There’s no denying the scorching heat and the early sunrise: it’s summertime on my side of the world. This Side of Sunny is the latest novella from one of my favorite local authors, Agay Llanera, and this short but sweet read is perfect for the summer season.
Here’s a summary from Goodreads:
Like her boyfriend back in the States, 18-year-old Mela Connor is spending Spring Break by the beach. But the difference is she’s spending it on an exotic island in the Philippines, where she’ll spend the next six days finding her estranged mother, of whom she has no memory. In the process, Mela meets her self-appointed tour guide, Paolo, who helps Mela make amends with her past while struggling not to fall in love with her.
What I liked the most with This Side of Sunny is the writing. I don’t know but the author’s writing style feels fresh and uncomplicated, it’s simple and straightforward. Although the plot wasn’t really new to me, I loved it that the author gave the story more depth and heart by adding themes on family and friendship to the oft-repeated themes on romantic love and love at first sight. The meet-cute between Mela and Paolo was, well, cute and I loved how both of them gradually got drawn to each other.
I did not really get too invested in Mela’s character, though. I wanted more about her, her background, and her character development felt too hurried. Even her relationship with Sean didn’t make me feel attached or the least, sympathetic. Paolo was a mystery and I would love to know more about him. But the kilig was still there, I must admit, especially in the middle to the later parts, and the slight discontent I felt was more than compensated by the setting. Oh, what I could give just to see and be in Gumamela Island. It reminds me strongly of Boracay and though the island has become less popular nowadays, it still remains as one of my favorite islands in the Philippines.
One strong point of this book is how it is too Filipino, in a good way of course. I loved the foray into Filipino food and culture. It reminds me of those local chick-lit movies I enjoyed watching during lazy Saturday afternoons.
This Side of Sunny is one of those feel-good stories that you won’t regret reading. I recommend this as a reading companion when you go to the beach this summer or even for a vacation anywhere. It’s also perfect if you want something short and sweet during weekends. And oh, if you do plan to read this, don’t forget to get your own melon-mango shake. 🙂
My Rating: 3/5 stars.
(Thank you, Ms. Agay Llanera, for my copy!)
Check out the author’s other books: