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The Summer of Us

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Aubrey and Rae have been planning their trip around Europe practically from the moment they became BFFs in primary school. And, now, it ought to be the perfect way to spend their last summer together before university. But things are more complicated at eighteen than they were at ten. There's Jonah, Aubrey's seemingly perfect boyfriend, and his best friend Gabe, the boy Aub Aubrey and Rae have been planning their trip around Europe practically from the moment they became BFFs in primary school. And, now, it ought to be the perfect way to spend their last summer together before university. But things are more complicated at eighteen than they were at ten. There's Jonah, Aubrey's seemingly perfect boyfriend, and his best friend Gabe, the boy Aubrey may have accidentally kissed. And there's Clara, the friend Rae is crushing on, hard, even though there's no hope because Clara is definitely into guys, not girls. Five friends. Ten days. Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Florence, Barcelona. And a messy, complicated, can-this-really-be happening love story, or two ... because how could there not be?


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Aubrey and Rae have been planning their trip around Europe practically from the moment they became BFFs in primary school. And, now, it ought to be the perfect way to spend their last summer together before university. But things are more complicated at eighteen than they were at ten. There's Jonah, Aubrey's seemingly perfect boyfriend, and his best friend Gabe, the boy Aub Aubrey and Rae have been planning their trip around Europe practically from the moment they became BFFs in primary school. And, now, it ought to be the perfect way to spend their last summer together before university. But things are more complicated at eighteen than they were at ten. There's Jonah, Aubrey's seemingly perfect boyfriend, and his best friend Gabe, the boy Aubrey may have accidentally kissed. And there's Clara, the friend Rae is crushing on, hard, even though there's no hope because Clara is definitely into guys, not girls. Five friends. Ten days. Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Florence, Barcelona. And a messy, complicated, can-this-really-be happening love story, or two ... because how could there not be?

30 review for The Summer of Us

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shreya (☆High Lady of The Night Court☆)

    Outside the window, the gray and brown buildings of London started disappearing behind them. Like a sped-up movie reel. Like the world on fast-forward. I need someone to explain to me why I feel so happy about this ending even though I knew exactly what was going to happen. I flew through this book and loved the fact that the story revolves around a group of friends. Each of them had very different personalities, different problems, and each character added more clarity to the story. The book s Outside the window, the gray and brown buildings of London started disappearing behind them. Like a sped-up movie reel. Like the world on fast-forward. I need someone to explain to me why I feel so happy about this ending even though I knew exactly what was going to happen. I flew through this book and loved the fact that the story revolves around a group of friends. Each of them had very different personalities, different problems, and each character added more clarity to the story. The book shifts between Aubrey and Rae, who are best friends, and the fact that they are such different people allows the reader to see the story through two perspectives which in turn lets us see any situation or argument through two views which I loved. Aubrey and Rae planned their dream trip in middle school and now, two weeks before they all leaves for college, they’re finally going to do it. When they decided to go for it, the 5 friends never expected for their very friendship to come into question. I was very aware of what was going to happen because the author wrote most of the book in a pretty open and obvious way but watching the story play out, regardless of the fact that I expected what was going to happen, was very exciting. The book follows Aubrey, Rae, Clara, Gabe and Jonah. Aubrey and Jonah are currently dating, but Gabe, Jonah’s best friend may have kissed Aubrey a few weeks ago and they’re awkwardly avoiding each other. And Aubrey may or may not have had a crush on Gabe a few years ago. Rae has been in love with Carla for quite a while now, but she doesn’t want to risk it ruining their friendship so she keeps it under wraps. Aubrey wants a future with Jonah but he might not feel the same way, and they seem to be growing apart. I loved the feeling of familiarity between these characters and I would like to know more about their childhood but what they do tell us is adorable. Since Rae is a feminist, there is a lot of comments and jokes that support this which makes me very happy. Aubrey is definitely a little uptight and paranoid but that did not spoil the book or bring it down, it just brought out the contrast between their characters. This was a funny, heartwarming, loving story among friends and their unexpected, spontaneous, yet slightly planned journey before they head of to college. I enjoyed this story extremely and give it 4 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cait • A Page with a View

