I was in need of an ugly cry read for quite some time now. You know, I love a great and funny NA book; they make me happy and swoon over the guys, hoping to meet one of those book-boyfriends in real life one day. But sometimes I don’t need a happy ending, I need a book that breaks my heart and makes my eyes tear up over the story. And since The Summer Remains by Seth King made it on the Huffington Post’s list of Ugly Cry Books, I was hoping this novel would do the trick.
Summer Johnson is used to hospitals and doctors. And when she gets the news of having to undergo a risky surgery in three months’ time that may or may not end up with her being dead, she decides to go against doctor’s orders and live her life like a normal 24-year-old. In hopes of falling in love in her possible last few months on earth, she downloads a new dating app. But what she doesn’t expect is Cooper Nichols, the beautiful surfer boy who turns her world upside down in the best possible way.
Girl meets boy in lecture hall. Boy meets girl in a bar. Girl gets knocked over from the guy’s football by accident. Girl falls in love with his brother’s best friend. Girl and boy have a past and now try their luck for a second time.
It’s pretty common in NA books that the two main characters meet each other as in one of the above mentioned scenarios. As you all know we live in a social media obsessed society. Now tell me, how many NA books have you read in which the two main characters meet through a dating app? The Summer Remains is the first book for me. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to find a partner over the internet and although it was frowned upon only a few years ago it is a normal thing now. Dating apps, however, are a bit different, at least for me. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with trying them out, but let’s be honest: dating apps are nothing else but hook-up apps and trying to get a right swipe with the sexiest selfie you took on your smartphone. Finding love may have been the intention of the inventors (at least I hope so!) but the reality is far from it.
Considering the facts I just mentioned, I think it’s pretty funny that Summer Johnson tried to find love on one of those dating apps. I totally love and also admire her naivety for it. I think it was only a matter of time until one of our beloved indie authors chose the dating app scenario and I am happy that Seth King made the start. He also made me reconsider my rather negative opinion about not finding love on dating apps. Maybe it is possible after all, who knows?
Summer and I are only a few years apart by age but this is the very reason I can fully relate to her mid-twenty struggles. Society expects us to have life figured out by our early twenties, heck, maybe even after school graduation. We have to know what to we want to study and what job we want afterwards. But the truth is that most young people in their twenties don’t have it figured out. At least I haven’t. I often think “Is my course of studies really what I want in life? Do I really want to work in that industry for the next 40 years?” Why can’t society let us make mistakes? Why can’t we travel for a few years? Why do we have to settle for one course of studies at the age of 18/19? Why can’t we try a few and see what suits us best? Why does society pressure us so much? But most importantly: why is it so important for the society that we have to have it figured out so early? There were so many scenes in this book I could relate to 100% and I am so happy that someone finally wrote about it.
Your twenties are definitely are weird age. Children in adult bodies being forced to make adult decisions with their child brains.
And on top of society’s pressure we are subconsciously confronted with the pressure of social media. We see our friends getting diplomas, traveling, getting engaged, getting married etc. Then you think about your life and you notice you are far from accomplishing all that. In comes Summer Johnson who has a life threatening medical condition. The great and successful life of her facebook friends is basically thrown into her face and she just knows that she maybe won’t accomplish even half of what her friends post. I felt so bad for Summer most of the time. Of course she was a strong and determined character but you could just see that she struggled with all this. She tried to hide her feelings behind her “I don’t care” – attitude but deep down she cared – maybe too much.
I could tell you more about strong and smart Summer, cute, attentive and swoon-worthy Cooper and Summer’s really annoying best friend. But I don’t, I rather want to let you know about all the different and random things this story made me think of: cruise ship captains, windows and eyes, coincidences and accidents and the amount of how many seconds there are during the summer. I know that all this makes no sense to you at all, but it will if you read the story. I don’t know how Seth King did it but I was sitting there and thinking to myself “Why have I never thought about this? He’s so right!” I like when books make me think about things, even the most random and obvious ones.
I think Seth King’s The Summer Remains is more than just a novel. He created a wonderful yet heartbreaking story about a girl with a not well-known medical condition (no, it’s NOT cancer), about wanting to fall in love and making the readers aware of so many random but also important things. The book is funny and sad and although I didn’t cry once, I don’t regret reading. I can’t wait start with the accompanying novella.
Life’s supposed to be hard. If your life is too easy, that means you’re doing it wrong.