Author: Sabrina Elkins
Publication: October 1, 2013
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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….
Thank you to HarlequinTeen Senior Editor, Margo Lipschultz for telling me about this book and for providing a copy for review!
What I Liked: You had me at wounded soldier. STIR ME UP is well written, with endearing characters and a story line that will break your heart in the best way possible. It will also make you extremely hungry, so I don't advise reading on an empty stomach.
Cami has spent her life in the kitchen of her father's french restaurant and wants more than anything to be a chef herself, although not necessarily one who focuses solely on french cuisine. Dad wants what's best for her which, in his opinion, is to go to college.
There's also Luke, whose not only Cami's boyfriend, but also her co-worker. He wants what's best for her too, which he thinks is hitting a home run and planning a life with him. Cami isn't sure what she wants, not really. She just knows she's getting pressure from all sides and if she could just have some time to think, to breathe, she might be able to figure it all out.
And then Julian enters the picture, upending her house and her life. He's obnoxious, rude, insulting, and more than a little nice to look which just makes everything worse. He pushes Cami too and she pushes him right back. (She even throws food at him.) But as mad as Julian makes her, he also makes Cami think - about her future, her relationships and what she wants most out of life.
With Julian's help, Cami might actually be able to envision a future full of flavor and promise. And with Cami's help, Julian might be able to start putting his past behind him.
I felt like Sabrina Elkins did a great job of capturing the "realness" of relationships. Teens and parents don't always see eye to eye and it's never easy to end a relationship with someone. Figuring out how to balance and navigate feelings and hormones is awkward sometimes too.
I REALLY liked that Julian pushed Cami to pursue her own dreams despite what that could mean for their future. So often, people can get caught up in the feeling of not being able to live without the other person that they set aside what they really want.
What Left Me Wanting More: There were times when Cami's words and actions seemed to contradict each other and I had to remind myself that she was a teenager.
I liked the ending but I wanted an epilogue. (And by epilogue, I really mean, I needed more Julian.) Julian still had a ways to go to work through his issues and I felt like I needed to see how he was doing a year down the road.
Final Verdict: Witty, romantic and heartrending debut!
Review also posted at YABC.