TOUR / REVIEW: Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale

**I received an ARC of this book for this tour. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale

Release Date: March 19, 2019

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Summary: Rule #1  Never fall for a summer boy.

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had — to never fall for a summer boy?


I am so, so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Small Town Hearts today! Today, my stop includes my review, as well as some of my (and Lillie's!) favorite quotes from the book, hand-lettered. I had so much fun doing these, and I hope you like them! Also, don't forget to check out the rest of the tour, schedule below as well as a giveaway.
We're still teenagers. So if life was just a plot structure, we'd still be in the rising action stage. Our lives are just beginning.
Small Town Hearts truly took my breath away. This book was such a delight, and I can't wait for everyone to read it and fall in love like I did. Also, I totally recommend reading this while listening to Kacey Musgraves's Golden Hour; it really completes the experience (and I totally did not tear up while doing so).

The thing that made me want to read this book so desperately was the fact that the main character, Babe, is bi, and it's explicit in the text. After reading the book, it remained one of my favorite aspects: that she's bi, but it isn't her defining factor; that she is open about her sexuality in a small town and no one blinks an eye; that she talks about liking boys and girls so easily. Yes, books centered on the protagonist coming to terms with their sexuality are important, but so are books whose main characters just are comfortable with it.

The characters are all so great and realistic. I adored Babe and all her dreams, Levi and his quiet strength, and all the other characters and everything they bring to the table. Also, I love how this book depicts that no singular path to your future is the right one. Babe just graduated high school and is sad to think about her friends leaving to go to college, but she never thinks about herself leaving because she knows what she wants, and that's to stay in Oar's Rest. She helps Levi think about what path he wants to go on, whether that's art or art school or something else completely. It's so important to depict different paths in life, especially for teenagers who are in a very tumultuous time of change. Despite what the world tells you, you don't have to have your entire life figured out by the time you're 18!!
You can't just stick a destination into a map and think there's just the one route that gets you there. and if you wind up right back where you started . . . well, that's okay, too. We get to come back from our mistakes. We have to believe that's possible. We're too young not to.
Setting this book during the summer after senior year is also very . . . real. I honestly had comparable things happen to me, namely trying to decide whether you've outgrown your high school friends or not. It sucks, but it happens because sometimes you're only friends with people because of physical proximity. I'm glad that these characters had the chance to reflect on their friendship and decide whether it was healthy or not. (I will say that I wish we got more of Penny apologizing and less of Babe apologizing, just because I feel like there was at least equal fault among them and Chad.)

The Small Town Feels™ are here and heavily present, and I love it. If you've read my review for Famous in a Small Town, you know I love when the main character wants to stay in her small town, versus the often depicted "I can't wait to leave." I mean, that's also a good choice, but sometimes, you're comfortable where you are, and you like that you're comfortable!! That's a valid choice!!
Not everyone understood what it meant to love something that much. So they tried to make you feel a little embarrassed, downplayed your passion and made it sound silly or nerdy or weird.
Small Town Hearts depicts such different narratives and doesn't apologize for it. No one experience is the same, and it's important to show that in our literature, whether it's to do with your sexuality or your college choices. I definitely recommend this if you're a fan of Emma Mills or if you're looking for a contemporary in general!

Here are some hand-lettered quotes I did! Click for a bigger picture.


About the Author: Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.


  • Prize: 1 signed, finished copy of Small Town Hearts
  • US only (sorry!)
  • Open from: March 25 to April 5

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

March 25

That Artsy Reader Girl - Welcome Interview

March 26

Magical Reads - Book Review + Hand-lettered Favorite Quotes
The Bent Bookworm - Book Review
The Inked In Book Blog - Book Review

March 27

Wishful Endings - Author Guest Post
The Lovely Books - Book Review
The YA Obsessed - Book Review

March 28

We Live and Breathe Books - Book Review
Moonlight Rendezvous - Book Review + Favorite Quotes
The Book Thief Without Words - Book Review + Favorite Quotes
Book Rambler - Creative Bookstagram Post and Mini Review

March 29

Utopia State of Mind - Author Q&A
Metamorphoreader - Creative Post
Bookish_Kali - Book Review + Favorite Quotes

March 30

Blossoms and Bullet Journals - Creative Post
Novel Ink - Book Review + Favorite Quotes
Novelishly - Book Review

March 31

The Reading Faery - Author Q&A
The Bibliophile Confessions - Creative Post
Star Is All Booked Up - Book Review
The Phantom Paragrapher - Book Review

April 1

The Layaway Dragon - Book Review + Favorite Quotes
Maddie.TV - Author Guest Post
The Clever Reader - Book Review + Favorite Quotes

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Maira Gall