Years ago, I read a short story in Seventeen Magazine titled, “Small Losses.” In the story, a young girl meets a young man at the beach. They strike up a conversation and she thinks things are going in one direction, but in the end it takes a much unexpected tangent. It’s a story I read over 30 years ago and it came crashing back to my memory when I read Rachael Brownell’s Take A Gamble.
Who hasn’t dreamed of a summer romance? Throw in a vacation by the beach and turn that fantasy up a notch. That’s where Take A Gamble starts. The way Rachael Brownell introduces Roe and Mackenna into the story and to each other is lovely. Mac has just arrived at the beach house where her family is vacationing, and Roe is lurking in the shadows when he sees the vision of Mac when she emerges from her house to explore the beach.
To say there was an immediate attraction to one another is an understatement. I’d liken it more to a magnetic charge. They couldn’t help but come together. It was as if fate predetermined their destiny to meet.
While their relationship progresses quickly, it does not seem implausible based upon the overall setting of the story. Rachael takes these two characters to the brink, only to have them change directions in a way that I did not expect.
Even though I was aware of the age of these characters, I never felt like I was reading a YA or NA book. Neither Roe nor Mac behaved in a way that was irritating or immature. They showed genuine care and concern for each other and that care and concern shows in the subsequent decisions they make.
The last quarter of the book becomes very climactic and veers in a direction that confused me. I’m not sure I totally believed what was happening or how those involved were trying to bring it to a close, but there was plenty of excitement and an ending that was very pleasing.