I am so excited to be a stop on the Small Town Hearts blog tour! When Lili, who blogs at Utopia State of Mind, asked me to join in, I jumped at the opportunity! I can’t wait for you all to read this lovely contemporary when it releases next week on March 19th!

A very special thank you to Mana for designing the beautiful blog tour banners! Be sure to check out her portfolio!

STH Blog Tour Banner Mana (1)

TITLE: Small Town Hearts

AUTHOR: Lillie Vale

Rating: ★★★★

PAGES: 336

PUBLISHER: Swoon Reads


GENRE(S): Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

I was kindly provided with a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale - The Contented ReaderRule #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?


This book is such a sweet and cute contemporary that showcases all the good and the bad of growing up. It’s a summer full of love, breakups and makeups, and finding yourself. This book has been on my radar, and I’m so glad I loved it!

There are so many aspects of this book that I enjoyed. But let me first talk about the characters. These characters were all so enjoyable. Babe is such a wonderful protaganist. She’s super relatable as she desperately wants to enjoy things before change inevitably happens. Which I think is something we can all relate to when growing up. Levi is just perfect. Absolutely perfect. I think anyone who reads this book will love him too!

The other aspect of this book I truly enjoyed is the atmosphere. Oar’s Rest is such a magnificent setting for this book. It made me want to live in this town. It totally reminds me of Gilmore Girls and the idea of living in such a quaint town. And the fact that Babe lives in a lighthouse? Um, so cool! The Busy Bean is also such a great scene for this book. It’s just somewhere you want to be, and you’ll wish it the whole time you read the book.

I highly recommend this wonderful book! It’s super cute and the perfect fluffy summer read! I think many people will fly through it and wish for more!

We only had summer. I didn't have the luxury of taking things slow.

Favourite Quote


If you were to cast the characters in Small Town Hearts for a movie, who would you choose?

Hi Victoria! Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog today!

I’m Lillie Vale, the author of YA contemporary Small Town Hearts. It’s a messy BFF breakup + found family novel taking place in the summer after high school, the last summer 19yo bi baking barista Babe thinks she’ll have before her friends Penny and Chad start college in the fall. She has a somewhat co-dependent relationship with the people she loves, and change has never been a good thing, in her experience, so she’s trying to hold on tight during a time when she has to learn how to let go. Matters are further complicated when her ex-girlfriend Elodie returns to their sleepy Maine village of Oar’s Rest at the same time as Levi, a mysterious summer boy, shows up to rent Babe’s mom’s cottage on the beach.

Daniel Sharman would make the most perfect Levi. And Babe I’ve always pictured as Lindsay Ellingson. Although neither of them are teenagers, at the time the first draft was written, they were just about the right age to play the characters as they were then.

The characters in Small Town Hearts are so relatable and are all great. Is there a particular character that you enjoyed writing the dialogue for the most?

I loved writing all the characters! Obviously, Babe and Levi hold the biggest place in my heart, but Penny is a very, very close second. I LOVED writing her scenes and her dialogue. She wasn’t really the book’s antagonist, but she was a source of conflict for Babe. The internal conflict was Babe’s love and co-dependency battling with guilt, while the external conflict was Penny’s anger at what she perceived as Babe’s betrayal in kissing their mutual BFF Chad only minutes after he and Penny had broken up. It was a balancing act to make sure Penny had the page time to be rightfully angry, while at the same time not villainizing her to the point that we couldn’t sympathize with her hurt feelings.

What inspired you to write this novel? Did you always envision writing a contemporary based over a summer?

I love exploring setting, nature, and the change in seasons. Summer into fall, especially, is my favorite. But it’s not Babe’s favorite…because it means her friends will be starting college without her, and she’s freaking out about what that will mean for their friendship. If only summer could be endless, right? So when better to set the book than the last “perfect” summer before everything begins to change for her?

Without spoiling anything, is there a particular quote from the book that is a favourite of yours?

I could give you an enormous list that would probably result in a thirty-way tie…so how about I just give you five?

That was the risk of summer boys. They always outgrew summer.


I wish this summer could last forever.


The cardinal rule of every beach town is that locals do not get involved with tourists.


It had been a strange kind of summer, fast and slow all at once. Beautiful and sorrowful. A summer of possibilities and adventure and growing up. Now, so close to the brittle fall, I felt older all too quickly.


This was the summer that everything had come undone, unspooling our lives like the wickedest of storms.

Do you have any young adult contemporary/romance novels to recommend that you've read recently?

I adored Sonia Hartl’s upcoming Have a Little Faith in Me, which is forthcoming later this year! I’ve been devouring sci-fi and fantasy lately, so I’m eager to dive into A Blade So Black, Once & Future, and A Crown of Feathers.

About The Author

Lillie Vale Author Photo - The Contented ReaderLillie 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 is the author of Small Town Hearts.

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Let’s Chat in the Comments!

Do you plan on reading Small Town Hearts? Is there a town or setting you’ve read in a book that you wish you lived there too?

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Follow the Tour!

March 11
Lily (Sprinkles of Dreams) – guest post
Marie (Drizzle & Hurricane Books) – interview
Eloise (Eloise Writes) – review + aesthetic
Simant (Flipping Through the Pages) – review + creative
Elin (Annotated Paperbacks) – creative

March 12
Nandini (Unputdownable Books) – Creative
Santana (Santana Reads) – review + character aesthetics
Danielle (Bookish in Texas) – interview
Laura (Green Tea & Paperbacks) – creative

March 13
Sofia (Bookish Wandress) – review + a playlist
Ashley (Bubbly Booknerd) – creative
Lauren (Bookmark Lit) – review + creative
Victoria (The Contented Reader) – interview + review
Camillea (Camillea Reads) – review

March 14
Morgan (The Bookish Beagle) – review + creative
Fanna (Fannatality) review + creative
Syndney (Syndneys.books) – creative bookstagram
Fadwa (Word Wonders) – review
Mishma (Chasing Faerytales) – review + creative
Lili (Utopia State of Mind) – guest post
March 15
Tiffany (Read by Tiffany) – creative
Haley (Fangirl Fury) – review + creative
Romie (Romie We Deserve Love) – creative
Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!

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