Monday, 20 May 2013

Review - Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Published: 16th May by Razorbill
Source: E-Galley from NetGalley & publisher

Four best friends, five summers of camp memories. 

The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring...
The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth...
The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle...
The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar...
Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable... and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. 

Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance. Bittersweet, funny, and achingly honest, Five Summers is a story of friendship, love, and growing up that is perfect for fans of Anne Brashares and Judy Blume's Summer Sisters.

Five Summers was a light, easy read that brought back warm summer days on these horrible rainy days we're having at the moment in England. 

Emma, Skylar, Jo and Maddie became best friends at summer camp and decided to make a pact to stay that way forever. However, when camp ended, they started to drift and found that they never really kept in touch anymore. Each chapter is a different girl and a different summer, whether it's in the past or the present - 3 years on at camp reunion. I was worried this would become confusing but LaMarche directly states which girl and which summer the chapter follows, and it was actually a really great touch as I found out more and more about each girl to explain their behaviour in the present day. 

The girls' characters followed an almost set mould - there was inexperienced with boys, brainy Ivy League bound Emma; beautiful, care-free, artistic Skylar; secretive Maddie suffering from family problems back home and tomboy Jo - the camp owners daughter who always follows the rules yet needs to learn how to let go and have some fun. 
Having said that though, I did enjoy reading about the girls, they seemed very genuine and acted as 'real' girls would for the most part. I never really became bored by them or thought the stereotypes went too far. I also have zero experience of summer camps here in England so for me it was a fun world to explore and it was lovely to see their friendship grow over the 5 summers they spent there. 

For me, it was a bit predictable - there was no big secret reveal or anything really shocking. It just seemed to be an endearing story of a group of friends growing up together and finding ways to keep that friendship growing. It didn't totally grab me though, for me it was just OK. However, if you're looking for a light-hearted, coming of age read then it might very well be perfect for you. 

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