It’s July which means we are right in the middle of Beach Read Season™️ and I scored an ARC and an ALC of THE SUMMER GIRL by Elle Kennedy. Honestly, doesn’t that just sound like the perfect (spicy, obviously) beach read? (Not that I’m reading at the beach, I would rather die that suffer through triple digit heat with the sun bearing down on me, sand getting everything, and the potential for my precious books to get water damage.)

Cassie Soul hasn’t been back in Avalon Bay for a whole summer in years, but the time has come. Her grandmother has sold their family’s boardwalk hotel and Cassie returns to the beachside town to spend time with her family before the grand re-opening…and maybe find herself a summer fling in the process. The first night in town, she finds the perfect man for the job: Tate Bartlett. Tate is no stranger to a good fling - he’s always down for a good time! But he realizes quickly that Cassie is not the fling kind of girl and he quickly friend-zones her to protect her heart…only to realize later that he's made a huge mistake. As the pair straddle the line between friends and lovers, they find that the least complicated part of their lives is their relationship. Because when you’re a part of a community like Avalon Bay, the secrets that abound threaten everything that you try to build.

This is definitely not your average summer fling romance. Don’t get me wrong, the tension between Cassie and Tate from the get go is delicious, but the fact that they actually start their relationship as friends is glorious. I’m not usually a slow burn kind of girl, but this slow burn was done in such a fun way. And anyone who reads romance knows that there is a good chance there is going to be a third act breakup - but even that part of the book was handled differently than most!

The relationships that develop throughout the book flow so naturally. Kennedy is able to bring new girl Cassie into the fold while giving us the perfect glimpse into the lives of the residents of Avalon Bay that we already knew and loved from the first two books. I really do love a good romance series - we get to watch different couples falling in love while revisiting a world we’re already comfortable in.

And oh my goodness, the SPICE. Kennedy knows how to write a spicy scene and it SHOWS. And she weaves it effortlessly into a story that is both hilarious and emotional at different points. I spent various parts of this book laughing out loud and crying through all the emotions. Talk about a roller coaster!

This is the first audiobook I've listened to narrated by Caitlin Elizabeth, but she captured the voice of Cassie wonderfully and I look forward to future audiobooks from her. And Teddy Hamilton…listen, if you’re an audiobook listener (especially romance!), chances are you know Teddy Hamilton. I really don’t think I need to expound upon the beauty that is the voice of Teddy Hamilton. IYKYK.

Because we love a content warning, it’s important to note that there are some things in this book that could be triggering to some people including emotional abuse and mentions of miscarriage and abortion.

THE SUMMER GIRL is the third book in Elle Kennedy’s Avalon Bay series and it hits shelves on July 18, 2023. Preorder your copy here and, while you’re shopping, make sure you pick up the first two books in the series as well, GOOD GIRL COMPLEX and BAD GIRL REPUTATION.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book and audiobook from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."