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.

Prada & Prejudice

You may have noticed that the titles of my last two books are very similar.  Prom and Prejudice was a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice.  I thought I was in for more of the same with my latest read, Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard.  Alas, I was sadly mistaken.  The book was good, but, when you’re expecting Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy in a title that ends with and Prejudice, it’s a bit of a downer when they don’t show up.  That being said, our main character, Callie, does take a journey to Regency England, but not in the way you might think…

Callie is a bit clumsy.  She’s kind of nerdy.  And she’s tired of the other girls looking down on her because she doesn’t always have the best of everything.  So, when she’s on her school trip to London, she takes her “for emergencies only” credit card and purchases a stellar pair of Prada heels.  (And really, isn’t needing a pair of great shoes kind of an emergency?  Right?)  The only problem is that Callie can’t really walk in them.  (I believe I mentioned she’s clumsy.)  As she’s stumbling along in her new $400 torture devices shoes, Callie trips, falls, and it’s lights out…

…and she wakes up in a forest with absolutely nothing familiar around her.  Where is she?  What happened to the busy streets of London?  Why is there absolutely no one around her?  Well, the answers to these questions are a little more complicated than Callie counted on.  You see, she’s somehow gone from modern London to an English country estate in the year 1815!  What?  How is this even possible?  She must have hit her head harder than she thought if she really believes she’s traveled through time.

But as Callie enters this strange world and is taken in by people who believe her to be a long-lost friend, she begins to wonder if this could be real.  And if it is, does she want to return to her old life, where she was a nobody, or should she stay here with people she’s grown to love and cherish?  Does she even have a choice in the matter?  Find out when you read Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard.

While this was a cute book, it reminded me a lot of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, and I was always searching for a connection to Pride and Prejudice.  I think a different title would have served the story better and not given any false hope to Austen fans.  That being said, this was a fun, light read that will appeal to middle grade girls on up to adult readers.  Prada and Prejudice will definitely delight those readers who have always wished to live in a different time.  (I am not one of those people…unless we’re talking about “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”)

For more information on author Mandy Hubbard and her other books, visit  Enjoy!