Title: Two Summers
Author: Aimee Friedman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 256 Pages, Paperback
Publication: July 7th 2016, Scholastic
Source: Thank you to Scholastic for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4.5/5 CUPCAKES!
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.
In both summers, she will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. What may break her, though, is a terrible family secret, one she can't hide from anywhere. In the end, it may just be the truth she needs the most.
From New York Times bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.
It is no secret that I love contemporaries. Adorable romances that make my shippity heart race, flawed and sometimes traumatised characters that make me want to hug them endlessly and deep musings that blow my mind. WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE?! Two Summers was the epitome of a YA contemporary novel – an adorable and realistic main character, two glorious romances, the chaotic but beautiful process of growing up and letting go and delicious writing that made me eat up the book rapidly.
Let's start with the characters! I LOVED the characters! Summer was a character that you don't often see in YA – she wasn't confident and independent, bold and outgoing. I've seen reviews that have suggested that Summer is immature for her age, but I didn't view her like that at all. People often forget how young fifteen is and that not all teenagers are going to be confident hopping on an aeroplane and flying to a country by themselves, that not all teenagers can accept change easily and not all teenagers like hanging out with groups of people – some stick to that one friend they've known for years. I could highly relate to Summer and I was basically her - not very confident, not a risk-taker and someone who isn't a fan of change. However, due to reading this book, I've been inspired to step outside my comfort zone and view life more as an adventure than something that needs to be planned and feared due to the randomness of it all. I loved Summer as a person as she was sweet, kind and gentle. I also liked her mother, her aunt, eventually Eloise, and Hugh. I wasn't a massive fan of Ruby and I think she was quite harsh in her quest to distance herself from Summer, but once again it was an accurate portrayal of some teenage girls.
I also loved the relationships in this book due to their complexities. The love and frustration between mother and daughter, the act of a father trying to stitch back together a relationship with his daughter that fragmented due to mistrust. The nostalgia, regret and freedom that accompanies a new distance created between old friends. The breathtaking, heart-stopping venture into first love and the new found connection and feeling of belonging between new friends.
THE ROMANCES WERE SO CUTE TOO. There were two romances in this book: a boy from New York who has, unbeknownst to him, held Summer's heart for a few years and a boy who sweeps Summer away into a fairy tale dream of Parisian sunsets, fields of poppies and motorcycle rides. I loved Hugh - him and Summer were so shy and adorably awkward around one another I felt as if my heart was going to explode. I liked Jacques...but I shipped Summer and Hugh more.
I loved the plot too! Something that has always fascinated me is the idea of parallel worlds and how a singular decision can alter the course of your life drastically. I loved that this book tested my ability to imagine how diverse our lives can be and how infinite the possibilities – it was incredibly thought-provoking.
I also loved how the author managed to transport me to the cobbled streets of Paris and the banks of the Hudson river. One thing that made me fall completely in love with this book was the setting and the author's writing. I absolutely loved the way the author described Paris and New York and I could clearly conjure vivid images of the two places. I fell in love with the scenery and all that is due to the author's skill in producing sensory imagery. My mouth was often watering at the detailed descriptions of French cuisine, my heart was always light as I languished in the park next to the Hudson, I felt completely contained within the story...Two Summers will remind you how extraordinary reading is.
Two Summers is a magical summer read with a unique main character, complex relationships and two deliciously sweet romances. Choices, heartbreaks, the collapsing and formation of friendship as well as family secrets combined with vivid descriptions and the thought-provoking question of “What if?” results in a splendid summer read that will cast a spell over you and stay with you long after the final page has been turned.
I give it: 4.5/5 CUPCAKES!