Unlikely Allies by Tiffany King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Unlikely Allies was a fun, fast read with a lot of great elements: it's a family drama, an adventure/survival story (think Hatchet, but with kissing), a coming of age story, and a sweet romance.
MC Kimberly (don't you dare call her Kimmie, buster!) is pretty stunned, angry, hurt and, yes, curious when her mom tells her shortly after her 18th b-day that, by the way she does have a Dad after all. Her mom's kept Kimberly's existence secret from her long ago lover Dad, and vice versa, for reasons that don't seem very good in retrospect. So now Kimberly is spending the summer at her Dad's place, which she finds out on her arrival (she and mom don't talk much after the big reveal), is a summer camp for foster kids, high in the Colorado mountains. Quite a change up for the artist chick from a beach town who doesn't especially like kids. And then there's that jerk, Mason, the arrogant quasi-son her Dad seems to have taken under his wing. Why does he seem so determined to drive Kimberly away, just when she's making friends and getting along so well with Dad and the campers? And the most irritating thing about him? She can't stop those tingly-tangly feelings of attraction that make his hostility all the more hurtful. But the ground literally falls out from under her feet when she and Mason are sent into a storm to find a missing camper, and things go downhill fast. Can she find the inner strength to survive and overcome the physical and emotional challenges their new situation presents?
Kimberly is a great character, resourceful and strong, with a good sense of who she is. But it's when she is thrown into some tough and challenging situations that her true colors are revealed and she steps up and grows up, in touching and real feeling ways. She's not a perfect kid, by any means - her relationships tend to suffer from her unfiltered mouth and super snark. But that is part of her considerable charm. Mason, the hottie you love to hate, also reveals his depths as the action develops, and there are some sa-woon-o-rama moments for sure. But the course of true love never did run smooth, and there are obstacles and hurdles in their way, some extrinsic, some the product of pride or pique. How they overcome them, with the help of some really well developed and charming side characters, makes for a touching and tender conclusion to this lovely YA read.
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