Book Reviews

Review: Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale

If you want to read a book that will make your mouth water, your heart swoon, and your eyes tear up, look no further.


Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall.

And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him.

Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?


(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Small Town Hearts is a charming book featuring a bisexual baker who has to believe in finding love in the most unlikely places. It’s a book about friendship, change, and self-discovery. Babe has to figure out who she is – the local baker, the third part of their trio, or the broken hearted ex-gf, or something new entirely.

What I loved about Small Town Hearts is the way Vale seamlessly incorporates all these various elements – heartbreak, friendship, fears of the future – all into one story in a way that just works together. Babe’s journey from heartbroken about her relationship, left on the outside of the trio, and hesitant about love is one I’d read all over again.


Vale has a way with writing which pulls at your heartstrings. It lays bare on the page emotions you’ve been struggling with, and words you couldn’t string together. There’s a forwardness, a genuine honesty, and an emotional pull that runs through the pages.

Not to mention, the plot keeps you guessing. All of these marbles are set into motion, down a winding track of hills, valleys, and cliffs. Until you’re on the edge of your seat wondering, “will they make it through summer?” It follows Babe and her journey. Her mistakes made out of nostalgia, out of the moments that collapse into a roar. And it follows her attempts to strike a new path.

To go somewhere she never thought she could.

(Lest I forget, I adored the coffee culture! Not to mention the mouth watering baking scenes. I need recipes. Stat. This book needs to be read with a snack and coffee. Much like the cover. Also the town Babe lives in took on a life of itself. It became a character!)


What I found particularly wonderful in this book, is the theme of friendship. I always felt like I had to prove my friendship. I was happy being on the outside, but I always wanted to be someone’s best friend. To know they had my back no matter what. And to have the world know I was their number one.

So Babe’s feeling of needing to prove her friendship. Her insecurity that maybe it’s not enough. Or that desire to cling on to what defines you, felt so relatable to me. That paired with the gorgeous writing, was enough to hook me! I felt like Babe was talking straight to high school me’s soul!

We become scare of being left behind. Or that moment stepping into the future when someone leaves you. The moment you feel your heart tear.


What more can I really say? If you have been looking for a contemporary to get you through the spring to summer, this is your book! It combines the wistfullness of summer, the magic of beaches and coffee, and the hope of new love.

Find Small Town Hearts on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


Did you always got to the same place for summer vacation?

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.