Someone Else’s Summer – Rachel Bateman – Running Press Kids – Published 9 May 2017
Anna’s always idolized her older sister, Storm. So when Storm dies in a tragic car accident on the night of her high school graduation, Anna is completely lost and her family is torn apart. That is, until she finds Storm’s summer bucket list and decides to honor her sister by having the best summer ever—which includes taking an epic road trip to the coast from her sleepy Iowa town. Setting out to do everything on Storm’s list along with her sisters best friend Cameron—the boy next door—who knew that Storm’s dream summer would eventually lead to Anna’s own self-discovery?
Can you fall in love with a book because of its dedication? Because that’s when I first knew I was going to enjoy Someone Else’s Summer. I cautioned myself to actually start reading the book before judging it, but, it turns out, I was right. I enjoyed this book of road trips and love finally realised, summer lists, larger-than-life big sisters, shared memories, shared grief, and unanswered questions. Someone Else’s Summer was refreshing and fun.
Anna’s sister was tragically killed in a car accident just after her high school graduation. Anna and her family are devastated. So when Anna finds one last summer list that her sister left behind, she knows she must complete it. She recruits her sister’s best-friend, boy-next-door, Cameron, and together they set off for a summer of skinny dipping, tattoos, Polaroid photos, and kisses.
I have to say I loved the romance in this story. Anna and Cameron know each other. They have too many shared childhood memories not to. But they drifted apart over the past few years, just like Anna drifted from being her sister’s little shadow. They reconnect through their shared grief and their time on the road trip. Their relationship starts with a familiarity and comfort that comes from being a perfect fit. So it only makes perfect sense when their relationship turns romantic. And boy, does their chemistry leap off the page. Their kisses were literally heart-pounding.
The start was a little slow, as Anna reminisces about previous summers and time spent with her sister. But it’s these memories that lend credence to her grief. It makes the story believable. They are flawed characters, not likeable all the time. She and Cameron get angry at each other, Anna isn’t the best friend to her best friend, but that only makes them more realistic.
And who doesn’t love a good road trip novel? This one ticks all the right boxes – great scenery, a quest to complete, romance, quirky characters along the way, a few dodgy motels…. But it is the story of death and grief which underlies this story that makes it so much more than a light romance.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Grief, death, road trip, summer, romance, sisters, relationships.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references and implied sex scenes, minimal details and fade to black.
Published: 9 May 2017 by Running Press Kids.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 320 pages.
I know! I had tears in my eyes after the dedication. I am getting the feels right now just thinking about it, and I read this back in October! The road trip was my favorite part. Great review.
Sam @ WLABB
It’s a great story. The author’s sister, Rani, actually replied to my review on Goodreads and explained the dedication, which I thought was very awesome. Here’s what she said:
“So I just stumbled upon this and had to comment, as the Rani in the dedication:) My sister has commented many a time that our parents gave me the creative name and her the boring one (and that made it into the book). I delivered her many a burger while she was writing but one day she was craving sushi and I didn’t feel like delivering that so of course that’s what makes it into the dedication, haha.”
This one caught my eye because it’s being adapted into a film. Prior to that, I hadn’t heard of it. But now I’ve read its synopsis, I’m curious. Glad to know this one is good! Thanks for the detailed review. 🙂
Thanks Rissi! Someone Else’s Summer is certainly a wonderful book. And you know the saying, “the book is always better”, so I would recommend reading the book before you see the movie 🙂 Especially if you enjoy heartfelt YA contemporaries. Thanks again.