Sunday, August 12, 2018

Book Review: "The Seasonaires" by Janna King

Six beautiful young men and women have been given an exceptional opportunity, to spend the summer on Nantucket and work for popular fashion brand Lyndon Wyld. They'll be "seasonaires"—influential brand ambassadors—for Lyndon Wyld, creating buzz for the entire collection, at events and especially through social media, where it's the number of followers and likes that tell the tale.

The group members are an interesting mix—Mia, a scrappy young woman from South Boston who dreams of a career in the fashion industry but has always put family in first; Presley, the beautiful, blonde beauty queen from the South who is the returning seasonaire from the previous summer, and wants to return again; Jade, the independent, beautiful daughter of a music icon and a model, who has plans of her own; Cole, the handsome introvert; J.P., a designer who can't be swayed from his ambition—and Grant, the carefree stud who flirts with everyone, and has never met a party he doesn't like.

The seasonaires have a pretty sweet life—visiting the Lyndon Wyld store and generating publicity at different events during the day, partying and socializing at night. The maven behind the brand, Lyndon Wyld herself, and her wily sister Grace keep watch on the group members via social media and know when they're doing the right things as well as the wrong things. But the group isn't prepared for an increasingly dangerous rivalry with another fashion brand, whose models are tougher and less supervised, as well as the copious amounts of alcohol, drugs, violence, and betrayal that they're faced with.

Mia loves the opportunities she's getting but can't turn off her protective nature, even when it means caring about a troubled model from the rival brand. She's also unprepared for not knowing whom to trust, and as the summer goes on, her suspicions and fears grow, ending in the murder of someone close to her, and she doesn't understand how a magical summer could turn so dangerous.

After reading a few dark, emotionally heavy books, I was looking for something lighter and more entertaining, and The Seasonaires definitely fit the bill. Janna King has created a fascinating look at a group of young people doing something I had never thought about, but I couldn't stop reading. This is one of those stories where a lot of the plot hinges on actions caused by things people don't say to one another, and people getting access to others' text messages, phones, and social media accounts, but I still found the story really enjoyable.

It's funny; much of the criticism of this book I've seen has stemmed from the fact that people couldn't identify with the seasonaires' activities, and that the reliance on social media, on stories and selfies and likes, made them feel old. I didn't agree with that. The plot may not be earth-shattering, and you may see much of the story coming (and there's at least one plot thread that falls flat since it tells more than shows), but I devoured this book in one day, and enjoyed it from start to finish.

If you're looking for a lighter read, or the perfect book for a late-summer break, try The Seasonaires. It'll definitely put you in the mood for a beach, and maybe a shopping trip or two!

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