Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Teen
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Young Adult
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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Look up the word “nerd” and you’ll find Lily Bailey’s picture. She’s got one goal: first stop valedictorian, next stop Harvard. Until a stint in the hospital from too much stress lands her in the last place a klutz like her ever expected to be: salsa dance lessons.
Look up the word “popular” and you’ll find Stone Torres’s picture. His life seems perfect—star of the football team, small-town hero, lots of friends. But his family is struggling to make ends meet, so if pitching in at his mom's dance studio helps, he’ll do it.
When Lily’s dad offers Stone extra cash to volunteer as Lily’s permanent dance partner, he can’t refuse. But with each dip and turn, each moment her hand is in his, his side job starts to feel all too real. Lily shows Stone he's more than his impressive football stats, and he introduces her to a world outside of studying. But with the lines blurred, can their relationship survive the secret he's been hiding?
Rachel Harris has been a go-to for contemporary YA romances for me and every time I read one of her books, I enjoy the heck out of them. It took me no time at all to fall into this book and it was another one sitting read about two young students who fall in love with each other and the journey they take to get to that happy for now ending.
Lily is trying to get into Harvard and she’s working her butt off to make sure that she stands a chance of getting in. When she lands herself in the hospital for stressing the hell out, her Dad steps in and tells her that something needs to change. She either needs to give up some of her classes or she needs to take a day off from all things school, at least one day each week to do fun things. Anything that does not have anything to do with school. So to make her Dad happy, she signs up for a salsa class that brings her into contact with Stone Torres, the star football player from school.
Stone is the popular kid at school, the star quarterback that is living the life…only his parents are struggling with money, his girlfriend cheated on him and he’s stuck working at his mother’s dance studio for free when he could be making some actual money to help the family elsewhere. When he becomes Lily Bailey’s permanent dance partner while she’s taking classes at his Mom’s studio, things are looking up and he figures he’s got everything worked out until he starts getting to know Lily, starts liking Lily and then starts dating her. A tangled web of untruths threaten to blow up Stone’s world again and he’s not sure how to come out on top without damaging everything he’s come to hold dear.
There was a lot going on in this book but I thought everything was handled well. I liked seeing Lily and Stone become friends and then work their way toward becoming more. I wanted Stone to come clean about everything much sooner but understood why he didn’t and really, I thought Harris did a great job of showcasing a romance between the nerd and the jock that was sweet, fun and completely believable.
There was much to enjoy in this book outside of the romance between Stone and Lily too. The new friendship that blossomed between Angela, Lily, and Sidney. The potential of romance between Angela and Chase. The family dynamics are strong and overall, the story was just good and solid. There wasn’t much about the book that I didn’t enjoy. I mean, I didn’t like Cameron and Noah but they were such a small part of the story and everything else was great. I’m certainly glad that I picked this one up for review because Rachel Harris shines with these YA contemporary romances. So good!
Grade: 4 out of 5