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Caroline “Chuck” Wilson has big plans for spring break—hit up estate sales to score vintage fashion finds and tour the fashion school she dreams of attending. But her dad wrecks those plans when he asks her to spend vacation working the counter at Bigmouth’s Bowl, her family’s failing bowling alley. Making things astronomically worse, Chuck finds out her dad is way behind on back rent—meaning they might be losing Bigmouth’s, the only thing keeping Chuck’s family in San Francisco.
And the one person other than Chuck who wants to do anything about it? Beckett Porter, her annoyingly attractive ex-best friend.
So when Beckett propositions Chuck with a plan to make serious cash infiltrating the Bay Area action bowling scene, she accepts. But she can’t shake the nagging feeling that she’s acting reckless—too much like her mother for comfort. Plus, despite her best efforts to keep things strictly business, Beckett’s charm is winning her back over…in ways that go beyond friendship.
If Chuck fails, Bigmouth’s Bowl and their San Francisco legacy are gone forever. But if she succeeds, she might just get everything she ever wanted.
Title: Keep My Heart in San Francisco
Author: Amelia Diane Coombs
Publication Date: July 14, 2020
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Own Voices
Thank you to Simon Pulse for giving me an advanced copy of this book!
This book was a rollercoaster of emotions! I was anxious, then happy, then nervous, then elated. WOW! It was truly a well set-up book to discuss depression, bipolar disorder, and other potentially triggering subjects.
It started off strong with a great first chapter. We received a lot of background without it feeling like a dump of information, and the problem was presented. It was woven together seamlessly. I was sad that the book seemed to slow down quite a bit after that. There were definitely some points of action, but it all seemed to take a big step back.
That being said, I loved the way Coombs described Chuck’s love of San Francisco. It seemed to encompass everything she was as a person and, as a fellow SF lover, I found myself nodding and smiling with memories of my own of the city. Coombs even does a great job of describing where Chuck is in the city. If you’re familiar or not familiar with SF, you still get a good look at where she’s at and what it’s like.
As I mentioned before, the book does talk a lot about different mental health issues. I don’t feel like I’m spoiling anything when I say Chuck suffers from her mental health. Because of this, the book is a little bit darker and a little grittier than I thought it would be. However, Coombs represents it all so well. In an author’s note at the end of the book, she talks about how her own experience dealing with mental health issues shaped much of the book. I really appreciated her vulnerability and honesty in taking on a subject not talked about enough. And she did it so wonderfully.
Overall, this really was a great book about the road to recovery, rediscovery, and redemption. Truly, a great book that positively represents mental health! I didn’t connect with it as much as I would have liked, which is why I gave it lower stars, but I think there will be lots of people who do connect with and enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.