Don’t you love it when you pick up a book with a cute premise, thinking it will be a nice way to pass the time and end up falling in love with it?
Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She’ll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father’s French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami’s family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.
Julian’s all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami’s starting to feel. And Cami can’t stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He’s got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated…
I will start by saying I hate French. The language, not the people. Although I’m not crazy about them, either. They weren’t very welcoming when I visited. Oh well. France is gorgeous, though.
I do, however, love French food. But that’s beside the point, unless you consider me wipe the corner of my mouth checking for drool whenever I read what they’re cooking up in the book. And there’s lots of cooking.
Camille is a 17-year-old wanna be chef (and probably will be) working in her father’s French restaurant in Massachusetts. She’s pretty, very talented and has a best friend and a boyfriend who works alongside her in her father’s kitchen.
When Julian, her step mother’s nephew comes to stay with them during his recovery from an injury, things get interesting. He’s rude, obnoxious, angry and very sad. He lashes out, and Cami gives as good as she gets. After all, she did lose her room to a stranger she’s never met.
Cami is strong. Strong minded and determined yet sensitive and compassionate. She is desperately trying to balance her father’s wishes for her with her own aspirations, be there for her step-mother and helping her cope with the news of her nephew, and when she remembers she’s still in school, she also tries to be a teen and have fun.
Julian on the other hand, a now ex-Marine, recovering from an amputation and angry at the world, is slowly falling for Cami’s wit, determination and sweet charm.
“A hero is just an ordinary person placed in extraordinary circumstances.”
“Who said that,” Julian asks, looking up at me, “Emerson?”
“Actually, I think it was Spider-Man.”
Strong characters for the MCs is always a good thing in my book, but a good supporting character is the best; Taryn, Camille’s best friend is perfect in that supporting role. She’s funny, talented and a really good judge of character. She’s witty and cheeky and Elkins wrote her perfectly as the best friend:
Estella’s made tuna casserole, I text Taryn. Dad will DIE.
IF HE PASSES OUT, she text back, I VOLUNTEER TO GIVE MOUTH-TO-MOUTH.
Yes, she thinks Dad’s hot. She thinks everyone’s hot.
Taryn’s crazy – in a great way.
And she is. Her character definitely gives tiny, but necessary pushes to the storyline. Almost like her presence is what makes Cami a teenager, as opposed to a young woman past high-school age.
Contrary to novels that start with a little bit of past, a little bit of inner musings and contemplations, SMU starts right from the first page. The story flows, it’s got beat and it’s got balance. Cami’s voice is believable, mature yet perfectly teenage-like, and I liked that it’s not very self reflective. We don’t get too much of Cami’s thoughts, there aren’t redundant repetitions and the directness of Cami as a narrator made me feel like she’s telling me her and Julian’s story.
I’m looking forward to more from Sabrina Elkins.
Yeaaaaahhhh, I found a new author I’m going to stalk.
Get Stir Me Up
OMG and before I forget – there’s a surprise at the end of the book.
About the author
SABRINA ELKINS, author of STIR ME UP, has also worked as a journalist, movie copywriter and prep cook. She grew up in Vermont, graduated from USC, and now lives in Southern California with her husband and three kids.