C.J. Duggan's "Summer" series is definitely a guilty-pleasure type of book where you can mostly predict what will happen, but you don't care because it's a witty and fun story to read on a sweltering summer day at the beach. Yes, it's a romance book and I would consider it "fluff," but it's the good kind.
In the first novel of this series, Amy was a moody fifteen year old and more of a background character who was portrayed as a spoiled and bratty teenager. In An Endless Summer, we are introduced to Amy as a young woman who remains stubborn, but she also wants to prove that she is more than just a rich publican's daughter and that she can work for what she wants. Her mission? Save her family's legacy - The Onslow Hotel.
Amy returns to Onslow during her gap year to find her family's business in utter disrepair. She reluctantly accepts help from Sean Murphy and their mutual friends to renovate the hotel. Sean is a shameless flirt and has a reputation as a player. Yet, he is also fiercely protective of the people in his inner circle and always goes the extra mile to help his friends. Amy spends much of the story rejecting the notion of Sean as a love-interest. She's convinced he would never be interested in her because she has always been the "kid sister" among the Onslow boys (there's a 7 year age difference between them). Their flirtatious banter is often fun and I actually liked this novel better than the first because there isn't an angsty love-triangle. Amy is also a much more confident protagonist than Tess and knows what she wants even if she is too proud to admit it. It was refreshing to witness Sean and Amy's relationship slowly transform from a friendship to something more meaningful.
The one thing I felt conflicted about, however, is how the story ended. Once Amy's parents learn about her activities in Onslow, they do some things that, to me, seem wholly unnecessary. Perhaps Eric Henderson sees his daughter for who she really is, but Amy's mother kept trying to transform her into someone she could never be. It's just ironic that Amy's parents spoil her, but when Amy shows them that she can earn what she wants they refuse to recognize her hard work and continue to treat her like a clueless little girl who doesn't know what is in her best interests. The ending didn't progress logically and I don't believe the Hendersons' actions were realistic. If my parents ever treated me or my friends the way Amy's parents treated hers, I would probably never speak to them again.