Review: After Hours by Claire Kennedy

After Hours by Claire Kennedy

Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn’t just about waiting tables. It’s about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it’s about Tips.

Tips–the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.

Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.

Xavi will do anything for the money…absolutely anything.

Peter, Xavi’s stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings.

Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy…even if those tips come with some conditions.

From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.

The sophisticated Waterside Cafe is anything but classy behind the scenes…and things are about to get dirty

Title: After Hours
Author: Claire Kennedy
Publication date: June 16, 2015

I received an ARC of After Hours from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve spent a long time working in the restaurant industry, so I jumped on After Hours as soon as I saw it posted on Edelweiss. It wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be, but I still enjoyed it.

There are a lot of crazy things happening in this book, and yes, Finn is doing exactly what you think he’s doing. That’s just one of the secrets the staff members of the Waterside Cafe are keeping. Their secrets are all pretty extreme, too, not the usual secrets you would expect from the average high school student. These are the secrets of teen television shows. Any of these characters would be in good company with the characters of Gossip Girl, 90210, or Degrassi.

Everyone who works at the Waterside is eligible to participate in Tips, a game of dares. One person, handpicked by the manager Rico, sets the dare. Everyone else can buy in (at a price of 20% of their tips) for a chance to take the dare. The winner’s name is drawn out of a hat and he or she then has to complete the dare in order to win the pot. It sounds simple, but the dare can be — and are — anything at all, even something illegal.

At first Tips seemed like it would be the main focus of the book, but it quickly took a backseat to all the drama and other things happening in the characters’ lives. I was a little disappointed in that because I definitely expected more from Tips.

I can’t say that I related to, or even particularly liked, any of the characters, but I was interested in the situations they found themselves in and kept reading to see what the outcomes would be.

The story is told from the perspective of each of the four main characters, and I spent most of Xavi’s wondering how to pronounce her name. I finally looked it up but apparently the people in the comments disagree with and if you go to that website, both the audio and video disagree with the Youtube video and agree with the YT comments. So I still don’t know.

Also, it seems to be more of a boy’s name.

Xavi is probably the most sympathetic character and if I had to pick one, she would be my favorite. All she wants was to be promoted from busser to waitress so she can make more money for her future, but Rico won’t do that until she turns 17 — or is there another way? The rest of the characters, including Rico, are all skeevy in various ways and to differing degrees. Well, maybe not Peter, but every time I read his name I pictured Peter from Degrassi. Just no.

While I liked After Hours, the concept is better than the execution. It reminds me of Panic in that way, and I guess I had some of the same problems with it than I did with Panic. Both books get the same amount of stars, but I did like After Hours better than Panic. I don’t think I can raise After Hours half a star, though, to show that. I guess this proves that those who have issues with star ratings have a point.

3 stars



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