Cal walked out of jail and into a second chance at winning Aly with his grandma’s beater sailboat and a reclaimed dream of sailing charters. Aly has the business smarts, strings to a startup loan, and heart he never should have broken. He’s got squat. Unless you count enough original art to stock a monster rummage sale and an affection for weed. But he’d only ever loved Aly. That had to count for something. Aly needed a guy who owned yard tools, tires worth rotating, and a voter’s registration card. He’d be that guy or die trying. For anyone who’s ever struggled to measure up. And failed.
I read this book while on a cruise in Cocoa Beach Florida, which I thought was funny because I was only an hour away from New Smyrna Beach where the story takes place.
I find that all of Ann Lee Miller's books are relatable in some way, but personally I loved The Art of My Life the most because it was the most relatable to my personal life. There is just something about Miller's writing that makes me never want the story to end.
The characters are the driving force behind the plot and are extremely real. This was not a story that you could never picture happening, because too many families it is real. Cal has not been dealt the best deck of cards, but he does nothing to turn his life around before he is arrested.
Miller introduces the idea that Cal is never good enough for his mother, which I think may be a common thought in many young adults and teenagers. It is as much a great story for a child to accept their mother, but for a mother to accept their child.
Aly is really the driving force at Cal changing. While he has always had it in the back of his mind he needed to change, what really pushed him over the edge was realizing she was not going to visit him in jail. The feeling of never wanting to miss her again was the motivation Cal needed.
I really loved this book, it was the best in the new Smyrna Beach Series in my opinion. Truly a perfectly written story that captures readers and is real. It is a story that can and does happen to many people, making it reach to a wide audience. It is also the perfect beach read!
Reviewed by Rachel Keane
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 9/25/2012