Review: Paradise City by C.J Duggan

If you’re an aussie book lover then chances are you’ve heard of Paradise City. It seems to be everywhere I look lately, and it only released this month. Being a curious creature, I just had to pick it up this past week for a read.


There’s bound to be trouble in Paradise . . .

When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson never expected they’d send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of home schooling on a rural Australian property, she’s sure that Paradise will be amazing. But when she’s thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie’s not so sure.

Hanging out with the self-proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie’s never experienced, but all that’s about to change. It’s new, terrifying . . . and exciting. But when she meets Luke Ballantine, exciting doesn’t even come close to describing her new life. Trouble with a capital T, Luke is impulsive, charming and answers to no one. The resident bad-boy leader of the group, he’s sexier than any boy Lexie has ever known.

Amidst the stolen moments of knowing looks and heated touches, Lexie can’t help but wonder if Luke is going to be good for her . . . or very, very bad?

Holy cliffhanger, Batman!

Okay, now that’s off my chest I feel much better.

For some reason I went into Paradise City expecting a New Adult novel, and that it was not. Following the story of seventeen year old Lexie Atkinson–a home schooled country girl who moves to the coastal town of Paradise City to tackle the end of year 11–it’s most definitely young adult. And not just because the characters are in high school; Lexie deals with issues of friendship, bullying, rebelling against parental figures, and first romance.

I loved the Aussieness of this book. With year 12 common rooms, lunch passes, and muck up days, it took me right back to high school. Even Lexie’s mentions of things like Samboy chips, Coke, thongs, and Rip Curl pencil cases made me smile with that it’s-good-to-be-Australian feel.

Concept: Teen surfers, a good country girl moves to the big city. Not bad.

Characters: The characters are what made this book. I fell in love with every single one of them, from Ballantine and Boon to Laura and Dean Saville, even Amanda (the hot and cold cousin). They all really sprung off the page, making me feel as if they were real people. With their devil may care attitude, wet collars, and sport loving personalities the Kirkland boys (Ballantine and Boon) were exactly as I’d imagine the popular kids. Laura was everything you’d want in a best friend, while still holding her own at school. Dean Saville I suspect may become a bigger character as the series progresses, but I won’t say too much about him for now. Lexie was the only character that I struggled with a little, because it felt as if she kept jumping between personalities while she figured out who she was; the straight A farm girl or the rebellious city girl.

Plot: For me, the plot was a little frustrating. But I’m not a teenager, so perhaps the teen drama that felt really contrived would feel more realistic to a younger audience. Maybe I’m too far removed. There were times when I found myself groaning and wanting to tell Lexie not to be so stupid and have a little self esteem. Also, her whole transformation from nerdy good girl to rebellious, worldly girl seemed to happen in the blink of an eye.


Heat Level: For YA this book was pretty hot. Maybe that’s why I’d thought it was NA. There are a couple of pretty steamy scenes that are described in FULL detail. Not for the prudish. 😉

Comparisons: Modern day Grease with surfer bad boys instead of Greasers. A good girl that crushes on the hottest bad boy in school. A cousin much like Rizo.

Although there were a lot of things about this book I enjoyed, there were some that bothered me. However, it was a good read and I did struggle to put it down at times. I will be looking out for the sequel come September.


AOaR_4star (3)


Stacey Nash


This review was brought to you by Stacey Nash, who is loving this fresh wave of Aussie authors! To find out more about her books find her at, twitter or facebook.

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