Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot. The tour is hosted by SupaGurl Tours. You can check out the rest of the stops on the tour here. The author is also giving away an e-Book of Unmaking Hunter Kennedy from Amazon, which you can enter below. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Unmaking Hunter Kennedy
by Anne Eliot
Published October 17th 2012 by Butterfly Books, LLC
After a car accident--an event he considers a prank gone bad--pop star, Hunter Kennedy is forced to hide out with his aunt in small-town Colorado. He’s supposed to rest, heal his scars and attend high school in disguise until the press dies down. But he only wants to get back to work.
Worse, the girl who’s been assigned to make him over into a geek is a major geek herself. Vere Roth is a chattering pixie, a blushing tornado and a complete social disaster. He’s never met a girl who’s never-been-kissed, believes in romance and thinks Hunter’s a 'nice' guy.
Funny thing is...Hunter is nice around Vere because she’s his first real friend. He also can’t seem to stop sharing his secrets or keep her out of his heart. Knowing he’d never deserve a girl as sweet as Vere, he resigns himself to the friend zone, and helps his new bestie with her own makeover.
She tortures him daily for ridiculous guy advice on how to snag her life-long crush. A guy Hunter thinks is totally wrong for Vere, and sadly, one who has taken note of Vere’s transformation.
When Vere asks her best friend for some kissing advice, Hunter can’t resist...
And that’s when things get out of control...
My Thoughts: Hunter Kennedy is 17 years old and is the lead singer/guitar player in GuardeRobe, one of the most popular bands around. He has been in the spotlight most of his life and is no stranger to the kind of life that accompanies being famous. Unfortunately, being famous doesn't keep you for being lonely, angry, and depressed. Hunter decides to take some of his mom's antidepressants to see if that will help. This, combined with some alcohol, soon results in Hunter wrecking his car and taking out his front door in the process. When his mom finds him passed out in a pool of blood afterwords, Hunter finds himself "secretly" in a facility receiving treatment for his depression. As part of his recovery plan, Hunter's therapist and mom come up with a plan for him to spend the year in Colorado with his Aunt Nan, in disguise of course, while he recovers from his scars, both inside and out. Meanwhile, his manager and fellow band members are covering for him with the media. Not thrilled about this at all, Hunter accepts his fate with the determination that he is going to get out of this situation as soon as possible.
Hunter's Aunt Nan and Mom enlist the help of the Nan's neighbors across the street to help Hunter acclimate to a "normal" teenage life and come up with a convincing disguise. Vere and Charlie Roth, brother and sister, are to be Hunter's "best friends" and the only kids in on his secret. Charlie is a senior, popular football player, and cocky. Vere on the other hand, is a self-made dork with a great personality. She is snarky and cute as she can be, though she doesn't know it. She also has a very serious problem with shyness, especially around guys, which is almost crippling. Vere takes on the job of coordinating Hunter's transformation into Dustin McHugh, and strangely enough, doesn't seem to have her shyness problem around him. They make him into a super dork, and have a blast while doing it. Charlie talks Hunter AKA Dustin into helping Vere get over her shyness problem so that she can date Curtis, the high school quarterback, who she has been in love with since she was 7 years old. Charlie is very protective of Vere, even though he sometimes comes across as a jerk. He warns Hunter about his sister and makes it clear to Hunter that he doesn't want him involved with Vere in anyway as more than friends, because he doesn't want Vere's heart broken. Hunter agrees, but the more time he spends with Vere, the harder it is to keep his promise to Charlie. He soon becomes Vere's BGF (Best Guy Friend), and the two are almost inseparable.
When Vere finds out Hunter/Dustin's darkest secret, it breaks her heart, and Hunter finds himself opening up to her in a way he has never let anyone else in. He ends up helping Vere with a makeover, both outside and inside, though he's always seen how beautiful she already is. Now that everyone else is noticing, Hunter is finding it more and more difficult to hide his feeling, especially when he has to hear Vere talk about Curtis. Keeping his feelings hidden, dealing with his anger towards his mom and his manager, and trying to keep up the pretense of being Dustin McHugh is harder than he anticipated. When Vere asks him for some help with kissing, things get totally out of control, but can he risk opening up his heart to Vere, and does he even know who he really is anymore? Vere must also face her own feelings and decide between the boy in front of her and the boy she has loved for most of her life.
I absolutely loved this story. I really loved Vere, with her trademark bun and dorky choice of clothes. She truly cares about Hunter as person, never being the "groupie" that everyone else who knows who he is really is becomes. She is extremely loyal and protective, and when she realizes she screws up, she is the first to admit it. Though very shy, she is also very funny and fun loving, finding extreme pleasure in the simple things of life, something that she introduces Hunter/Dustin to, something that he also finds irresistible about her. I loved Hunter's character also. Talk about hot, the boy has it going on, something that Vere isn't blind to, even when he is transformed into dorky Dustin. I loved the way their relationship is based first on friendship and earning each other's trust, then facing some really deep and heart wrenching issues together, while having good times and bad times, and trying to figure out who they really are and what they mean to one another. The romance was sweet, heartwarming, a little heartbreaking at times, and even has its hot moments. I like the secondary characters in the book also, especially Jenna, Vere's best friend, and also Charlie, though he had his "jerk" moments. The book is a little over 400 pages, but I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The pace and character building was executed beautifully, and the balance between humor and seriousness was perfect. I loved the whole "rock star in hiding" theme, as well as the serious issues that Eliot addresses, such as depression and teen suicide. Unmaking Hunter Kennedy is fun, entertaining, and heartwarming. If you love YA contemporary romance, then you should definitely check this book out.