February 20, 2014

TitleThe Summer I Found You

Author:  Jolene Perry

Expected Publication:
March 1, 2014

Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen

Pages: 256

Source: NetGalley

Genre(s): Romance ♥ Contemporary ♥ NA/Mature YA

Summary from Goodreads: All they have in common is that they’re less than perfect. And all they’re looking for is the perfect distraction.

Kate’s dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she’s still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he’s a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 02/19/2014): 3.60

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Initial Thoughts and Rating: 

Ana:  3.5 stars.  This was a quick read and I enjoyed the story overall.  I think I liked this book most because of the situation the characters were in.  It’s different than the books I’ve read lately because these characters couldn’t be “saved” or “taken away” from what they were up against.  These were permanent situations and each had to learn to live with the hand they’d been dealt.  Love didn’t cure all, it was a road to accepting the life they had to live.

Christina:  Actual rating of 3.5 stars! I definitely agree with Ana. Coming to terms with circumstances we can’t change is often a test of a person’s will. I think the author captured that perfectly. I liked both characters and the plot, but felt overall that this novel was missing that special something to truly set it apart from other contemporaries in my mind.

The Characters:

Ana:  Both Aidan and Kate are likeable characters but they’re both young.  In Kate’s case, that was very evident in the way she handled her diabetes.  I can definitely understand that, initially, she’d want to ignore the diagnosis and hope it would go away and, I can also see how she wouldn’t want to be treated differently by Aidan because of it, but I had some trouble with the way she didn’t take care of herself even a year after understanding the importance of dealing with this situation.  I loved Aidan.  I thought he was handling things as best he could and that he had every intention of figuring out how to manage the rest of his life.  Ultimately, he was a strong character…it just took him a while to deal with his grief and move forward.

Christina: Getting to see inside both of these characters’ head because of the alternating dual narrative, I really felt like the author captured both of their voices independently well. They were very distinct and unique to their character. I also want to give major cool points because Aiden sounded very much like a regular dude to me.

Aiden was by far my favorite of the two main characters. Though his life/future was very “up in the air” and he had a lot weighing on him, he was very direct and driven about things that he wanted and how he planned to pursue them once he got it all settled. I thought his character portrayal was very honest, and I definitely gravitated, as well as sympathized, with his character more. I had more trouble with Kate’s character, however. There were certain characteristics, namely her “honest mouth” that endeared me to her, but I found her a little frustrating and immature. While Aiden drew me in with his realness, I don’t think Kate’s character or actions came across as real enough. I couldn’t understand how she could go from heartbroken over a boy she spent over a year of meaningful time with (and they never had sex, nor really fooled around “below clothes”) and then turn around and fall head over feet for a guy she barely knows (and eagerly fall into bed with him after a few makeout sessions). I understand connections, but for her character’s previous interactions, it just didn’t come across as believable to me.

I did appreciate the growth that both of these characters showed in the end, though.

The Plot:

Ana:  As I mentioned before, this plot was unique.  I enjoyed the dual POV’s because it gave me an insight into each character and what they were thinking and feeling.  True pain can only be described by the person who’s feeling it…just like the feelings of love are better understood when you can feel them along with the character.  So I’m glad the author decided to do it this way because it took me deeper into the story.  There were times when the flow was a bit slow but it didn’t diminish my liking of the story.  I also like that the author was brave enough to give us an “imperfect” hero.  Most other books focus on the importance of outer perfection but this book took it in another direction and helped us understand that beauty does not mean perfection.

Christina:  The love story isn’t necessarily original, but the execution of it and the journey each character takes is different from your typical YA/NA. I liked that there was a depth to the storyline that didn’t revolve around tortured pasts or some kind of abuse. It was quite refreshing. For me, the dialogue was engaging and the story flowed nicely, which allowed me to finish the book in just a few short hours.

The Romance:

Ana:  Neither of them wanted it, neither of them looked for it…but it came anyway.  And, because I love love…I loved their romance.  It was a slow build full of obstacles to overcome.   There were misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions along the way but it worked.  They were distractions to each other initially, but that slowly turned into more and I was rooting for them the whole way!

Christina:  I liked that their relationship took them by surprise and that it felt believable in how it snuck up on them. I thought they were cute together, and I especially liked that it showed that sex doesn’t fix everything and oftentimes muddles a relationship even more. It also showed how important communication and trust is without coming across as preachy.

Gripes:

Ana:  I have a couple of small issues.  The first is that, unless I’m completely wrong, this book doesn’t take place in the summer.  There’s lots of mention of school so I’m not sure where the title came from.  Not a huge deal…but still confusing.  The second is that it needs a bit of editing.  I did read an ARC, however, so that may change when the final edition is published.

Christina:  Like Ana said, the title is completely misleading. I thought I was going to be in for a summertime kind of love and all of this takes place during the end of a school year. I, too, noticed a lot of editing issues (grammatical, variations on the spelling of character’s names, etc) but they were easy enough to ignore in the ARC, but hopefully they’ve been resolved in the final copy. I also feel like this was incorrectly categorized, as it felt very New Adult-ish to me.

As for more direct issues with the book, I hated that Kate only realized the seriousness of her illness on the brink of the harsh breakup words, not because she was in the hospital, not because her family and friends had begged her to take it seriously, and not even when a doctor told her she could/would die if she didn’t get it under control. “Death, pffffft, I’m invincible. YOU’RE BREAKING UP WITH ME BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF RECOGNIZING ITS SERIOUSNESS?! Oh wait, it’s all totally clicking for me now. I have to get this under control.” That really made me want to throttle her a little bit.

Recommend it?

Ana:  Yes.  This is a quick read with a unique storyline and great characters. Oh…and I forgot to tell you that I absolutely love the cover.  I know that has nothing to do with the reason you should read the book  but, hey, I just had to say it out loud!

Christina:  Yeah, I guess. Their relationship and cute dialogue totally had me smiling like a fool. It was a quick read and a refreshing storyline from the books I’ve been reading of late.

A very special thanks to Albert Whitman Teen and NetGalley for providing us with an early copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

 

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