July 1, 2020

Review: Keep My Heart in San Francisco

Keep My Heart in San Francisco by Amelia Diane Coombs
Grade: C-
Release date: July 14, 2020
An e-galley was provided by Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Caroline “Chuck” Wilson has big plans for spring break—hit up estate sales to score vintage fashion finds and tour the fashion school she dreams of attending. But her dad wrecks those plans when he asks her to spend vacation working the counter at Bigmouth’s Bowl, her family’s failing bowling alley. Making things astronomically worse, Chuck finds out her dad is way behind on back rent—meaning they might be losing Bigmouth’s, the only thing keeping Chuck’s family in San Francisco.

And the one person other than Chuck who wants to do anything about it? Beckett Porter, her annoyingly attractive ex-best friend.

So when Beckett propositions Chuck with a plan to make serious cash infiltrating the Bay Area action bowling scene, she accepts. But she can’t shake the nagging feeling that she’s acting irrational—too much like her mother for comfort. Plus, despite her best efforts to keep things strictly business, Beckett’s charm is winning her back over...in ways that go beyond friendship.

If Chuck fails, Bigmouth’s Bowl and their San Francisco legacy are gone forever. But if she succeeds, she might just get everything she ever wanted.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: This book seemed like it would be perfect for me. It's contemporary YA, and it has a great pitch (a bowling alley? a setting other than Los Angeles or New York? former friends reforming their relationship?). But something didn't work.
There were just so many communication problems. Chuck's dad isn't telling her anything about their problems at Bigmouth's Bowl; she's not telling him how she's trying to save it. I also really couldn't get behind two teenagers running around and illegally gambling on bowling games.
I was also a bit bored by the lack of characters. The story is mainly just Chuck and Beckett, and I think Chuck really needed at least one more friend, just for some variety. I also felt Keep My Heart in San Francisco followed the same trite pattern of a parent with mental illness and their child being afraid of following in their footsteps. There was too much stigma around mental illness (specifically bipolar disorder and depression).

Content warnings: bipolar disorder, suicide, foul language, underage drinking and gambling

The Verdict: I felt very let-down by this book.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Sadly, no.

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