    I will adore pretty much any summer travel story, but this really is one of the best YA ones I've found! The characters completely make the story — there are 3 girls & 2 guys who backpack around Europe the summer before college. There's a kind of love triangle between one of the girls and the 2 guys, while the other two girls are trying to figure out if they like each other. These 2 girls were easily the best part and most developed. Their relationship is adorable and the feminist side comme I will adore pretty much any summer travel story, but this really is one of the best YA ones I've found! The characters completely make the story — there are 3 girls & 2 guys who backpack around Europe the summer before college. There's a kind of love triangle between one of the girls and the 2 guys, while the other two girls are trying to figure out if they like each other. These 2 girls were easily the best part and most developed. Their relationship is adorable and the feminist side comments are hilarious. It's a lot of characters for a short standalone to cover, but the book balances them pretty well. The story focuses a lot on starting a new future and how it's ok to stay in touch with old friends. The plot definitely revolves around the friends and their drama, though. Europe is mostly a backdrop... Most of the story takes place on trains. I always love books about people with the time, ability, and money to head to Europe because I can travel vicariously through them. So even though I didn't totally get that sense from this story, I still thought it was a light, happy read that's one of my top recommendations for a summer YA contemporary! Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ilsa ➹

    I NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER (like, ever) rate happy, light YA contemporaries 5 stars. But here we are. I usually like my contemporaries hard and gritty but I actually LIKED the romances and lightness in this book and I FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE LIKE FLUFFY BOOKS WHO AM I?? AHHHH. AHHHHH. CUTENESS. OVERLOADDDD. It’s nearing summer here in the UK AND OH MY GOSH, this book? If summer was a book, IT WOULD BE THIS. I mean, I guessed by the title “The Summer of Us” but it literally ha I NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER (like, ever) rate happy, light YA contemporaries 5 stars. But here we are. I usually like my contemporaries hard and gritty but I actually LIKED the romances and lightness in this book and I FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE LIKE FLUFFY BOOKS WHO AM I?? AHHHH. AHHHHH. CUTENESS. OVERLOADDDD. It’s nearing summer here in the UK AND OH MY GOSH, this book? If summer was a book, IT WOULD BE THIS. I mean, I guessed by the title “The Summer of Us” but it literally has so many summer vibes and I really...thought that this contemporary would be NO DIFFERENT to all the other typical, boring, fluffy YA novels… I was wrong. Which I mean is a rare thing but I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It just had ALL the good summer vibes and characters I cared about and romances that WERE AMAZING and fleshed out and good and IT’S SO ADDICTING. So like if you could all read it please and thanks; I read it in one sitting. The summer of Us is somewhere close to flawless; It’s interesting, it’s got a plot, it’s got dynamics, it’s got good characters and perfect light writing to top it off. It’s just SO enjoyable, and I love it. I don’t really WANT to talk about this book because it’ SO much better if you go into without knowing anything. Set your expectations low, and you’ll have such a fun time!! It’s about a group of five teens traveling around Europe (mostly Paris) and it’s the last time they’ll spend together before all going off to different universities/college and they are all so sad because they won’t see each other and so they are all basically saying goodbye. Also, a perfect time to fall in love, just so you can wave farewell 2 seconds later. GREAT TIMES. But honestly, these group of friends have known each other forever and then...as the most inconvenient time, decide to start dating and accept their feelings for each other...OOPS. The whole book Person1: so I like you Person2: I LIKE YOU TOO OMG!! Person 1 & 2: %^&*(SOANFAW?MFKZSNASB AHHHH Person1: Ah man, I’ve got to Australia now bye I’ll never see you again Person2: yeah Byeeeee. I MEAN IT’S ACTUALLY MORE HEARTBREAKING THAN THAT BECAUSE THEY’VE WASTED ALL THIS TIME NOT TELLING EACH OTHER ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS. So yes, bittersweet endings that are basically sad but...also really hopeful?! And I live for that. There is a love triangle but it’s not...bad…? If that makes any sense. It is dealt with SOOO well. So there’s an m/f relationship but also a really cute f/f COUPLE WHICH I LOVE OMG IM GOING TO CRY OMG OMG. It’s too pure and soft and beautiful and please read it because it’s so fluffy and cute and perfect AGH. There’s also so much focus on FRIENDSHIPS in this book. It’s a very character-driven novel but I love Rae and Aubrey, they are such good best friends!! And it’s such a relaxed book with parties and ice cream and all the GOOD STUFF. So yeah I hope you guys pick this up when it comes out in June and maybe go to the beach with the sun shining and just ABSOLUTELY FALL IN LOVE. The perfect summer read!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    ellie

