Thursday, July 5, 2018

Book Review: The Summer List

Finally, I get to read one of the summer's most anticipated reads early! Usually I get to read them long after they've had their stint at the top of reader's list, which is fine, but it's kind of nice to be able to talk about a book now!

The Summer List - Amy Mason Doan

Laura and Casey were once inseparable: as they floated on their backs in the sunlit lake, as they dreamed about the future under starry skies, and as they teamed up for the wild scavenger hunts in their small California lakeside town. Until one summer night, when a shocking betrayal sent Laura running through the pines, down the dock, and into a new life, leaving Casey and a first love in her wake.

But the past is impossible to escape, and now, after seventeen years away, Laura is pulled home and into a reunion with Casey she can’t resist—one last scavenger hunt. With a twist: this time, the list of clues leads to the settings of their most cherished summer memories. From glistening Jade Cove to the vintage skating rink, each step they take becomes a bittersweet reminder of the friendship they once shared. But just as the game brings Laura and Casey back together, the clues unravel a stunning secret that threatens to tear them apart… 

I almost didn't finish this. I know, it's a hot book right now and I almost put it in my DNF pile. Why? It's slow. It's a VERY slow moving book, so much so that even once I got into the meat of the book I had already figured out the big secret and I couldn't understand why the author was so slow in getting there. Easily could have taken 50-100 pages of this out. I didn't love Laura's character at all, she's as exactly as Casey described her, someone who only thinks of herself. She doesn't look at big picture, she's so worried about herself all of the time she doesn't consider anyone else. Not everything is about you and that's something Laura struggles with all the way to the end. So that was annoying and I could understand why she didn't have any friends growing up aside from Casey.

The mother/daughter relationships in this book are completely dysfunctional, at best, but a lot of readers will be able to relate to one or the other. I really liked J.B. and I felt badly about how terrible Laura treated him, I really wanted him to just give up on her all together but this is a story so that doesn't necessarily happen. I liked the scavenger hunt theme throughout and how it ties into the end, as does the local stories about the Collier boys. I figured out the entire thing by the time I got to the half way point so the ending itself wasn't surprising for me though I felt like it was kind of rushed. I wanted to hear more of Katharine's story, maybe details on her death, or even more beyond Daniel's story- why did he end up the way he was? Nobody just decides to be a predator, what really landed him in a drug house raping young girls? Maybe a clue is in the story Laura's mother told her of her experience in the Collier home.

The book takes place in the summer so naturally this is an appropriate summer read. It's slow so this isn't a fast weekend read, I'm a fast reader and I couldn't stick with it for too long before getting bored. Overall I'm giving this one 3 stars. It wasn't amazing for me like it was for so many others, but it was solidly good. It earns its spot on top summer reading lists but isn't a favorite of mine.

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