Monday, 17 December 2012

Review - Loving Summer - Kailin Gow

Loving Summer (Loving Summer, #1)Title: Loving Summer
Author: Kailin Gow
Genre; Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: May 28 2012, Edge Books
Pages: Ebook
Source: Previously for Blog Tour
Summer has always looked forward to spending her summers at her Aunt's beach house with the Donovans. To her, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house was magical, especially getting to spend time with the Donovans - her best friend Rachel and Rachel's brothers Nathaniel, and Drew. Here at Aunt Sookie's beach house, they can be anyone and anything they dreamed. For Summer, she had always wished to become as pretty as Rachel and for her brothers to think of her as more than Rachel's friend. For Nat and Drew, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house meant fun and escape, a place where they go to with their mom and sister for the summer, away from city life. They never thought this summer would be different. They never thought things would change as much as they did...and it all began with them falling for and loving Summer.
When I heard about Loving Summer a few months ago, I thought to myself that it looked like a delightful, sizzling, summer read. I was expecting a romantic yet heart-breaking young adult contemporary, that would experience the soaring sensation of first time love and the devastating impact it can have when that sweet summer romance is over. However, Loving Summer wasn't quite what I expected. 

When I heard there was a love triangle, I was (for once) okay with it. I thought that it would suit the book, and as long as it was written in the right way, it would make Loving Summer a perfect summer read. But then there was another boy introduced. A famous TV star, and that, my friends, was just a bit too much. Like I said, this love triangle/square relationship could have worked, but Kailin Gow did not pull it off. Every single page was each of the boys vying for their attention, it was so completely and utterly unrealistic. Like, when Summer was ready to go on a date with Aston, Nat wouldn't let her out in such revealing clothing, and I was like, "Dude. Chill. You are not her mother". I would have probably actually liked that scene if it were written properly. If the author had taken time to develop the scene, it would have looked like Nat was being this protective/older brother type of guy towards her, with maybe a hint of jealousy thrown in, which would have been fine, it would've made the scene interesting. But no, it was rushed and we didn't have time to connect with the scene.

The way Kailin Gow writes, it feels like she is consistently rushing the story, it was not written in a fluid motion, and really, for this type of book, it especially needed to be. The whole book consisted of this staccato and robotic motion. No detail whatsoever was threaded through this book. I'm telling you the truth now, ALL THIS BOOK CONSISTED OF WAS SUMMER NOT KNOWING WHICH BOY TO CHOOSE and THEM VYING FOR HER ATTENTION. It could have really worked,  but it didn't. I feel really bad for saying this, but I don't like her writing. I haven't read any of her other books, so I can't compare, but what I read in this book did not impress me. The book was too short and there really needed to be more detail, more explanation. Not just boys expressing cheesy feelings towards her.

That brings me onto another topic: the cheesiness. I found myself, several times, actually, rolling my eyes at the boys' ridiculous sayings. "You've always been the girl for me" and "I love you so much" and "We'll be together forever", I think Astor even said something along the lines of "When we older and together for ever" indicating marriage, that was almost the last straw for me and, seriously. It made me want to gag. And there was this one part, where Summer, Rachel, Nat and Drew went to this party, and Drew ended up sleeping with this girl in a bush. Then they both nonchalantly stroll out of the bush, but Summer has seen it, then Drew comes to Summer and is like, "Summer, I can explain" and then she's like, "No Drew, I don't want to know, it's not my business" AND then Drew (trying to make it better and prove to Summer that his not actually a total jerk/player) says "Please, Summer, I've been going through a hard time. I haven't always been like that". Firstly, Drew, if you sleep around with girls, and continue to have one night stands, you're a player. Stop sleeping around and ta-da, you won't be labelled a player anymore, and that would prove you're a worthy guy to Summer. Secondly, I know a lot of people who have gone through a tough time and they are not total players! Gah! 

Moving on from the extra dose of cheesiness that Loving Summer could have done without, I shall rant about the Love Interests.


 Let me fill you in. There are three boys, involved in this love square, as well as Summer, the geeky girl that has turned pretty over the course of three years. The three dudes are: Nat, Drew and Astor. 

I shall begin with Nat. I actually liked him in the beginning, I thought he was this sweet, responsible dude that takes care of the others like an older brother. I thought he was sweet to Summer and in the end they would end up together. But then he did something that proved he was a total jerkface. He broke up with his girlfriend. Just so he *might* be able to be Summer's boyfriend. 

