Blog Tour Review: 15 Days With You by Ara Grigorian

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Happy Monday! I have been back at school for about a month now, so my efforts to read and blog have been pushed aside for the time being, but I today I have a review for 15 Days With You by Ara Grigorian, which will be published tomorrow! Ever since I posted the cover reveal for this book, I had been hoping for the chance to read it, and I’m so glad that I was able to finish it despite my ridiculous school schedule. I really enjoyed getting to know Shep, Carmen, and Sam as they journeyed along the California coast!

15 Days eBook ARC (small)15 Days With You by Ara Grigorian
Genre: 
YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: Love, Laugh, Learn Media

A mother’s dying wish. A son in search of answers. A fifteen-day surf odyssey with the California girl who will dare him to rethink everything.

Alone after his mother’s unexpected death, seventeen-year-old Shep leaves Texas to crash with his uncle’s family in Malibu. Before he can hang his cowboy hat, Shep learns something that blows his mind—in her youth, his hard-working single mom was a gifted surfer on her way to international fame. And her dying wish was for him to recreate the surf tour she completed when she was eighteen—the summer she got pregnant with him.

Along with his cousin Carmen (the red-blooded competitive surfer) and her best friend Samantha (the opinionated and mildly annoying beach goddess), Shep hits the road for a surf trip up and down Pacific Coast Highway. Armed with his mother’s ashes and fifteen sealed envelopes—each containing a page from her high school diary—Shep will discover a new side of the complex woman he’d only thought of as Mom, and might finally learn the identity of a man he’s never met—his father.

But each time he paddles out into the waves, a nagging question haunts him—the one he may not be ready to answer: Is he learning to surf because he wants to honor his mother’s dying wish, or running from the real reason he can’t go back to Texas—his own terrible mistake?

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Huge thank you to YA Bound Book Tours for hosting & organizing this blog tour, and to the author and publisher for providing review copies!


Characters

Shep made for an excellent main character and narrator. He had a lot going on with the passing of his mother, a scandal around some football friends, and going to stay with his cousin. He was provided an interesting point of view as a Texan in California, though he was sometimes a little stereotypical. However, I loved the array of emotions he showed, as they were very understandable with the many changes in his life. Shep had an awesome character arc as well, as he grew to be brave and trusting throughout his time with Carmen and Sam.

Oh, Sam. She was the amazing surf goddess with a little unique flair. I loved her original personality and the humor and easiness she brought to the story. Sam had a tough family life, but she was always willing to stand by her friends’ sides. That said, I really could have used more about her family and why things were the way they were. There were hints of something going on, but they remained just hints. Plus, Sam made for a great love interest! The romance was so sweet and tentative in this story, and I think it fit the mood just right!

Carmen, Shep’s cousin, seemed really great and supportive, but we didn’t get much of her. I felt she could have been a really amazing, deep character but she kind of faded into the background. Similarly, we didn’t learn much about Carmen’s parents, Shep’s aunt and uncle, either. They help organize their beach trip, but that was about it. I had a bit of a hard time imagining parents letting their kid take a fifteen-day trip with two friends and no adults around, but what do I know about parenting.

Shep’s mom, Olivia, became a main character even though she was only seen through diary entries. She left pages from her diary to Shep for his journey through California, and we got to experience her very same trip from when she was his age. Olivia was always daring and seemed to have many things going on in her life as well. Her notes always left in cliff hangers, and I frequently wished Shep would just read them all! However, I’m glad that he followed her wishes, so Olivia could show Shep her past in the way she intended.

Plot & Writing

Overall, I felt the plot was a bit boring. That said, I still enjoyed Shep, Sam, and Carmen’s days at the beaches. Each day held something new for them to experience, and each letter brought Shep closer to his mom. The letters also provided a lot of intrigue, which boosted the forward motion of the story. Shep’s adjustment to life in California with two surfer girls also drove the story, and watching him change and grow was wonderful.

I definitely felt that I learned a lot about surfing! Before reading this book I knew absolutely nothing about the sport, but the story included many explanations of surf lingo and how one goes about riding a wave. Of course, the explanations are not exhaustive, but I still loved the inclusion of all those surfing details! For sure, they added a lot of depth and realism to the story and characters!

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About the Author

ara grigorianAra Grigorian is the international award-winning author of GAME OF LOVE, his debut novel. He is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. He earned his Masters in Business Administration from University of Southern California where he specialized in marketing and entrepreneurship. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later). Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories targeted to adult and new adult readers.

Ara is committed to helping writers tell better stories. He is the co-founder of the popular Novel Intensive seminar. Also, he is a workshop leader for the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and the Southern California Writers’ Conference (both Irvine, CA and San Diego, CA). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.

He is represented by Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group.

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