The Summer List

The Summer ListThe Summer List by Amy Mason Doan
Published by Graydon House on June 26th 2018
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

“I wanted to ask her if she felt like I did, if the years when we’d been friends still seemed more important than anything that had happened since.”

The Summer list is a sweet and endearing tale of two friends, Laura and Casey, who were once inseparable until an event one summer night drives them apart. Ahhh, there is no sweeter friendship than the friendship of youth. The people who grow up with you. The ones who know your secrets, your dreams, your wishes and desires. The ones who go on adventures with you. Our childhood friends often knew more about us than our parents did. How sad when an event occurs which drives a wedge between you and your friend.

Laura is on the lake one morning when she sees a swimmer in the water. Casey is new in town and an avid swimmer. She and Laura immediately hit it off. They become best friends and Laura is drawn to Casey’s eccentric Mother, Alex, who she often wishes were her own Mother. The pair experience their teenage years and confide in each other their crushes on others. They go on wild scavenger hunt and have many adventures together. Laura has finally landed her first love, J.B., and thinks life is pretty sweet. Casey, J.B. and Laura plan to all live in Los Angeles and continue to be in each other lives. It pretty much looks like that is going to happen until that fateful night.

Now around 35 years old, Laura receives an invitation in the mail. To come back to the lake for another scavenger hunt. She toys with not going but eventually does. There she is reunited with Casey and together they decide to go on the scavenger hunt and see what is waiting for them at the end. The scavenger hunt is like a walk down memory lane – some memories are good, some are not.
Their hunt takes them to the skating rink owned by J.B. and brings him into their hunt as well but more so as an observer and helper not as a participant.

Along the way there are bumps in the road, revelations, and growth. I really enjoyed this book. I found myself thinking about this book and it’s characters when I could not sleep at 3 a.m. one day. I think most have that one friend we wonder “what ever happened to him/her?” Most have a friend they were close to and then drifted apart, some may have a friend who betrayed them, some may have had a friend steal a girlfriend/boyfriend, some may have had a friendship diminish or fall apart over a misunderstanding. That is what works for me in this book is that it is so relate-able.

What would happen if you could reconnect with that friend? Would you take it? That is what occurs in this book. The story is told by looking at the present and going back into the past. There are also passages where I wondered “Who is this about?” but it becomes very clear in the end.

This book reminded me of the movie Beaches to some degree. I loved that I did not know what drove them apart until the end. I made various speculations while reading and was wrong. I enjoyed how her characters acted and reacted in ways in which I think most people would. Nobody is perfect and our actions and reactions are not perfect.

I found this book to be well written and I was drawn into these two women’s worlds. I found all of the characters to be like-able and I was invested in what would happen as they finished their scavenger hunt. Another thing I appreciated was the lack of filer – thee were no unnecessary scenes. Everything in this book was needed for the telling of the story. The pacing was spot on, nothing felt rushed or drawn out. I look forward to reading more books by this Author.

This book is about friendship, family secrets, connection, second chances and love. A relate-able, heartwarming and endearing book about the ties that bind, acceptance and love. This is a beautifully told debut novel!

Thank you to Harlequin Graydon House and NetGalley for providing me with a copy for this book in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars

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