After Hours by Claire Kennedy
Release Date: June 16th 2015 by Simon Pulse
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn’t just about waiting tables. It’s about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it’s about Tips.
Tips–the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.
Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.
Xavi will do anything for the money…absolutely anything.
Peter, Xavi’s stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings.
Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy…even if those tips come with some conditions.
From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.
The sophisticated Waterside Cafe is anything but classy behind the scenes…and things are about to get dirty.
I may have read the weirdest novel ever in my entire reader lifetime. Or at least this year. And I absolutely meant that in a weird-but-surprisingly-good way.
After Hours is a documentation of what happens behind the scenes of a local cafe. You’d think it’s all business and satisfaction, but that’s not the case with this one. Every two weeks the staff plays a game called Tips, wherein they contribute twenty percent of their tips into a pot for a chance to take an unknown dare and win the entire pot. Exciting isn’t it?
Once the game begins, there’s no turning back. We observe through the eyes of our protagonists: Isa, a struggling pageant queen, Finn, a misunderstood jock, Xavi, a determined fashion designer, and Peter, a hopeless romantic. I thought each character was excellently fleshed-out and given enough screen-time for their respective story arcs. No question they were the highlight of this novel.
What makes this book work so well is how it’s written. It’s very lighthearted; you don’t have to take everything seriously. And that’s what I constantly try to find in YA: that keen sense of being a teen and enjoying the Now. Already I can see this book being adapted into a fun, summery coming-of-age TV series (come on, MTV, make it happen!).
If you like character-driven novels, I suggest you head straight for this one. You’ll have so much fun reading them, I promise.