Book Review: Five Summers by Una LaMarche
Review of Five Summers by Una MaMarche
Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars
my rating: AWWW
Five Summers is the story of four best friends—Emma, Skylar, Maddie, and Jo—who meet at a sleep-away camp when they are ten. The story is told from their multiple point of views through different times in their life hinging around their first camp reunion at the age of seventeen.
Jo, whose father owns the camp, and Skylar are still there as counselors. Emma is living in New York with her brother in her aunt’s condo and interning at a magazine publisher. Maddie is flipping burgers back home and getting dumped by her boyfriend.
The four friends have lost contact during the three years since their last night of camp but the reunion is supposed to bring them all back together like they used to be. They all have ideas of how things will go.
Emma is trying to ignore the feelings she used to have for one of the boys at camp, Adam. The boy she had a crush on for years and chickened out of kissing on her last night at camp. Skylar has a big secret to tell her best friend, Emma, concerning the same boy. Maddie is living a lie at camp and knows she has to tell her friends the truth about her real life. And Jo wants things to go back to how they were, before she found out Maddie’s secret, before they all went their separate ways. The problem is things are about to get really messy.
Having never gone to camp myself I really enjoyed this book and how it portrayed camp. Also never having friends like the JEMS (as they called themselves—Jo, Emma, Maddie and Skylar) is hit a sore nerve. I honestly don’t know what it’s like to have friends like this and it makes me sad that I missed out on that as a child and still am because of my debilitating social anxiety.
I liked how the book skipped around from present to past as the girls remembered pacts they had made as kids and were now breaking intentionally and unintentionally as the reunion goes on.
I also really loved all the girls. I felt each girl had a little in common with me so I understood how they were feeling. I think I liked Jo the best who always felt like she didn’t fit in. She was quirky with her love for the camp she grew up and her penchant to take charge as if she were her father.
There was also a lot of angst in this book, which my readers might know now that I love. There were so many subplots having to do with dating and hooking up and love that I basically got my fill of UST and angst. I was kind of shocked about Adam’s behavior. I really thought Emma would be different for him (and kind of says she was) but at the end he’s become a total douche-nozzle. But even then I kind of liked him because I think he might have been genuinely sorry—like he got stuck in this reputation and didn’t know how to get out of it. Still, he was an ass to Emma and Skylar and deserved what he got.
My favorite, though, was Jo and Nate. Jo was so adorably clueless to Nate’s attentions until the girls started pointing it out and then suddenly she got it. I loved that as much as Nate adored her he wasn’t afraid to stand up against her even if it meant he might lose her. They complimented each other perfectly and were the most healthy couple of the entire story
I give this book 3 and ¾ stars. Why the minus ¼? For ragging on Southwest Airlines for losing Maddie’s luggage. Okay, I’m joking but as part of the Southwest family (my husband works for them) I feel a need to stand up for them. I actually laughed when she mentioned the lost luggage and Southwest.
So I really loved this book. There were many parts where I wanted to cry because of the pain the girls were in. Or because of what I missed as a kid/teen. It made me really feel what the girls were feeling, remembering what it was like to be a teen and in a crazy relationship (I did have one despite my awkward anxiety).
I did want to see Skylar confront Adam, though. More than what was shown. And I really want to know if Adam ever changes his ways. I guess that’s what fanfiction is for.* This would make a great summer read, especially for anyone that ever went to camp.
*Must. Not. Write. Fanfic. Must finish NaNo first.