The Summer After You and Me – Jennifer Salvato Doktorski – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 5 May 2015
Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it’s not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.
Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?
Lucy and her family live on Seaside, an island where holiday makers migrate for the summer. As a local, she and her family were hit hard when Superstorm Sandy destroyed the New Jersey coastline. The town is rebuilding, but Lucy remembers that fateful stormy day for another reason. Connor. The boy whose family owns the house next door and who summers there every year. A gorgeous boy who quickly moved his way through a long line of girls and who has always captured Lucy’s eye. But the aftermath of that day didn’t go quite as expected for Lucy and so she moved on, trying something more with her long-time best-friend Andrew. But Connor’s return to the Island will have drama swirling up in Lucy’s life quicker than you can say superstorm.
The Summer After You and Me is so much more than just a quick beach read. The storm aftermath gives depth to the story and is a great backstory that mirrors, and sometimes drives, the current events of Lucy’s life. There is family drama, especially the love and strife between siblings (Lucy’s twin brother Liam plays a great role), friends and friendship, surfing, work and that ever-present worry of life after school.
There is a love triangle – but in a good way. Lucy knows who she wants from the start and she handles it well – no stringing one guy along for ages because ‘I’ll just give him one more chance’, or ‘now is not the right time’. Lucy is a strong and wise girl. Yay. And while she is still learning, she uses her head and heart. Double yay. There is also no big, surprise ‘I don’t need a guy to live my life’ revelation at the end – Lucy knows this from the start. Triple yay. You go girl! And so Lucy is a fantastic protagonist. Her mother describes her as fearless and responsible and that fits and it makes for a great story (no annoying heroines here please). I love the sections from Lucy’s junior thesis that start each chapter and I especially love said thesis’ title: What’s Love Got To Do With It? The Dating And Mating Habits of North American Sea Life. This reflects Lucy’s humour and love and study of the sea. This is a great book and well worth adding to your reading list this summer (or any time of the year really).
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction
Age guide: 14 and up.
Themes: Romance. Family and friendship. Summer. Natural disasters.
Published: 5 May 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire.
Format: Paperback. 320 pages.
Author’s website: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski.