Someone Else’s Summer – Rachel Bateman – Running Press Kids – Published 9 May 2017
Anna’s always idolized her older sister, Storm. So when Storm dies in a tragic car accident on the night of her high school graduation, Anna is completely lost and her family is torn apart. That is, until she finds Storm’s summer bucket list and decides to honor her sister by having the best summer ever—which includes taking an epic road trip to the coast from her sleepy Iowa town. Setting out to do everything on Storm’s list along with her sisters best friend Cameron—the boy next door—who knew that Storm’s dream summer would eventually lead to Anna’s own self-discovery?
Can you fall in love with a book because of its dedication? Because that’s when I first knew I was going to enjoy Someone Else’s Summer. I cautioned myself to actually start reading the book before judging it, but, it turns out, I was right. I enjoyed this book of road trips and love finally realised, summer lists, larger-than-life big sisters, shared memories, shared grief, and unanswered questions. Someone Else’s Summer was refreshing and fun.
Anna’s sister was tragically killed in a car accident just after her high school graduation. Anna and her family are devastated. So when Anna finds one last summer list that her sister left behind, she knows she must complete it. She recruits her sister’s best-friend, boy-next-door, Cameron, and together they set off for a summer of skinny dipping, tattoos, Polaroid photos, and kisses.
I have to say I loved the romance in this story. Anna and Cameron know each other. They have too many shared childhood memories not to. But they drifted apart over the past few years, just like Anna drifted from being her sister’s little shadow. They reconnect through their shared grief and their time on the road trip. Their relationship starts with a familiarity and comfort that comes from being a perfect fit. So it only makes perfect sense when their relationship turns romantic. And boy, does their chemistry leap off the page. Their kisses were literally heart-pounding.
The start was a little slow, as Anna reminisces about previous summers and time spent with her sister. But it’s these memories that lend credence to her grief. It makes the story believable. They are flawed characters, not likeable all the time. She and Cameron get angry at each other, Anna isn’t the best friend to her best friend, but that only makes them more realistic.
And who doesn’t love a good road trip novel? This one ticks all the right boxes – great scenery, a quest to complete, romance, quirky characters along the way, a few dodgy motels…. But it is the story of death and grief which underlies this story that makes it so much more than a light romance.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Grief, death, road trip, summer, romance, sisters, relationships.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references and implied sex scenes, minimal details and fade to black.
Published: 9 May 2017 by Running Press Kids.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 320 pages.