    This book is like a train ride. As in, you start at the beginning, and you’re introduced to these characters and their histories and you’re sort of overwhelmed with everything (just how you feel when you’re on a platform, getting on the train). Then you’re on the journey itself, and you see their paths unravel in front of you like you’re watching roads/trees/ towns pass by in the window. And you can’t do anything about the way the train just passes them by, so all you can really do is sit back a This book is like a train ride. As in, you start at the beginning, and you’re introduced to these characters and their histories and you’re sort of overwhelmed with everything (just how you feel when you’re on a platform, getting on the train). Then you’re on the journey itself, and you see their paths unravel in front of you like you’re watching roads/trees/ towns pass by in the window. And you can’t do anything about the way the train just passes them by, so all you can really do is sit back and enjoy the ride. And this? This was a good train ride. it was hard to believe that outside, the world was moving as fast as it could. But in here—for now, at least—they were holding still. I *love* the characters - I think they were all written so well. Like, they talked like actual teenagers. I liked that each of them had their own mannerisms, and they all clicked, and it was so fun to read from. When you go into a summer contemporary talking about romance, you kind of expect these milestones of “Girl likes boy. Boy likes girl. They kiss at some point.” Etc. but I realized in the middle that this was a book about friendship, more than anything else. And I love books about friends. ”Can we stay here?” She held on to him as if he were the only thing keeping her in place. The only thing that could stop her from falling. “I want to stay here a bit longer.” It’s about the way you feel these unseen cords connecting you and your friends pulled taut when you’re all leaving each other to college at the end of summer. It’s about realizing that you can keep holding onto each other. How you can feel different but the same all at the same time. I really enjoyed the friendships. My one compliant is that the relationship drama got a bit too much sometimes - which is fair, but it just got repetitive and tiring. I’m kind of attached to Aubrey, but I think I could’ve 100% loved this if this was just Rae and Clara’s story. UGH. RAE WAS SO GOOD. I loved her and how shy sweet she was with her love and I love gay girls so much oh my god. They deserve ALL the love in the world. But I think Aubrey is a nice balance to have, and she’s not annoying despite the whole love triangle stuff, so that was good. She lowered her head and saw Clara leaning against a wall by the Eurostar check-in. And that’s when Rae’s heart—and her lungs and probably everything else inside her—started to collapse. For a moment, the station quieter. Even the air in her chest went still. I also wish we got more of Europe. There was a lot more descriptions of the places in Paris, I think. In Prague, they mention one location, and it’s mostly description of the photos Rae is taking. I just want more of Europe, okay. I don’t mean like, travel journal, but still. They went to Rome and it just felt like a backdrop for them to hang out rather than oh my god, it’s ROME. You know? Yeah. I might be biased because I just really love Europe. I definitely think this is the best European travel summer book I’ve read so far. The friendships were sweet and funny and heartwarming and it’s just a good book. When Aubrey thought about the trip, she imagined her whole life expanding. She imagined moving beyond the walls of her tiny room in London and beyond high school and beyond everything that had seemed so important when she was a kid. She saw herself on a train, watching the world become a rush of color outside her window. Feeling like everything she’d been waiting for was about to begin. But that didn’t mean she was ready.

