Ok, I’m not going to lie. When I first started Living in the Shallows, I was like a boy band? Really?
But because I’m professional (What? Why are you laughing?) I gave it an honest try and I am so glad that I did. Putting my reservations aside, I let myself get swept up in the story and as it turns out, I really enjoyed it.
Living in the Shallows UK Crush Series (Release Date: October 28 2016)
Aileen Foster is half Japanese, rocky smart, brilliant at the piano, and really, really poor. She also likes to keep herself to herself; “an arm’s length sort of girl, with a very long arm”, as someone describes her in Living in the Shallows. Through her professor, she gets an amazing job for the summer in Japan as an interpreter for popular boyband UK Crush, who are making a movie.
When she meets the boys, she’s shocked by their openness, kindness, and frank physicality. She’s never met anyone like these guys before, who live so raucously, emotionally, and they awaken feelings she’s never had, particularly Theo, the acknowledged flirt and womanizer of the band. She travels with them as they film the movie, falling more and more under the spell of these amazing boys, who themselves are charmed by the presence in their midst of an intelligent, articulate female who isn’t a crazy fan; who hadn’t really even known who they were before this job:
Gethin, the ginger Welshman, who keeps his feelings to himself, but won’t hesitate to throw a punch if he thinks someone he cares about is being hurt;
Matthew, the gentle Scot, who is so beautiful that it almost hurts to look at him sometimes;
Ronan, the fun-loving Irishman who loves to laugh;
Theo, the emotional English boy who loves with his whole heart, but seems to bounce from one beautiful woman to the next.
Eventually, Tink, as she’s known to the boys, realizes that she has to make some decisions about life and living that she never thought she’d have to make. Classical piano has been her whole life, and she is woefully unprepared to deal with the river of emotions released by being with these boys, Theo specifically. How can she give her heart to someone, anyone, when she never ever, thought she’d have to, let alone want to?
I admit it. I’m fairly cynical when it comes to romance (and even more so about boy bands) but this new generation of New Adult books are making me reevaluate my stance on the genre.
Living in the Shallows is a lovely coming-of-age story. I say this only because the protagonist is a late bloomer. Otherwise I would define it as a “finding your true self” type of novel. Due to Aileen’s traditional upbringing and unfortunate life experiences, she doesn’t grow as a person, more specifically as a woman until a much later age. Not until she finds herself in the midst of four goofy but gorgeous men, who help her learn how to let her guard down.
Ok so let’s talk about the characters. I liked “Tink” and the boys but I had a little trouble with the realism factor regarding their relationships. I do believe it would be possible for multiple people to develop feelings or an attraction to the same woman. Especially when you consider the proximity. What was hard for me to believe was that this very conservative young woman with almost zero experience with men, immediately became enamoured with or close to, all of the boys instantly. It didn’t make me like the story less but I could see it being a potential issue for other readers. Other than that I very much enjoyed the book.
Of course I loved Theo. How could you not? He is the quintessential bad boy musician with a big heart. I am very happy Tink and Theo’s relationship developed as it did. Also that ending? Loved it!
I had my reservations at first and maybe just a couple of finicky little things that weren’t so realistic, but as a whole I really liked Living in the Shallows and will continue reading the series.
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About the Author
My name is Tani Hanes, and I am a 51-year-old substitute teacher. I’m from central California and am a recent transplant to New York City. The most important things to know about me are that I’m punctual, I love grammar and sushi, and I’m very intolerant of intolerance. The least important things to know about me are that I like to knit and I couldn’t spell “acoustic” for 40 years. I’ve wanted to write since I was ten, and I finally did it. If you want to write, don’t wait as long as I did, it’s pointless, and very frustrating!
Pssst! If you want to check out some sample chapters from book #2 Diving Deep, you’ll find them on Tani’s Wattpad page!