Review: Heat of the Moment by Lauren Barnholdt

Heat of the Moment by Lauren Barnholdt

Lyla McAfee had all but forgotten the email that she wrote to herself freshman year and scheduled to be delivered right before graduation—the one promising that she’d learn to trust by the end of senior year. But when she receives it the first morning of her senior trip to Florida her life is sent into a tailspin. Soon she’s questioning her seemingly perfect relationship with her boyfriend, Derrick; her attraction to the school player, Beckett; and whether ending her friendship with Aven and Quinn, her former BFFs, was one of the biggest mistakes of her life.

Title: Heat of the Moment
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Publication date: May 12, 2015

I received Heat of the Moment from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I love the idea of this trilogy. There will be three books (#2 is out in June and #3 in July, which means NOT MUCH WAITING!) about former best friends Lyla, Aven, and Quinn. You know they’re going to finish out book three being BFFs again, right?

Well, it’s a long road to get there. Heat of the Moment focuses on Lyla and their senior trip to Florida. For a school sponsored trip, supervision is surprisingly lax. At the very beginning, the rule was that you had to be on the bus from school to the airport in order to be allowed to board the plane. That’s pretty much the only rule ever mentioned (and Lyla breaks it, after missing the bus). Once they land, these kids are allowed to do whatever they want. They have drinking parties in their hotel rooms, Derrick spends the night in Lyla’s room, Quinn disappears overnight, the entire group goes clubbing, and Lyla ends up in the ER. Where are the adult chaperones during all of this? I don’t know. They are barely even mentioned once they hit Florida.

Lyla is kind of ridiculous, but it’s also at times hilarious being inside her head.

Am I having a walk of shame? The man gives me a disapproving look and then shakes his head. Oh my god. This is my walk of shame! I’m having a walk of shame! I wonder if it still counts if I’m walking to the room of the guy I hooked up with so I can yell at him. Probably it does.

I do like her voice and the way she goes off on tangents, like the one above, but as a character I’m not so sure. She has no real friends because she and Derrick got together soon after her split with Aven and Quinn. She never took the time to develop new friendships. Derrick has friends though, including the lovely Juliana. Lyla’s constantly suspicious that Juliana likes Derrick (and maybe he likes her too?) even while being flattered that Beckett is into her. Even while lying to Derrick about all the time she’s spending with Beckett behind his back. I mean, just break up with the guy, you know?

But Lyla’s too invested in being in the perfect relationship with Derrick to be honest with anyone, including herself. Wanting perfection is part of the reason she’s waited so long (almost two years) to have sex with Derrick. Now she’s ready, but there’s Beckett, always around to distract her.

The whole love triangle drama is the focus of the book, but the broken friendships between the girls and Lyla’s own issues with trust, which relate back to her family, are much more interesting. Back when they were friends, the three girls each scheduled an email to be sent (repeatedly, over the course of a day) to herself, with a goal to achieve before graduation. Lyla’s email says, “Before graduation…I will learn to trust.” What does that even mean? What fourteen year old girl knows she has trust issues?

Despite my problems with Lyla, I’m really looking forward to the next two books. I love Lauren Barnholdt’s writing, and I’m interested in Aven and Quinn and their stories. I’m hoping there’s a little more focus on the girls and their friendship. The end of Heat of the Moment finally reveals what happened from Lyla’s point of view. I can’t wait to see how Aven and Quinn experienced it.

3 1/2 stars
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Jenna