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I must admit that I picked this book up based solely on the location. I once lived in Nederland Colorado (well, actually, I lived in a valley up on Magnolia, s brutal little switchback road with cliffs on one side, and dizzying drops on the other, which anyone familiar with the area will know. Driving it in winter in an F150 was “interesting” to say the least!). Ned is a beautiful little town, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. And who can find a town with a Frozen Dead Guy and a Carousel of Happiness all in the same place? Not to mention the Pioneer Inn, which would make any rock fan faint with envy. Besides being the first place I know if to turn fast food grease into automobile fuel?

Foster’s descriptions are spot on, from Ned itself to Left Hand Canyon, Boulder and beyond.  Her local characters are also wonderfully drawn. Sam and Morning Sun are both jewels who reminds me very much of people I once knew in Ned, and the few interactions we get with other characters made me feel at home. Overall, that portion of the book was worth the read.

Now for the bad part. The totally unrealistic romance and how it took a strong female lead and turned her into a caricature of the needy, whiny romantic novel female with the

Tickets to ride this 1910 fully restored and updated
carousel are only $1.00 and all proceeds go to children’s

emotional maturity of a 14-year-old. Callie comes to the novel strong and extremely likable. She has been through a lot, having been stalked and terrorized by a sadistic, narcissistic

sociopath and stood up for herself. However, immediately upon entering Ned and meeting Sam, a dear old friend of her father’s, she also meets Jack, a narcissistic, self-centered jerk who goes out of his way to be cruel to her. And, of course, she immediately falls head over heels. Huh? Didn’t she just get past all that? He is by turns needy then thoughtful, poetic and then a total  unmitigated self-centred (insert expletive here). The first time a situation requires he step up to the plate and be honest, he runs off for a week, “goes to ground,” Instead of doing what she is there to do, work on improving herself and learning to be happy with how wonderful her life truly is, she spends the time moping around, crying “buckets of tears” and writing long, “I’m 14-years old and my first crush just dumped me for my best friend” `poetry’. Of course, she takes him back without question, though he gives her no insight into why he treats her well and then saunters off and leaves her hanging without a word. Literally walks out on her.

The second time he does the same thing, when stakes are immensely higher, she does the same thing. The whole “buckets of tears” and bad poetry, “why, why why what did I do to make you betray me” crap (hey, HE is the one that straight out the door and disappeared once again to pout, or whatever he does when he goes off and doesn’t answer his phone. Fah!)

Of course, in the end she takes him back, AGAIN, and he promises everlasting love and explains what happened in his life that makes him such a jerk. Meh. And he will never go off and sulk for weeks at a time again. Riiiight….

Overall, the location sells the book. I was actually nauseated that one of the reviewers said one drawback of the book is that Jack should have been more “aloof”. HUH? If he were any more aloof, he would just never come back to town, but to each their own. Some seemed to think that the relationship was `romantic’ so there are those out there that won’t find it to be simply overwrought and immature.

Recommended to learn about one of the prettiest spots on earth, not recommend for the rest.