I’ve been patiently biding my time for this companion to Keeping the Distance to release out into the world ever since I finished the first book that fateful night in February. After nine faithful months, it finally came to my notice today that the sequel was already out, so I hurried on to catch up with these beloved characters.
Nineteen-year-old Cam has a metric ton of emotional baggage and is in no mood to unload them on anyone. After her parents’ marriage imploded, stress-free is the only way she wants her life to be. And what could be more freeing than spending the summer on Boracay? Absolutely nothing…until she bumps heads with Hunter, the hot drummer who screams incoming heartbreak from a mile away.
Though I’m a bit mad at myself for reading this book a whole month after its publication, Making It Complicated still presented itself at exactly the right time in my life. It’s interesting how just the day before I’d been in the mood for a quick and fun-filled romance to sweep me off my feet, and the universe delivered just right with this book.
The events of this book are set a year after Keeping the Distance: Camille Velasco, Melissa Ortiz’s best friend, is set for her summer before college, full of bright and hopeful opportunities.
“It was a great night to be nineteen.”
Side note: I’m thankful I got my wish fulfilled of having Cam as the main in the sequel, as I mentioned in my review for #1. Her carefree youth encompassed me at the start of the book. Speaking of which, here are some of the main points from the book I’d like to highlight (mild spoilers ahead):
- The main issue occurring between Cam and Mel, “the best friend I didn’t quite know how to deal with anymore,” of how they’d outgrown each other.
“I wanted to be happy for her.
Truly, I did.
But a huge part of me didn’t believe in the same things she did anymore, in finding such utter bliss with another person and trusting they weren’t going to rip you apart. I didn’t have the energy for that.”
We follow Cam’s journey of going out into the world on her own to try to find who she is a person, especially after the whole ordeal that happened in her family. I’m a sucker for a classic coming-of-age tale.
- There’s a lot more angst and resentment than I anticipated going into this, but nonetheless grew to appreciate as an important trait of Cam’s strong-willed character growth.
“I was broken, and I had to stop hoping other people would fix things. Not Mel. Not Hunter. I had to put the pieces back together myself.”
Her anger was palpable, understandable, and not just swept away over the course of the book, which I appreciated a tenfold.
- But circling back to Mel and Cam, the continuous miscommunication happening between them brought to mind my favorite quote from my favorite duo in Broad City:
- I was relieved to see less of her best friend because truth to be told, Mel and Lance were so uncomfortable to watch from an outsider’s perspective. In their POV in Keeping the Distance, I could put aside my discomfort and chalk it up to nothing serious… But seeing them acting all lovey-dovey in front of Cam, I couldn’t help but think of this eerily fitting vine:
So I was low-key relieved to see less and less of them over the span of the book.
- Instead, I welcomed the new group dynamics with Hunter Alvarez and his bandmates Cal, Eddie, and Keith. The teasing was merciless. And the laughs endless.
- Plus, I have to pay attention to a tiny detail from one of the members that had me enraptured for the rest of the book:
“Do you want to listen to this podcast with me?” Keith offered one of his earphones to me.”
This offer is the one true key to my heart.
- But out of all the members, I’d love to know more about my silent mystery man, Cal. “It was obvious Hunter made most of the major decisions, but Cal could control the rest of them with a single sentence. All that quiet power was amazing to watch in action.”
- Finally, moving on to the main couple of the book… The rising sexual tension between Cam and Hunter was deliciously satisfying.
“Did I dare step inside his house when I knew very well we were going to be alone? A thousand thoughts—about the feel of his lips on mine, how hard his abs were underneath my fingertips—demanded entry into my brain. I refused to let them in.
“Is there anyone else inside?” I trusted Hunter, just not my hormones.
I watched as a light bulb seemed to go off in his head. His eyes moved from my black camisole down to my distressed denim shorts. The look he gave me made me want to pull my shirt collar away from my neck and fan myself with one hand. Voice low, he said, “No, it’s just us.”
This infinitely patient boy had me sitting at the edge of my seat with the drop of his voice.
And one more for the road:
“Every inch of my side connected with his, our shoulders and knees sliding against each other every time the jeepney stopped. When the wind burst inside and whipped my hair around my shoulders, Hunter reached out and gathered the strands in his fist, pulling them over my shoulder for me.
When his fingers brushed against my neck, I forgot how to breathe.
“You look a little…weird,” Hunter sounded a little too happy. He knew very well what he was doing to me. The bastard.”
Overall, this sequel full of antics from youthful summers exceeded all my expectations. I’m giddy for what’s next in store.