Book Review: Heat of the Moment by Lauren Barnholdt

heat of the momentBefore graduation, I promise to…learn to trust. In the first book in the Moment of Truth series, Lyla discovers that trusting her head might be easy but trusting her heart is a whole other matter.

Each book in this paperback original series is told from the perspective of a different girl—Lyla, Aven, and Quinn—former best friends who wrote emails to their future selves back in freshman year about one thing they hope to accomplish before they graduate. When the emails get delivered on the first morning of their senior trip all three girls will spend the next three days trying to keep the promises they made to themselves four years ago. While each book follow’s one girl’s life-changing adventure, you have to read them all to get the whole story, including why they’re no longer friends and whether they can get their friendship back on track.

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.

The first book in a captivating summer trilogy, Heat of the Moment flawlessly balances romance and humor as Lyla embarks on her totally reluctant but completely irresistible journey of self-discovery.

Confession time: I did not like this book. At all. This was the kind of annoying, overdramatic contemporary YA that I loathe. The MC’s inner monologue was torturous, and populated with ‘likes’ and ‘ums’ that make for a grumpy reader (in my case.)

…And I remember I was so annoyed at her for not sounding annoyed, because Aven is always trying to be, like, the victim. She’s always acting like she never does anything wrong, when if you ask me, she does a lot of things wrong. She just doesn’t want to admit it to herself. Anyway. 

Delightful specimen, our MC.

And the premise was pretty stupid too – we have an utterly self-aborbed MC who just wants to lose her virginity to the point of being completely obsessed about it. Specifically, lose it on a school trip to Florida with her perfect boyfriend – a school trip where kids are apparently left COMPLETELY UNSUPERVISED.

That I’ve been planning this weekend for months, ever since my friend Juliana and I had a talk about it and I realised I was ready. But obviously I couldn’t just, you know, have sex with Derrick right away. I needed it to be special. And what’s more special than a senior trip to Florida?


Oh, honey. No. Just no.

Whatever. I have bigger problems than my mom’s absenteeism. I need to get to Juliana’s party so I can show Derrick what he’s been missing all day. Now I just need to find something sexy to wear. 

Priorities, woman.

She also makes some pretty stupid decisions.

I hesitate. My heart is telling me to go with him. My mind is saying he’s a strange boy, that I know nothing about him, that he could be an ax murderer, that it’s borderline inappropriate to get into a car with a guy who isn’t my boyfriend. But honestly, what other choice do I have? If I want to go on this trip, I have to get to the airport. It’s, like, a law of physics.

It’s, like, totally stupid to get into a car with someone who could be an ax murderer, BUT OH WELL, MUST GET TO AIRPORT TO LOSE VIRGINITY. [But also, your boyfriend doesn’t own you. Getting into  damn car with another dude is not cheating, sheesh.]

The big secret about why Lyla isn’t friends with Aven and Quinn is also pretty stupid, if you ask me. It ended up being more of a grudge that Lyla has held for three-ish years, instead of being some huge dramatic life-altering betrayal that it was made out to be.

Finally, there’s this lovely quote from the bad-boy love interest:

“Look,” he says, turning around. “I’m not judging you or anything. I just think that if you’re using that bathing suit to get attention from guys, you’re going to attract the wrong kind of guys.”

As for me? I’m judging this book rather hard.

Rating: 3/10

ARC received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from uncorrected proof and may differ from final publication.

Hannah is a twenty-something born and bred Capetonian who adores reading and reviewing books, and encouraging critical discussion on all things pop culture. Currently a politics graduate student, she spent two years working in digital marketing before deciding she missed the student life. Loves QI, travel, dark chocolate, fantasy & YA books, pilates and sarcasm.