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How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Kindle e-book
Rating: 4/5

Rosie's summer begins with the revelation that her boyfriend, love of her life, 'the one', has cheated on her. With a freshman. A bleached blonde freshman at that. So, Rosie deals with it the way any of us would - she sets her boyfriend's beloved Mustang on fire, bombards him with messages, and earns herself a temporary restraining order and a court date. In order to avoid getting into further trouble, Rosie reluctantly agrees to accompany Matty (her neighbour/brother from another mother), his best friend Spencer, and Spencer's brother, on a road trip to Arizona. However, Rosie's stubborness begins to melt with every mile south and she soon finds herself looking at things in a completely different light. 

This was on my general to be read list but I won't lie, it wasn't near the top. However, I looked up all of the books on this month's Reading Mutiny Challenge list and found that How My Summer Went Up in Flames was a bargain on Kindle. I'm so glad I read this one because I LOVED it! It had the right amount of everything. 

First of all, the characters. Rosie's voice is one of my favourites of this year. Rosie was feisty but wasn't dropping quippy one-liners every two seconds (which can get annoying). Jennifer Salvato Doktorski also did a brilliant job of showing the conflict of the hormone drenched teenage mind. I liked that Rosie's weaknesses were not the backhanded compliment kind (like "people don't take me seriously with my flawless skin and beautiful hair") and she was forced by the guys and her best friend to check her attitude on a regular basis. The supporting cast was solid too. Matty, Spencer and Logan were all given the spotlight at some point, so neither of them felt like filler, and I enjoyed their collective 'geekiness'. I'm glad the romance aspect wasn't drawn out or contrived. It was also great to see strong female friendships with the likes of Lilianna and Avery. 

Secondly, the road trip. I do love a good road trip novel (although I've still never been on a proper one) and this book did not disappoint. I've never been on a fictional road trip through the states mentioned in this story, so I learnt some new things along with Rosie. I felt a bit queasy reading about the Grand Canyon though - I'm not sure I could go there. Well, I could go there but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be looking down at any point. 

Finally, I thought it was well paced and well structured. It finished at just the right point and each leg of the roadtrip was just long enough. It reminded me a little of Audrey, Wait, which I also bought impulsively and ended up loving. 

Overall, this was a surprise hit for me - aren't they the best kind? Oh, and I couldn't resist making a playlist.


  1. Love the book review, Sophia! I can't wait to get my hands on this one, the story seems quirky and unique, and your review makes me think I'd like it. :)

    You should definitely give the Grand Canyon a chance. It's not so scary if you stay away from the edge, and the view is AMAZING. :)

    Thanks for participating in the Reading Mutiny!!

    1. Thank you Bridgid!

      Yes, when I finally make it to that side of the world, I will go to the Grand Canyon. It would be a crime to travel so far and not go!

  2. I have been through parts of Arizona but I wasn't able to go to the Grand Canyon. I want to some day. Thanks for sharing a great review. I really want to read this one day soon.

    1. Oh, that's a shame. I hope you get to visit the Grand Canyon one day. I would definitely recommend this book if you need a little pick me up - Rosie is such a great character!

  3. This is on my TBR too, but I think it's just jumped up a few places! LOVE road trip stories :)

    1. Yeah it's a proper road trip novel too! Not one of those fake out's where the characters only end up going to the next city or something.


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