Firstly, how can you dump the girl you "love", just upon seeing another gorgeous girl? That's not right, at all. 

Secondly, it proves just how shallow Nat is, and all the other guys. Throughout the book all they say is "Summer, you're so beautiful", not once do they say she is a nice person, or any of her qualities that makes her a decent  human being. Its all about her looks. When they were younger and Summer wasn't as pretty as she is now, they didn't even give her a second glance, but now that she's beautiful and more grown up, they can't seem to leave her alone.

Thirdly, Nat kept on playing with Summer's emotions. He was leading her along, making her believe that she was about to be his, and then he let her down and she was heart-broken again. So, yes, I can't stand Nat.

Drew. Drew, Drew, Drew. Younger brother by one year to Nat. I really hated you in the beginning. Honestly. You were a total pig. Treating girls as if they were nothing, playing with their emotions. Having a one night stand and then leaving in the morning before the girls got attached. Then when you see Summer again, you say, Summer's not just any other girl, she's MY Summer. How can you say she's not just any other girl? Are you saying other girls can be treated like dirt, but Summer can't. That's just twisted, you should be treating all girls with respect, Drew. ALL girls.

And then, when Astor and Summer go on a date to Disneyland, you stalk them, following them and sticking by them. If you want to win a girl's heart, its not going to be by trailing her and her date around the destination where their date will take place. Stalker. *scowls*

Despite you being a complete idiot in the beginning, I actually took a liking towards you in the end. You became sweeter and not-so girl obsessed. And you didn't force Summer to kiss you, sleep with you OR be your girlfriend. And you haven't laid eyes on another girl since sleeping with a girl at Disneyland. Yay!

Astor. I'm not too crazy about you, I'm not sure why. You're this really famous TV star, that is polite, well-mannered and sweet, particularly towards Summer. I think I might dislike you because I have a feeling that you and Summer aren't going to last long together. She was kind of cheating on you behind your back, and I feel like whenever she was about to dump you, you lavished her with presents and she stayed with you. I think you might feel as if she isn't truly committed to you (which she isn't, I think) and therefore you buy her presents so that she will stay with you.

Summer, the stunning girl that Nat, Drew and Astor have all fallen for. She was okay, I suppose. I didn't like her, but I didn't hate her. She seemed nice enough, but I honestly don't know how she can be so torn and indecisive between three different guys...surely she knows who she likes? What really bugged me about Summer is that she was kissing Nat, Drew and Astor at the same time. Not literally at the same time as that would be seriously awkward, but she was kissing Nat and Drew behind Astor's back, confirming (to me) that she doesn't love him as much as she makes out too. So, I didn't like Summer, she's a cheater.

My favourite characters would definitely be Aunt Sookie and Rachel. Aunt Sookie seemed like this bubbly, happy woman. And I loved reading about her, what happened in the end had me sad, but then again I barely knew her, so it wasn't such a loss towards me. I liked Rachel and I really hope to see more of her in the next book (which yes, I will be reading. As I want to see who Summer chooses :D) as she seemed like a sweet girl, and if we get to know about her a bit more, a great character. Sadly, my two favourite characters were barely in the book :(

Another issue I had with Loving Summer, is that the devastating events that occurred weren't explained and I was just given a fleeting glance into what happened, which didn't make me feel any pang of emotions. The author didn't pace the events very well, I couldn't attach myself to the characters and when the suicide attempt happened and the one character died, I didn't feel any emotion. The book felt as if it were constantly on fast forward, never going straight to the core of the matter, the event just happened and then the author moved the story along without giving any depth to the "shocking" turn of events.

The other thing that infuriated me, is that when the two big things happen towards the end of the book, the characters expressed no emotion whatsoever. It was just like, oh okay. I mean seriously?! Something awful just happened, yet you don't cry or do anything, you just sit there with less expression on your face then a brick wall. Hopefully in the next book, Kailin will develop her character's emotions a bit more.

Unfortunately, Loving Summer fell flat with me. The characters were infuriating, some of the events were not explained in detail, therefore there wasn't that emotional connection that you look for when something tragic happens. The writing was simple, and I'm sure Kailin has lots of thrifty metaphors and similes waiting to be used. The writing could be better, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The romance wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be, but I'm sure it will be better in the next instalment, which I am excited to read. Despite all the issues I had with Loving Summer, a part of me still would like to know who she ends up with. 

I give it: 2/5 CUPCAKES!

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