Published April 2016 by Point
I went to BookCon back in May of this year, and we attended a panel that Aimee Friedman was speaking on. She briefly described her new book Two Summers, the premise, and her strategy in writing it. I remember looking at my sister during that panel and whispering, “that sounds so good”, mentally adding it to my TBR.
But we all know how out of control our mental TBR lists are, so unfortunately Two Summers was forgotten about: until last week.
I am trying out a new media app called Playster, and they had Two Summers listed in their audio book selection, so at once I decided to set aside all of the political and sci-fi thrillers that I usually listen to. I wanted something new, something light that I could get lost in, rather than stress over, something new, something summery.
ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender…
ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises…
When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds. In one, she travels to France, where she’s dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue but nothing is as it seems.
I am a huge fan of the alternate universe / multiverse theory. But, (and I mean this in no offense possible) I thought that this theory it is a little too dense and complicated for a light hearted, summer read. That doesn’t mean I was immediately turned off, on the contrary, I was more than eager to see how it all played out in Two Summers.
Summer Everett’s story splits when she is getting on a plane to visit France for the summer, where her father lives. As she is getting on the plane, her phone rings – an unknown number calling. One story line plays out when she answers the phone, the other story when she decides not to. I loved that this instance was the creation of another dimension, because it is so damn relatable. Don’t we all just have a mini panic attack when “unknown caller” shows up on our phone screens? I know I do.
Let me start off by saying that Two Summers is not as light and care free as I thought it would be. Maybe the cover disarmed me, maybe I pre-judged because it is a younger YA novel. Either way, there were some serious family issues that emerged that I thought could have probably been explored more fully in a longer, more adult novel. But because it wasn’t, I felt differently at the end of the book than I wanted to.
I thought the writing was great, and the premise was great. The only thing that truly bothered me was Summer’s age. She turned 16 during the course of the novel, and that is just too young for me. Maybe I am turning into a grouchy, old lady, but any 15-16 year old that says “this is the summer I fall in love!” makes me want to vomit. No it’s not. Go back to coloring and snap chatting you little hooligans.
This book is actually really hard for me to rate and assign a star value to. I found that Summer was the only likable character in the entire novel, despite her young age. Her best friend was kind of an asshat, and her parents were honestly, just awful people. I really hate reading about unsupportive and shitty parents, especially in young adult novels. Why is it more common to have shitty parents than great ones? So while those two reasons alone gave me reason to dislike the book, I enjoyed Summer’s character growth, I thought it was inspiring. And this book stirred some serious wanderlust in me, so that is always a great thing!
Also, if you listen to this book on audio, the narrator was wonderful. Her male voice impersonations were a little goofy, but that made me smile rather than be overly critical. Overall, 3.5 stars. Also, if you have read this, let me know! I would really love to discuss all the family secrets and twists and reveals in this book in a spoiler-y setting!