The Art of Falling in Love by Haleigh Wenger
(This is a modified reposting from July 2019.) Just in case you haven’t had a chance to check out this amazing book, add Haleigh Wenger’s The Art of Falling In Love to your Fall reading list to keep you warm while the temperatures plummet!
If you’ve had a chance to read this coming of age, please consider leaving a review so that others have a chance to find out more about this lovely author!
This YA book goes beyond “sweet” romance by incorporating social commentary about a topic that many authors are afraid to touch.
It’s hard enough falling in love while you’re a teenager – imagine navigating those treacherous waters while being homeless:
Seventeen-year-old Claire Haynes always spends summer vacation at her family’s beach house in Florida, sketching and dreaming of art school with her biggest fan–her Opa. But when Opa dies right before summer break, all Claire has left besides her memories is a sand-sculpting contest application with her name on it and the lingering question of why Opa filled it out in the first place. Claire has never even made a decent sandcastle, but she reluctantly turns in the entry forms, hoping the contest will help her navigate the grieving process by honoring one of Opa’s last wishes.
When she meets Foster, a teenage boy with a talent for turning recyclables into abstract sculptures, the two join forces to win the contest and salvage the Summer of Art. They spend the humid summer days shoveling sand, devouring ice cream, and exploring Florida’s art scene. Just like Opa, Foster understands Claire and her overwhelming need to create, but he has a secret that threatens to ruin everything: he’s homeless and hiding from an abusive brother who would have him believe family trumps all.
When Claire’s parents find out about Foster’s homelessness, they offer him a home along with their hearts. But even picture-perfect families like Claire’s can harbor an ugly side, especially in the aftermath of Opa’s death. When someone close to Claire spills Foster’s secret, they’re both forced to choose between love and familial obligation. If Claire can’t break through long-held beliefs and prove family is more than shared DNA, she could permanently lose Foster and a chance at the sand contest to honor Opa.
– The Art of Falling in Love, back cover exerpt
Far too often, trends in Romance focus on “The Billionaire” this and that. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, kudos to Haleigh Wenger for providing us readers with a hero who forces the reader to explore the novel with both heart and reflection. I especially appreciated her vivid, descriptive writing, empathetic character development, and a great story that didn’t shy away from uncomfortable subjects – juvenile homelessness, sibling rivalry/betrayal, and coping with life after a devastating event. (On a personal note, it was also wonderful to reconnect with familiar areas in Florida.)
Order The Art of Falling in Love and add it to your TBR pile in time for the Holidays!
Sending Love and Light to all of you.
©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™
– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.