Two Summers

I love it when I come across a book that’s different from anything I’ve read before. That’s what I got in Two Summers by Aimee Friedman.

At first glance, this book is simple contemporary YA fiction, but it’s more than that. Without getting too technical, Two Summers explores the possibility of parallel universes and how simple decisions can take us on very different paths. Could those diverging paths lead us to the same place? I guess that depends on the situation, but I enjoyed how things played out in this book, which was essentially two stories–or two summers–in one.

This is going to be a summer to remember…in more ways than one. Summer Everett, a girl for whom very little ever changes, is planning to spend the summer in France with her father. She’s both nervous and excited about this trip. As she’s about to board her flight, Summer’s phone rings, and she has to decide whether or not to answer this call.

Summer ignores her phone.

Soon she’s soaring over the Atlantic, about to spend the summer in Provence, France. She’ll get to spend some time with her father, a painter, and explore the French countryside. What could be more idyllic? Well, for starters, her father could be at the airport to pick her up. He’s not, and Summer soon learns that he’s the one who was trying to call her earlier. He’s in Berlin, and Summer is now virtually on her own in an unfamiliar country.

Summer eventually finds her way to her father’s home, and she’s met by Vivienne, a friend of her father’s, and Eloise, a girl close to Summer’s age who seems to hate her on sight. Things aren’t off to a good start, and they don’t get much better until Summer has a chance encounter with Jacques. Maybe France won’t be so bad after all.

Summer answers her phone.

Her dad wants her to postpone her trip…as she’s about to board the plane. He’s in Berlin, so what’s really the point of going to France if he won’t be there? Summer turns around and makes her way back to boring Hudsonville, New York, for the same old summer she’s always had. That’s not exactly how things work out, though.

Summer’s best friend, Ruby, is drifting away. She’s hanging out with the popular crowd and seems to resent that Summer did not leave for France. What’s Summer to do? Well, for starters, she’s taking a photography class taught by her Aunt Lydia. In this class, she’s exploring her own artistic abilities and getting to know Wren, an eccentric girl from school, and Hugh Tyson, Summer’s long-time crush. Maybe staying home this summer won’t be so bad after all.

Two Summers collide.

In both worlds, Summer is experiencing the first stirrings of love and becoming more comfortable in her own skin. What will happen, though, when a scandalous secret throws her entire life into turmoil? The people who claim to love her the most have been keeping something huge from her, something that changes everything. How can she possibly trust anyone after all is revealed? How can she move on from something so earth-shattering?

Whether in New York or France, this summer will be one that forces Summer Everett to examine her life–her relationships with family and friends, her own abilities, and what’s holding her back from grabbing what she wants. How will these two summers take her where she needs to go? Read this imaginative novel by Aimee Friedman to find out!


I fully enjoyed the concept of Two Summers. Like I said at the beginning of this post, it’s quite unlike anything I’ve read previously, and that, in and of itself, is reason enough for my enjoyment. (A lot of the time, I feel like I’m reading the same story over and over again. I didn’t get that with this book.) Throw in a bit of quantum physics and philosophy, and I’m sold. (Shout out to my book club buddy, Corey, for giving me this book. You did well!)

Two Summers, in my opinion, is a great pick for middle and high school readers. Maybe it will encourage readers of all ages to explore the world around them (and beyond) through photography and examine how the choices they make could lead them on different paths.

To learn more about Two Summers and other books by Aimee Friedman, visit the author’s website. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Gone

Gone is the final book in Lisa McMann’s Wake trilogy.  If you’re unfamiliar with these books, I encourage you to check out the previous two books, Wake and Fade, before reading Gone.  This is definitely a series that requires you to read each book in order since the stories build upon each other.  If you’d like more information on Wake and Fade, please look for my previous blog posts on those books.

In Gone, Janie is continuing her struggles with being a dreamcatcher.  She thinks the only options in her life are total isolation or living in the real world but dealing with being blind and crippled by her late twenties.  Janie doesn’t know what to do.  She wants to stay with Cabel, her boyfriend, but she doesn’t want to burden him with everything happening to her, and she’s tired of being drawn into his increasingly disturbing dreams.  Janie is beginning to think her only choice is withdrawing from society completely.

Janie’s world undergoes yet another shift when her father enters the picture.  She’s never met the man and didn’t even know his name until she discovered he was in the hospital.  When she visits him, she is immediately sucked into some seriously disturbing dreams.  She tries to help her father in his dreams, but how can she help him when the experience is so painful for her?  And what do his dreams even mean?

As the story progresses, Janie is faced with some major decisions, and her father’s illness adds yet another twist to a life that, whatever she decides, will be filled with more pressure than one teenage girl is prepared to handle.  What will Janie do?  Will she choose isolation and spare herself the trauma of being drawn into others’ dreams?  Or will she choose to be with her friends and face an uncertain future filled with dreams, nightmares, and eventual blindness and inability to take care of herself?  What would you do?  Read Gone, the final installment in the Wake trilogy, to find out how Janie decides to cope with her “gift.”

Even though the language in this series was a bit too strong for me, I thought the books were good, fast reads with interesting storylines.  I am happy to see it wrapped up in Gone even though the ending is not really nice and neat.  I think these books are great for anyone who wants to read about dreams or about both the ups and downs of having, for lack of a better word, superpowers.  Are superpowers gifts or curses?  You decide.