Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review: The Summer I Found You

While I normally stick to the paranormal genre, there are times it just gets to be too much, and I need a breath of fresh air. I discovered the brilliance of Jolene Perry a while back through her Shadow paranormal series, and soon learned she's the master of YA/NA romance. I was first drawn to Jolene's upcoming release The Summer I Found You by its beautiful cover, then the intriguing premise of two people dealing with difficult issues who find each other. I was thrilled when I received an ARC from her publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

The story starts with high school senior Kate Walker getting dumped by her preppy (and rather annoying) boyfriend Shelton right before prom. When Kate breaks the news to her best friend Jen, we immediately learn Kate is diabetic. Rather than being concerned over the break-up, Jen is worried Kate's blood sugar is low. This is how the past year of Kate's life has been—her friends and family have been doting over her, hyper-focused on her health. She's tired of having diabetes, and tired of everyone asking about her health every two minutes. She's immature about her illness, but I think it was pretty dead-on with how many teens would deal with such a situation. Even though they hear the consequences of their actions, they don't always think about the end result as they're often living in the "now". As a reader you immediately feel sorry for her situation. As someone who watched a cousin struggle with diabetes at a young age, Kate was quick to wiggle her way into my heart.

The POV is then passed to Jen's cousin Aiden Connelly, a young soldier who recently lost his arm while stationed overseas. He's living in Jen's family garage apartment while he gets back on his feet, and dealing with some pretty heavy issues that go along with his accident. While Aiden has to struggle with everyday things like buttoning a shirt and opening a drawer, he also has to figure out what he wants to do with his life, and deal with the trauma from his accident. As three of my five family members were in the service, I hold a special place in my heart for anyone who serves our country, and think Jolene did a fantastic job of getting into a wounded soldier's mind. And I love a story that is told from more than one point of view.

When Kate and Aiden are cleverly "set up" for a party where Kate's ex-boyfriend will be in attendance with his new girlfriend, it isn't love at first sight. Aiden is annoyed just by being at a high school party, and Kate is rather blunt about Aiden's missing arm. But they soon find themselves wanting to spend time together as a way to take focus off their depressing thoughts. This beautiful story deals with real issues and emotions that force the characters to face their dark feelings, and grow because of it.

This sweet tale was a very fast read, and hard to put down. The only thing that has me puzzled is the title as Kate is still in high school when the story ends, so I'm not sure where the "summer" part comes in. But Jolene Perry definitely knows just how to reel you in, then mess with your heart strings. I would love to see a sequel to this story, and read more about the relationship between Kate and Aiden. It may feel ludicrous that this heartwarming tale is being rated by zombies, but it's my rating system, so deal with it. (5/5)

Jolene Perry wears juvenile T-shirts, worn-out chucks, and eats too much chocolate. She writes. A lot. She makes up words, drinks Shirley Temples, and suffocates a little without her iPod.

Also she blogs:

And she tumblrs like a gymnast ;-)

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1 comment:

M. J. Joachim said...

Nice review. Breaths of fresh air come in handy at times.

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