Have you ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time? If so, you’ll probably empathize with the crazy mess Tatum got herself into. She went on a shopping trip with her best friend, Ashlyn, and Ashlyn’s boyfriend tagged along. Sick of watching them make out, she decided to purchase her own items and wait out front, in her car, for them to finish up and join her. When they came out, though, they were followed by security — because Ashlyn’s boyfriend had been shoplifting. It didn’t matter that Tatum wasn’t in on his plan. She and Ashlyn were with him, so they were arrested too. Not only did she receive a large fine and compulsory community service, but she and Ashlyn stopped talking after she agreed to give testimony for a lighter sentence.
Despite the fact that she didn’t “do” anything, her father grounded her (pretty much indefinitely) right before he left town for business. Can you imagine? Just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, her entire summer was ruined. When she wasn’t out doing her community service, she was stuck on house arrest with her stepmother, Belén — who seemed to hate her and to look for any and every opportunity to punish her — and her stepsister, Tilly. Tilly basically existed solely to dance [ballet], and was the apple of her mother’s eye, so it was kind of a given that the girls didn’t form any sort of sisterly bond. There were two bright spots in this whole mess, though. First of all, her step-abuela, Blanche, would be coming to stay for the summer. Even though Blanche was coming to help keep an eye on Tatum, she seemed to be more of a “fairy grandmother” than a warden. Second, there was the fact that Tatum would have plenty of time to spend on her web design skills and creating a company/portfolio to use for her college applications.
Although there were obvious Cinderella vibes, this story didn’t feel like it was *just* a modernized retelling. I loved the diverse cast of characters, the look into the complications of blended families, the realistic teen angst, and the swoon-worthy romance. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy contemporary romances by authors like Sarah Dessen, Carolyn Mackler, and Sara Zarr.