Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Series: Standalone
Published: May 1st, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
320 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: Via NetGalley in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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?

The Summer After You and Me is a light, summery read. It doesn’t deal with anything too heavy, which is nice since a lot of the YA books I’ve read lately are "issue books" and leave me feeling emotionally spent. This was nice to sit and relax with and pretend I was on the beach with the main character, Lucy. 

Lucy was a very passionate girl. She wanted to be a marine mammalogist, and she was clearly focused and driven about her chosen area of interest. She volunteered for ReClam Our Waters and other local groups, and was doing her junior thesis on the mating rituals of sea life. A snippet from her thesis started off each chapter, which was fun and interesting, and I learned a lot (in fact, I kept texting a friend different facts I found interesting that I thought she’d enjoy too). I liked Lucy, but she was all over the place. She was obviously really smart, but she did some pretty dumb things. However...even when I was shaking my head and rolling my eyes, I was able to reason that I couldn’t really fault her, because she was only (almost) seventeen, and that’s not an easy time. Hormones and emotions are raging, and you could definitely see that in Lucy’s sometimes wishy-washy, impulsive behaviour. Her friends and jerk-face brother didn’t help matters and were sometimes over the top dramatic and just plain mean. Despite being able to understand Lucy’s behaviour in a way, it did annoy me at times. If she’d just talked to people instead of waiting for them to talk to her (“Why didn’t he call?” “Why didn’t she text?” Umm...your phone works both ways), a lot of her problems would have been solved. This theme started at the very beginning of the book and continued right through the end, with almost every person she was associated with.

It was interesting to see a different side of New Jersey. Most books, movies, and TV shows portray Jersey in a not-so-flattering light and it’s easy to form a certain idea of it being a less than desirable place to live or visit. I liked how much Lucy loved where she lived and talked about how great it was. She wanted to stay there and wasn’t anxious to get out and put distance between herself and her home. I was able to picture it all clearly, from her house to her work to the beach she went to. I haven’t read any books set in a place that was hit by Superstorm Sandy, so it was interesting to see some of the aftermath, both to the place itself and to the people.

Overall, I mostly enjoyed The Summer After You and Me. It was a bit choppy, and it seemed formulaic in some ways, but there were things - Lucy’s interests and hobbies namely - that made it different from other books. There’s quite a bit of drama, and I think that affected my feelings toward the story, probably because I’m older and past all that and can see how easily a lot of the situations could have been rectified. In that case, I’d recommend this to a younger audience who might relate more to the situations. If you’re looking for a sweet, light summer read, you might want to check out The Summer After You and Me.  

Have you read The Summer After You and Me? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? What are some of your favourite beach reads? Have you read anything set post-Superstorm Sandy? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

1 comment:

  1. I think I've seen reviews for this one around and it definitely sounds cute. I'll have to keep my eyes out for a copy of it. The choppiness of it worries me but I think I could handle it.


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