Ohhh my god. This book was so much more than I was expecting it to be. I will forever be obsessed with fluffy, cute YA contemporaries. This is that with a deeper, more meaningful layer hiding underneath. I wouldn’t say this book always reads as being realistic, but it’s somehow unrealistic in the most charming way possible (some of the scenes reminded me of sit-com worthy humor.)
The story follows Rosa. She’s what I would consider a type A, highly motivational person. She’s in her last year of high school while simultaneously in her second year at her local community college. She has goals, and she checks off every single one of them in her perfectly organized bullet journal. She lives with her grandmother who has the most envy-inducing collection of plants. Her mother is constantly traveling so only pops into her life every once in awhile.
There is a supposed curse on the women of the Santos family. When Rosa’s abuela was fleeing Cuba with her grandfather a storm hit. She reached the other side with only her daughter, Rosa’s mother. When Rosa’s mother was still pregnant with her, she also lost her husband to the sea. Only his boat was found. So basically, everyone in this small community of Port Coral believes these women to be bad news for any sailor. (see title: Don’t Date Rosa Santos lol) Rosa doesn’t go near the marina. She doesn’t step foot on the beach. Nothing.
I love stories that focus on tight-knit communities that are so alive with description they seem to be a character themselves. The community of Port Coral came alive to me in its description of the delicious food (omg I was basically drooling the whole time), the smell of the sea, and the sunny harbor. Maybe I’m just jealous because it’s April and still freezing here, but this scene came alive for me.
I really don’t want to say too much about the plot, because I think it’s more magical if you go in not knowing too much. I’m so excited for you to discover this community, the Santos family, and the sweetest of romances for the first time. I loved the lyrical, flowery writing style so much and 100% plan to read anything Nina Moreno releases in the future. If you want a quick taste of hot, Florida sunshine, please read this asap.
A Must-read if you like:
- Complicated family dynamics
- Realistic magic
- Drool-worthy food descriptions
- Cuban American mc
- Depiction of diaspora
*Thank you to Netgalley and Disney Hyperion for this review copy!