Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennett

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Title: Porch Swing Girl

Author: Taylor Bennett

Published By: Mountain Brook Ink (2018)


What if friendship cost you everything?

Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.

With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.

But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged. Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted, Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket home. And time is running out.  (Taken from Goodreads)


I was very impressed. I loved the thematics of the story and I found the writing vivid and alive. I liked Olive,  even though she wasn’t super loveable. Yes, she was kind of a brat and an annoying character, but she was real, and we still cared for her, and that takes talent to pull off. Extraordinary and authentic, the writing style was unique down to the details. The family dynamics were told very realistically and emotionally for the most part.


On the downside, I didn’t connect with Jazz as much as I wished I could. Some aspects of the plot concerning her felt a little cliche and very rushed, too. It had the potential to be powerful, but I felt in the end it just didn’t pull off? For some reason I didn’t like Jazz; I’m not sure why, and I wish I could have liked her better. On a separate note, the one area I found to be unrealistic is how it’s only been a week since Olive’s mom died, and yet she’s mostly over it. A week into that grief you won’t be able to just move on. That takes a lot of time. Still, I did think the grief was written well, I just think the timeline was off.

I loved Brander’s character and the romance that developed was just SO SWEET! Aaaah! I was rooting for it the whole book. Some people might dislike how preachy Brander is, but my personal opinion is, that’s just how Brander is. It’s part of his character. And honestly, it’s pretty brilliant on the author’s part. She did just such a good job with Brander.

The ending was a little bit of a perfect bow, but it didn’t bug me like endings like that usually do. I guess just because it tied everything together so well and closed it up perfectly. It was happy and satisfying and sweet!

Negative Content/Notes:


Overall: A sweet and inspiring story full of amazingly imperfect characters. I think what I liked best about this book, in fact, is just how beautifully imperfect all the characters are. From this perspective, the author did a phenomenal job of showing how God uses all of us even at our worst and how there’s always hope. I loved the friendship themes, I found the story paced well, and I was satisfied and happy at the end.

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Recommended to: Ages 12+.

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