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The Summer of Us

Review

The Summer of Us

It was the summer that Aubrey and Rae had planned almost since they met each other: one last trip throughout Europe with their friends Jonah, Gabe and Clara. However, neither one of them are expecting so many complications before the trip even starts. Aubrey and Jonah are dealing with some problems in their relationship, Rae is experiencing a massive crush on Clara (whom Rae is convinced doesn’t like her back) and Gabe and Aubrey shared a personal moment just before graduation, even though Aubrey and Jonah are still together. It almost seems like nothing else can go wrong —- however, during the ten days that the group will spend traveling to five different countries, disaster is bound to happen.

When reading books about travel, the balance between reading about sightseeing or reading the equivalent of a travel guide is often hard to strike. Thankfully, THE SUMMER OF US definitely fell in the sightseeing category. While the group visited quite a few tourist destinations, the focus wasn’t on lengthy descriptions of scenic places. Instead, Vinesse chose to give a few details and leave the rest to the readers. Considering I was reading this book while sitting at home, I definitely enjoyed the descriptions of the beautiful places that the group traveled.

"THE SUMMER OF US....perfectly mixes a light read about traveling with friends into a book that discusses the relationships between people."

Even though I originally expected THE SUMMER OF US to be mostly about travel, it also focused on the romantic relationships and also the friendships between the members of the group. A large part of the plot involved Aubrey and Rae trying to deal with their friendship. It was very realistic to see two friends struggling with growing apart and heading in two separate directions. A lot of times, this part of life is often glossed over in young adult fiction, but I appreciated how honest and real Vinesse was about this situation.

I really loved the alternating points of view between Aubrey and Rae. While this can get repetitive a lot of the time, Vinesse didn’t spend much time covering the same events. Instead, she kept the plot moving, which definitely added to the book. The two were very different in their personalities and how they chose to depict events, and I enjoyed that.

However, I wish that it had been explained at the beginning what happened with Aubrey and Gabe. While it did eventually say what had occurred, I spent some time being confused about possibly missing something. Despite the fact that this book had quite a few main characters, they were all incredibly well developed. All of them had very distinct characteristics, and I didn’t feel like any of their depth was sacrificed due to the large ensemble cast.

This book definitely appealed to me due to the fact that traveling and sightseeing were included in the story. However, there was quite a bit of partying and alcohol drinking, so younger readers might not enjoy these sections as much. Readers who love adventure and have always dreamed of traveling overseas will definitely be interested in THE SUMMER OF US. It perfectly mixes a light read about traveling with friends into a book that discusses the relationships between people.

Reviewed by Breck G., Teen Board Member on June 28, 2018

The Summer of Us
by Cecillia Vinesse