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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Summer We Come to Life by Deborah Cloyed

  • Pub. Date: May 2011
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Format: Paperback , 320pp 
  • Deborah Cloyed's website
ARC from Planned Television Arts for review 


Every summer, Samantha Wheland joins her childhood friends—Isabel, Kendra and Mina—on a vacation, somewhere exotic and fabulous. Together with their mixed bag of parents, they've created a lifetime of memories. This year it's a beach house in Honduras. But for the first time, their clan is not complete. Mina lost her battle against cancer six months ago, and the friends she left behind are still struggling to find their way forward without her.

For Samantha, the vacation just feels wrong without Mina. Despite being surrounded by her friends—the closest thing she has to family—Mina's death has left Sam a little lost. Unsure what direction her life should take. Fearful that whatever decision she makes about her wealthy French boyfriend's surprise proposal, it'll be the wrong one.

The answers aren't in the journal Mina gave Sam before she died. Or in the messages Sam believes Mina is sending as guideposts. Before the trip ends, the bonds of friendship with her living friends, the older generation's stories of love and loss, and Sam's glimpse into a world far removed from the one in which she belongs will convince her to trust her heart. And follow it.

Of all the three friends left, Samantha seems to be the most distraught of all after Mina's dead, she engaged in self pity, irrational behavior and decision. She made it clear that she does not want to go on a vacation because it felt wrong that Mina will once again be with them on their summer vacations. She felt left out and not in sync with the group anymore after Mina died. Isabel and Kendra thought it is a clear sign of intervention.

The story does not just evolve around these girls. Their parents also shared their memories of the past and insight. Personally this novel is what I was looking for right now, I lost a friend exactly 50 days ago and I thought life would never be the same again (I always think of the negative). But the characters' story and their struggle helped me the process of grieving. I especially like the part about the perspective on the after life and religion and the touch of metaphysics this booked offered. The book is beautifully written, I cannot tell you how much I pause to reflect back on my own life every time a story or a strong emotion comes up. A story a bout love, secrets, and friendship.

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