former best friends who wrote emails to their future selves back in freshman year about one thing they hope to accomplish before they graduate. When the emails get delivered on the first morning of their senior trip all three girls will spend the next three days trying to keep the promises they made to themselves four years ago. While each book follow’s one girl’s life-changing adventure, you have to read them all to get the whole story, including why they’re no longer friends and whether they can get their friendship back on track.

Lyla McAfee had all but forgotten the email that she wrote to herself freshman year and scheduled to be delivered right before graduation—the one promising that she’d learn to trust by the end of senior year. But when she receives it the first morning of her senior trip to Florida her life is sent into a tailspin. Soon she’s questioning her seemingly perfect relationship with her boyfriend, Derrick; her attraction to the school player, Beckett; and whether ending her friendship with Aven and Quinn, her former BFFs, was one of the biggest mistakes of her life.

The first book in a captivating summer trilogy, Heat of the Moment flawlessly balances romance and humor as Lyla embarks on her totally reluctant but completely irresistible journey of self-discovery. And readers will have a chance to discover whole truth about the fight that ended Lyla, Quinn, and Aven’s friendship in the next two installments of the series, coming out later the same summer!

Lyla and her boyfriend Derrick are the “perfect” high school couple. They don’t really argue, they care about each other, and they just look good together. Lyla has no reason to question her relationship until she misses the bus to the airport to begin the her class trip to Florida. She gets a ride with Beckett and that’s just the beginning of her weekend of self-discovery.

I liked Lyla. I can see pieces of myself in her, while at the same time, there are parts of her that I’d role my eyes at if she were my friend. She’s realistic, but doesn’t always see the reality around her. She doesn’t see anything wrong with her boyfriend of two years not giving much thought to her absence on the bus. She doesn’t see that if she feels so uncomfortable about telling her boyfriend the truth about how she got to the airport that the relationship might not be as wonderful as she thinks. At the same time, she has plans and back-up plans, knowing that everything can change and what she wants may not always happen.

The relationship with Beckett isn’t really fleshed out, and Beckett himself isn’t really a three dimensional character. In my opinion, he wasn’t supposed to be. He’s important because he forces Lyla to step outside her comfort zone and question her life. Their relationship isn’t really the main focus; it’s how Lyla learns more about herself and begins to trust. Beckett is important because he’s the catalyst; he’s not the main reaction.

Overall, the story was good. It wasn’t the best contemporary book I’ve read, but it wasn’t the worst. I’ll call it a “vacation read.” It’s got a good mix of lightness and depth that makes it the perfect book to read when you need a break from heavier reads.

It’s a good start to the series and it got me interested in these characters and the story of their friendship.

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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