My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A cute contemporary about self-discovery with a Nicholas Sparks-esque feel to it that will appeal to any who have ever thought of writing and fulfilling their own bucket lists.
Anna Holloway has always looked up to her older sister Storm, so when Storm dies after crashing her car on the night of her high school graduation, it’s no surprise that the loss would hit her family hard.
Storm had been the free-spirit everyone in town knew as the little girl who had only a decade earlier battled cancer and won. She was unique and memorable, leaving Anna’s family with a very visible hole from her absence.
It’s several weeks after Storm’s funeral that Anna find one of Storm’s infamous lists (lists that ruled Storm’s and Anna’s summers, when they’d rush to complete the tasks before the school year began), this one though, is labeled ‘My Perfect Summer‘. This list is different, more heavy, so Anna decides she’s going to complete every item on it, and with the help of her next-door neighbor (and Storm’s best friend) Cam, they soon find themselves on a road trip with the intention of doing it for Storm, as well as for herself.
It took me awhile to actually get into this, because the first quarter of the book was pretty much showing how losing Storm affected Anna, and how Anna found herself drawing closer to Cam (and apart from other friends), since he was the one who really knew what it meant to lose Storm, as her best friend.
I felt a bit detached when it came to Storm, because we’re told how unique and special she was, but her character never really was a presence in this book, so she never felt real to me. Maybe if we had had flashbacks that could have fleshed Storm out some, it might have helped with making her absence feel more real, leading to genuinely missing her character.
Now, when it came to Anna and Cam, I’ll admit that I found it a bit ridiculous how quickly she fell into this easy companionship with him, mostly because she had gone through high school having only really spoken to him in pass, when he and Storm were hanging out together. I know they grew up being close, mostly due to Storm being their glue, but high school found them drifting apart, so it just came across as a little too easy…but then again, people think differently from me, so whatever works for them.
Either way, the fact that they found themselves gravitating towards each other helped to get the road trip off the ground, so that they could complete Storm’s list.
Of course, you could only assume that close quarters – as well as working together to complete the tasks on the list – would draw Anna and Cam closer, eventually leading to romantic feelings for each other. I liked Cam and his “geeky” personality, it’s endearing, as well as the way he really tried to help Anna with the list, considering he didn’t really owe her anything, he was just a good guy.
I feel like this book seriously had all the makings of a Nicholas Sparks novel: a tragic death, a bucket list that needs completion, and the romance that develops between the two people most affected by the aforementioned death…
But I can’t say that I hated the stereotypical Sparks-esque tropes that are the hallmarks of his stories, no, I liked them here. I liked how sappy this was at times, and I liked how everything wrapped up into a non-cliffhanger ending. Having read so many series in recent times, it was almost strange reading a book that actually ended.
Such a lovely feeling that is. *sighs*
So, in conclusion, I enjoyed Someone Else’s Summer, and it reminded me that I can like contemporaries in a dystopian-filled world!
Thank you to Running Press Kids who gave me this copy via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.