Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Summer I Found You

The Summer I Found You I've spent the last several days since I finished Jolene Perry's The Summer I Found You thinking about the book. Aside from the fact that the lovely cover and title don't have a lot to do with the book (which takes place during the school year and not on a beach), there was a lot to like about the book.

Jolene Perry is a master at writing emotional scenes--at cutting to the emotional core of each character and I think that shows here. Kate is 17 and struggling with her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis (and her tendency to ignore her symptoms and blood sugar frequently lands her in trouble). She just wants to be normal--forever is such a long word for an illness--and get through the school year and move to California with her best friend for college.

Then she meets her best friend's cousin, Aidan, home from Afghanistan with wounds on his heart and body (he's missing most of an arm from the blast that killed one of his best friends). Although Aidan is pretty sure that dating anyone is a bad idea, he finds himself drawn to Kate. And Kate finds him an equally compelling distraction, though neither of them intended their involvement to go as deep as it does.

Plotwise, there's not a lot that happens in this novel. But I thought it was a compelling character study of two people who are struggling to find themselves and their place--and the way they brought their strengths (and weaknesses) to each other. They're not perfect: Aidan is in denial about a lot of the things he needs to do (his List) to get his life back in order; Kate is in denial about the seriousness of her condition. She struggles to be open and forthcoming, and those weaknesses nearly cost her her relationship with Aidan.

Genre-wise, this book felt like it straddled NA and YA. It's billed as NA, and I would definitely say it's not for young teens (language, some sex and discussions about sex), but parts of it--particularly Kate's point of view--still felt very YA to me.

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