When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson never expected they’d send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of homeschooling on a rural Australian property, she just knows that Paradise will be amazing. But when she’s thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie’s not so sure.
Hanging out with the self-proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late-night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie’s never experienced, but all that’s about to change. It’s new, terrifying . . . and exciting.
I absolutely love reading books like this over the summer because I always feel like I need something light, easy and quick and that’s exactly what this book was.
Protagonist Lexie comes from a very small town and is home schooled. For as long as she can remember she has wanted to go to a proper school and envies her cousin Amanda who lives in Paradise City. When she gets the chance to move in with her aunt, uncle and cousin, Lexie is unbelievably excited but she soon finds out going to school isn’t all she thought it would be.
Lexie was a likeable character although quite naive from her upbringing in a small town. She thinks she’s ready for high school and everything it comes with but time after time she finds herself out of her depth and in unfamiliar situations. This made the plot really fun though and it also gave Lexie a good chance to develop over the course of the book. She really had a lot to learn.
Paradise City has a whole host of characters to get to know. Not only do we have Lexie who is trying to figure everything out but we have cousin Amanda who is not impressed with Lexie’s appearance. Amanda was the typical bitch kind of character but she also grows over the course of the book and you realise there is a lot more to her than originally shown.
Of course, there is a love interest in the form of bad boy Luke Ballantine who has a very well-known reputation. The romance between Luke and Lexie was very slow burning but I liked that. It gave me a chance to get to know both characters on their own and also to really get to feel the tension between them as the attraction grew. Not only is the chemistry between the pair fantastic but I loved how it gave Lexie a bigger chance to grow as romance and boys weren’t things she was used to having to deal with.
What I loved about this book was how Australian it was. I do get a bit sick and tired of reading either young adult or new adult books set in American high schools and colleges and the setting of Paradise City is what drew me towards this one. It was refreshing to have things like surfing included in the plot and while this could well be the norm for readers in Australia, we don’t get much of that in books here in the UK.
Paradise City is a really fun read and perfect for the summer. The plot isn’t too deep but there are plenty of twists and turns to keep readers engaged. C J Duggan also gives the plot a really fun feel to it and along with the characters, it made for a really good book. This one does end on a cliff-hanger and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series now when it comes out.