During the Avon Krewe Book Signing at the RT Boolovers' Convention (link), I picked up a copy of Erin Duffy's ON THE ROCKS:
Six months ago, Abby's life fell apart for all the world to see. Her longtime boyfriend-turned-fiancé, Ben, unceremoniously dumped her—on Facebook—while she was trying on dresses for the big day.
When the usual remedies—pints of Ben & Jerry's, sweatpants, and a comfy couch—fail to work their magic, her best friend, Grace, devises a plan to get Abby back on her game. She and Abby are going to spend the summer in Newport, in a quaint cottage by the sea, enjoying cool breezes, cocktails, and a crowd of gorgeous men.
But no matter how far away they go, Abby and Grace discover that in the era of social media—when everyone is preserving every little detail of their lives online—there is no real escape. Dating has never been easy. But now that the rules are more blurred than ever, how will they find true love? And even if they do, can romance stand a chance when a girl's every word and move can go viral with a single click?
My first assignment in the Air Force took me to Hanscom AFB in the Boston suburbs. I was invited by a group of single women to rent a house in Newport for the summer - each weekend brought a new adventure in beach shopping and bar hopping. Perhaps we were lucky that we did not have cell phones or social media as we just relied on our wits.
Unfortunately, social media spoils Abby's shopping expedition for bridal gowns in ON THE ROCKS. Just as she is trying on dresses, her fiance changed his status on Facebook to single. Six months later, Abby is invited (actually blackmailed) by her BFF, Grace, to spend the summer in Newport. Grace hopes the change in scenery will bring Abby back to life.
ON THE ROCK offers a formulaic plot of Abby and Grace meeting new friends, overcoming challenges in their love lives, and leaving Newport with a new perspective. Duffy's twist is the impact of social media on interpersonal relationship. Their two friends - Bobby and Wolf - teach Abby and Grace how to navigate the dating scene with social media. In fact, Bobby explains to Abby how guys use Facebook to "research" girls they meet at bars to determine who warrants a call back. Wolf's presence on the net is a surprise in the plot ... but one that delivers a ethical message about about "know all, tell all".
Duffy tells the story through Abby's first person perspective. At times, Abby dwells too long on the broken engagement while still texting her ex-fiance. Grace employs a no-nonsense attitude with Abby's love life but fails in her own. Bobby and Wolf add comedic relief although they, too, can be dragged down by Abby's negativity. Despite these flaws, Duffy kept my attention to the end when the gang is ready to return to real life at the end of summer.
I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. Have you visited Newport, RI, or any other beach town?
2. Comments are open through Saturday, July 19, 10 pm in Baltimore.
3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, July 20.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City
Learn more about Erin and her books at facebook.com/ErinDuffyBooks.