Book Review: Put It Out There
By: D.R. Graham
Published By: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: July 1, 2016
Page Count: 256
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
Full disclosure: I mainly picked this one up because it was recommended for Katie McGarry fans (LOVE her) and it was a cheap Kindle snag. Luckily, Put It out There turned out to be one of those impulse buys that didn't leave me with regret. In fact, I immediately pre-ordered the other two books in the series which will be out later this year. I'm thrilled not to have to wait a year or more to find out what happens with Derian.
Derian is a seventeen year old girl who lives with her grandfather in a crumbling inn in Britannia Beach, British Columbia, Canada.
Deri, as she is known by her friends and family, loves the inn with every fiber of her being. All of her childhood memories are in the crumbling paint and leaky pipes. She can't imagine the inn not belonging to her grandfather, but the developers are swarming like sharks in chum filled water; they want to tear the inn down to build a resort. Deri can't let go and begs her grandfather to keep the inn. She feels its the last link she has to her father who recently died in a car accident. Her mother, unable to drive the stretch of highway where her husband drew his last breath, stubbornly remains in Vancouver. Deri doesn't want to live in the city, but if the inn is gone, she'll have no choice. She launches a campaign to do whatever it takes to save her home.
In addition to trying to hold her family together as best she can, Deri is also dealing with normal teenage issues. For example, she's in love with her next door neighbor, Trevor. Deri isn't sure that Trevor will ever see her as more than a little sister figure, but she hopes for more. There is just one problem - Deri has little dating experience and she's not sure how to clue Trevor in that her affection is more than just friendship. It's always difficult to navigate the rocky terrain of friendship turned romance. I felt for Deri as she constantly tries to figure out how to talk to Trevor about her feelings and he keeps pulling away. It's clear that they both value their friendship deeply. Romance between friends can be a great foundation, but it can also lead to ruin if the romance falls apart. I'm interested to see how things will develop between this pair as the series progresses as nothing is truly resolved for them in this novel. If I have my way, they'll end up together and blissfully happy.
While Deri is sorting out her feelings for Trevor, she is being pursued by a handsome classmate, Steve. Eventually, after Trevor leaves for a five month stint in Iceland, Deri agrees to Steve's request and becomes his girlfriend. Her first real relationship isn't without its difficulties - especially because Deri can't seem to shake Trevor out of her heart and mind. I was rooting for Steve in the beginning, but I wasn't a fan of how he changed throughout the novel.
Deri is one of those characters that burrows into your heart. I saw a lot of my teen self in her. She's somewhat shy, but underneath that she's resilient and fiercely loyal. She loves deeply, is passionate about books, and always puts her family first. Deri is a dedicated student and the sort of friend we could all use in our lives.
In addition to the romance, I love the emphasis on friendship. Deri has strong relationships with females and males. I loved the support system she has built for herself.
The family dynamic was interesting and complicated. Deri's relationship with her grandfather was strong, but her relationship with her mother is less stable. The pair can't move past their grief long enough to find common ground. I hope that as the series progresses, Deri and her mother can mend their wounds together. I also loved watching Trevor interact with his sister.
Grief was a theme that permeated this novel. Deri's family is still reeling from her father's death and another character will deal with a death in the family during the novel. I think Graham handled this theme well.
Lastly, this one has a touch of magical realism to it that I wasn't expecting. Deri has visions that help her see things that haven't happened yet. At times, the visions are minor, such as seeing her mother need a pair of scissors to cut something. Other times, her visions are portents of danger like the time she saw her father's accident before it happened, but was helpless to prevent it. Trevor wants Deri to learn to sharpen her skills concerning the visions. He believes with practice, she can use the visions to prevent tragedies.
All in all, I enjoyed my time in Britannia Beach. I loved the characters in this one and I can't wait to see what's in store for them moving forward. I also enjoyed the setting; I was thrilled to learn its a real place. I've added it to my travel bucket list.
One Last Gripe: My biggest issue with this one was the pacing. There were some elements that dragged out while others went too fast.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved the Christmas chapters.
First Sentence: Summer was officially over, and even though all the families who spent their vacation at the Inn had packed up and gone home, the dining room was crowded for our famous homemade breakfast buffet.
Favorite Character: Deri
Least Favorite Character: The shady developer
The first book in the Britannia Beach series, perfect for fans of Katie McGarry.
‘Did you miss me?’
Returning home to Britannia Beach a year after her life was shattered is bittersweet for Derian Lafleur. Although some things settle back into place, others don’t click like they used to…especially her friendship with Trevor Maverty.
Derian suddenly wishes the boy next door would see her as more than just a kid sister type. She tries to be everything she thinks he’s looking for— bolder, more experienced – but is that who she wants to be?
With the fate of her family’s historic inn on the line and Trevor making life more complicated by the day, Derian struggles to manage her unexpected feelings, and deal with a past she’s not quite ready to leave behind.