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Small Town Hearts


Rule #1: Never fall for a summer boy.

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Swoon Index

  • Heat

    8 (23 ratings)

  • Tears

    8 (27 ratings)

  • Laughs

    8 (24 ratings)

  • Thrills

    8 (24 ratings)

Full Description

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at her coffee shop. Even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had - to never fall for a summer boy?


I didn't have it bad for tall, blonde, and gorgeous sitting in the corner table. Nope, not at all. He was aesthetic. And mysterious. And new to Oar's Rest, the sleepy little Maine town that spilled over with tourists during the summer and turned into a ghost town the rest of the year.

Nestled on the coast, Oar's Rest attracted all kinds of people, but mostly the artistic kind. The kind of girls who tucked flowers into their hair and rode shiny, new bicycles. The kind of boys who had paint and cigarette stains on their fingertips, battling for flesh. The writers who secreted themselves away from the real world and then slipped away from their rented houses and emerged in the fall with a bestseller.

The tired, middle-aged office-dwellers who arrived with red-rimmed eyes and a haggard, lost expression on their faces, hoping to find respite and relaxation. Young couples who wanted to get away from the city, and who wound up buying a house and setting down roots in the grains of sand that liberally coated the entire coast.

And then there were the runners. The people who were trying to get away from something—someone—and had travelled the entire expanse of the whole wide world trying to find whatever it was they were looking for. Only to wind up here. I lumped my favorite customer in that category.

Don't ask me why, but he had that look about him—the look of someone who was running away from something.


2020 ALA Rainbow List Selection

"Refreshing ... A charming and satisfying read." —NPR

"A queer small-town romance that will give you major butterflies." —Bustle

"A wistful, lingering romance. The best kind of summer love story—filled with characters that make you wish you could hang out forever in their small East Coast haven. I loved it!" —Aminah Mae Safi, author of Not the Girls You're Looking For

"It is a story of summer romance, friendship, breakups, baking, art, beaches and sandcastles. You will fall in love with Babe and Levi and would instantly want to visit Oar’s Rest. ... You absolutely need this amazing summery contemporary in your life." —Flipping Through the Pages

“The writing is beautiful. The story is genuine. The characters reach out to you. In the world full of clichés, here's to one of my favorite book which defied them.” —Ojas, Swoon Reader

“The town of Oar's Rest sounds so real and the landscape of sand, sea, and small town life is painted with masterful brush strokes... I was hooked from the first page... This is a story to be cherished and read over and over.” —AimeDelay, Swoon Reader

“A breath of fresh air… You'll fall on love with Oar's Rest and the wonderfully quirky people who make up the town, just like Babe would want you to!” —SineadH93, Swoon Reader