Monday, May 4, 2015

The Summer After You & Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Title: The Summer After You & Me
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it’s not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.

Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?

Summer is the season for contemporary books. It feels like they are all coming out right now (at least according to my TBR) and that makes me a very happy reader. Jennifer Salvato Doktorski’s The Summer After You & Me was one of those books, and though it wasn’t quite what I wanted, I still found myself enjoying it while reading.

Lucy Giordano has always loved living on the Jersey Shore. She lives for summers spent sunbathing, surfing and studying marine wildlife. And like everyone in her small seaside town, she knows better than to get attached to the tourists that come and go every summer. But knowing all that she knows isn’t stopping Lucy from spending more time with Connor, her summertime neighbor. That summer, Connor and Lucy grow closer, and when Superstorm Sandy hits, it brings Connor and Lucy together. But once the storm passes, nothing is the same anymore. As the days go by, Lucy doesn’t hear from Connor and is left to start putting her life and home back together. Now getting ready for another summer, Lucy can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen when Connor comes back to town. Will things go back to the way they were before, or will everything be different?

I love my summer contemporaries, it’s not a secret. In fact, some of you might be getting sick of me talking about them but too bad, it’s the season for contemporaries and I will read them ALL. Because it’s what I do. There’s just something about summer and contemporary books that makes it so they go together (though, I’m me and I will read contemporaries no matter what season it is). And I’m being completely honest when I say that 90% of the time, I enjoy all the contemporary books I read. Sure there are some that are better than others, but, if nothing else, I will at least enjoy them while I read. And I really enjoyed Jennifer Salvato Doktorski’s The Summer After You & Me. I really liked how the story showed all the damage that Superstorm Sandy left in its wake on the Jersey Shore, and how that damage was juxtaposed with the damage the main character suffered emotionally. It worked really well, seeing how the two kinds of damage were linked. And how one was affecting the other, at least where Lucy was concerned. Where I had a little trouble with the story was the romance, which is kinda surprising for me. it’s not that I didn’t believe in the romance. Because I did. But there were certain times that it felt a little convoluted. For a good chunk of the book, I just wasn’t sure which boy I was supposed to be rooting for, despite the synopsis pointing me in one direction. But it eventually all got resolved and I was happy with how it was resolved.

I wish I could have connected more with Lucy, but I just didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked her as a character. I just didn’t connect with her the way I had hoped to or the way I wanted to. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story, so in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t such a huge issue. Throughout a lot of the book, Lucy was having trouble figuring out which boy she wanted to be with. And while I can understand that (I mean, that’s kind of the premise for A LOT of YA romances out there), I had trouble getting on board with it. It just felt like the reasons she was mad at one boy was something that she herself was doing and that bugged me. I mean, at the end of the day I was kinda sorta rooting for the other boy, but still. And then at one point I thought for a second she was adding a third boy into the mix and I wanted to be like, “Hold on, girl you already have your hands full with Andrew and Connor, you do not need to be adding Chad into the mix.” Thankfully, she made up her mind about who she wanted pretty quickly after that. The relationship I got really invested in was Lucy’s relationship with her twin brother, Liam. It made me sad to read about them drifting apart, but I loved seeing them mend their relationship and finding their way back to each other. And I just love sibling relationships in general and there are not nearly enough of them in YA books.

Though it wasn’t quite what I had hoped it would be or what I wanted at the time, I still found myself really enjoying Jennifer Salvato Dokstorski’s The Summer After You & Me. If you’re looking for a summer contemporary set at the beach, you might want to check this one out.

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