If you liked Dirty Dancing ...


Summer isn't starting off very good for Avery (17). First, her best friend betrayed her. Second, her parents are dragging her and her sister Lauren (15) to a remote family summer camp for a "fun vacation." She's glad to get away, but 2 months?  Usually, music helps her escape the hard times, but she can't get over her BFF kissing Shay, her boyfriend ... now EX-boyfriend. Lauren, an energetic video blogger, is not making things any better, either, with her constant complaints about the camp’s lack of Wi-Fi. 

Avery is just about to give up on fun for the next few months when she meets Brooks, a camp staff member, and charming, good-looking guitar player. They make a deal. Avery will help him write songs for a band competition, and in exchange, Brooks will help her explore her interests. She has always liked music but has a horrible fear of being on stage and singing in front of others. In addition to Brooks and his band, Avery and Lauren befriend other staff members, too. There's only one problem: staff members are not supposed to fraternize with campers. The result: lots of sneaking around.  

As the summer goes on, Avery comes to appreciate being away from the drama at home, and she also starts to learn more about herself. When the band sadly falls apart, Brooks asks Avery to step in as the vocalist when they compete in the festival. Is she ready to overcome her biggest fear?

BTSYA / Teen Reader (15):
Sunkissed is easy to read and the characters are effortlessly relatable. Avery’s struggles with discovering pastimes she enjoys and figuring out who she is before college is very relatable. My favorite part of the book is Avery and Lauren's relationship. It reminded me of my sister. Avery is very protective and supportive of Lauren. The sisters are very different, and sometimes disagreed, but they ultimately love each other no matter what. Her journey was a pleasant contrast with the romance.

I didn't enjoy the drama with Avery’s back-stabbing friend and her ex-boyfriend. It was most times unneeded, though it did add to Avery’s anxiety. Brooks is a decent love interest, but he doesn't have as much depth as I would have hoped. As is common with most romance novels, there was a lot of fluff and cliche.

Overall, the book was great for summer with themes of family, romance, music, adventure, and growth. It is a more innocent version of the movie Dirty Dancing. I recommend this book for readers 14 and older. 


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

If you liked Dirty Dancing, you'll find this a fun, breezy summer read.

Content Awareness Factors:

None noted.

Type of Book:
This is a romance whose plot will remind you of Dirty Dancing.
Educational Themes:

Read this for fun. 

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
14 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
13 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer’s Age: 15
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. It is a fun, light summer read.

Title Sunkissed
Author Kasie West
Publisher Delacorte Books for Young Readers © 2021
ISBN 9780593176269
Material Hard Cover
Cost $18.99
Genres Family, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction
be the star you are
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