The Clasp by Sloane Crosley These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

Monday, March 10, 2014

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3/5

Kate is finding it more than a little difficult to adjust to living with type 1 diabetes. On top of that, her boyfriend dumps her seemingly out of the blue. Nineteen year old veteran Aidan is trying to come to terms with his recent disability along with everything that comes with adapting to civilian life. The two find each other to be a satisfying distraction from their immediate problems. However, soon enough they must face said problems head on - including their true feelings for each other.

The Summer I Found You is a nice story about friendship and how the best things in life are often unexpected surprises. I truly admire Jolene Perry for tackling TWO big issues in this book.

I liked Kate and Aidan well enough. Both had been dealt a rough card, compared to other characters in the contemporary romance YA universe. However, I really liked the supporting characters best of all. Jennifer was a great example of a true best friend - she was definitely someone you would want in your corner. I liked that there was no drama between the two besties, even when Kate was acting up now and then. The families were well imagined too. Jolene Perry managed to make all of the parents sound different and you could tell that despite different parenting styles, they all wanted the best for their children. I’ve read a few pieces here and there about the absent parent syndrome that seems to infect a lot of YA - which is an interesting argument because on the one hand, your parents aren’t at school with you, so why would they be in a YA novel set at school but on the other hand, they’re often there when you get home and so forth, so why aren’t they shown in the books? - nevertheless, it was nice to have concerned and supportive families represented in The Summer I Found You because lots of people do come from such families!

It was a quick read. For the most part, I ignored the layout issues and some odd turns of phrases or clunkiness because I’m sure these were sorted out before publication. Overall, it flowed fairly well. It definitely got more complex and deep towards the end, which was satisfying. Did Aidan and Kate fall for each other too quickly? Did they suffer from a case of the old insta-luv? Well, yeah, but when you’ve got a word limit and an end goal, what are you supposed to do? Besides, they’re young! 

The only thing that kept bothering me as I was reading was that it should’ve been one voice or the other. We should’ve had Kate’s story featuring Aidan or vice versa. This is because: a) we’d learn more about either Kate or Aidan’s day to day life - their coping mechanisms, more of the challenges they face and thus we’d learn more about their disease or disability; b) we would have seen more interaction with their family, friends and medical professionals. As I said, I really enjoyed these well drawn characters; and c)basically the issues were a little overwhelming to condense down like this. By having one POV over another, it would have given that character room to really breathe and expand, and so the final scenes wouldn’t seem so ‘happy ending with a bow on top - thank you and goodnight’. 

Another minor issue I had was with the title. It’s a very minor issue. However, the book was not set during the summer! An actual summer setting might have added to the frustrations Aidan and Kate were feeling. I understand ‘The Spring I Found You’ isn’t very catchy but something like ‘When  I Found You’ or ‘How I Found You’ or even ‘You Found Me’ (since YA novels seem to like using song titles a lot). However, that’s not to say this cannot be enjoyed in the summer months. I for one would’ve probably enjoyed it even more if I’d been on holiday or something (especially with that lovely summery cover).

Overall, I liked this book more and more as I read it and I tip my hat to Jolene Perry for writing about diabetes and our wounded veterans. If you enjoyed In Honor or Something Like Normal, definitely give this one a go! 

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