Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Review: The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

Title: The Summer My Life Began 
Author: Shannon Greenland 
Release Date: May 10, 2012 
Publisher: Speak 
Source: NetGalley via Publisher 

Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time.
The premise of The Summer My Life Began made it sound like a fun, cute, coming-of-age summer story. While that is what this book deals with, Shannon Greenland’s story ended up having a lot more going on than meets the eye. While I had hoped to love this book, I didn’t, even though I enjoyed reading it.

Em sounded like my kind of girl. She’s got everything figured out (or has it figured it out for her) and all she wants it to get away and try to figure out who she is. I had hoped to really connect with Em but that didn’t happen. For one, the characters in this novel aren’t developed enough. It’s kind of hard to do that in 250 pages, with a plot like this one. Em just sounded so na├»ve to me and honestly, I wasn’t sure if she really was an almost college student. The lack of character development really took me away from loving this book. My favorite character was Domino and he was very much a secondary character.

The plot was way to fast for all the issues in this novel. Within 20 pages, there was something major going on with the characters and I felt that the author just dropped a bombshell in the middle of this novel. The whole invitation, feud thing going on came out of nowhere and it soon became a major theme of the novel. Events in this novel just kept happening, one after the other and it was just way to jumbled. Again, I think that the characters needed to be fleshed out more which would have helped all the subplots going on seem less forced and well, unnecessary.

The writing was very simple and easy to read and made The Summer My Life Began a quick read. I think I’ve said this a few times but the writing made the characters seem younger than they were. The syntax of this novel also didn’t help me out. There wasn’t enough description in places where I wanted to know more about.

Overall, the extreme lack of character development and a jumbled plot took away from me liking this novel. The Summer My Life Began was an okay book but one, sadly, that I wouldn’t recommend to a lot of people.
Cover Comments:
SO misleading. While there are fun times in this novel, the majority focuses on family problems so I'm not happy with the cover. It doesn't really go with the book.
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