  5. 3 out of 5

    Bee (Heart Full of Books)

    Any book that has a plot even remotely similar to ANY element of the 2011 Selena Gomez movie 'Monte Carlo', I'm going to read, no question. 'The Summer of Us' follows a group of five friends on the trip around Europe, and they're all dating the wrong person. Oops. I didn't care so much for the romances themselves, because they hinged on not being honest with each other about feelings, and I'm always like 'dude, just let him down easy, so you can all be happier in the long run!' What I was most i Any book that has a plot even remotely similar to ANY element of the 2011 Selena Gomez movie 'Monte Carlo', I'm going to read, no question. 'The Summer of Us' follows a group of five friends on the trip around Europe, and they're all dating the wrong person. Oops. I didn't care so much for the romances themselves, because they hinged on not being honest with each other about feelings, and I'm always like 'dude, just let him down easy, so you can all be happier in the long run!' What I was most interested in was the psychology that this book explored. Codependence is such a huge theme, and it's something that Maddie and I like to explore in our own writing, so I loved that it was getting more attention here too. It results in a lot of really complex feelings, that were explored so well in the end of this book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    4.5 stars! v cute and exactly what i needed 💕 ———————— apparently this is a sapphic travel romance??? sign me the fuck up

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dahlia

    This is not for people who are like "OMG the characters were so dramaaaaatic," but as I have no problem with that, I thought this book was lots of fun. Chemistry, travel, and gayness - I'm here for it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brianna

    I’m somewhere between 3.5 and 3.75 stars on this one but for review purposes I marked it as 3. I’m not sure how memorable I would say this book is and it was frustrating at times, but I can honestly say all the characters eventually grew on me and I think Vinesse captured the fragility of that leaving-before-college mindset with Europe as the backdrop. I just want to read all the travel books. All of them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hallie

    Thank you to The NOVL for a free review copy for promotional purposes. The Summer of Us is a whirlwind, travelogue adventure about 5 best friends and the trip that changes everything. Aubrey has always been a careful planner and a prepared student, but this European trip is testing her organizational and personal skills. Rae is spontaneous and determined to move on from high school but she’s hoping for a little summer romance with one of her friends before she starts college. Aubrey and Rae have Thank you to The NOVL for a free review copy for promotional purposes. The Summer of Us is a whirlwind, travelogue adventure about 5 best friends and the trip that changes everything. Aubrey has always been a careful planner and a prepared student, but this European trip is testing her organizational and personal skills. Rae is spontaneous and determined to move on from high school but she’s hoping for a little summer romance with one of her friends before she starts college. Aubrey and Rae have been best friends forever and now they’re off on a group vacation but can all the friendships survive the trip? The Summer of Us is a book about growing up. The plot focuses on lots of different relationships–friendships, parental relationships, and romances. My favorite duo was Aubrey and Rae. I loved seeing their friendship evolve throughout the story. This book really serves as a love letter to best friends and the ways they know us like no other. The Summer of Us is told from two perspectives. The book alternates between Aubrey and Rae’s points of view and each chapter picks up where the last left off. This method of storytelling successfully allows the reader to empathize with each main character and see the trip from their eyes. Both girls have very different experiences while on the trip. Both girls go into the trip expecting to have the best summer of their lives but things quickly go sour. Vinesse so perfectly captures what it’s like to graduate high school and feel like you’re growing apart from everyone you’ve known. Both Aubrey and Rae feel like their best friend just doesn’t get them anymore. They’re both afraid of what the future has in store and are unsure of if their friendship will make it through their college years. Aubrey has always known Rae’s every thought and whim but soon they’ll be separated. Rae makes decisions without consulting Aubrey and doesn’t include her in all the parts of her life like she used to. Rae feels like Aubrey is selfish and doesn’t want to know anything about Rae’s college plans in Australia. Each girl feels misunderstood and ignored. This book encapsulates that magical summer after graduating high school when everything feels so fragile, yet hopeful. Aubrey and Rae are both changing but don’t allow the other one any room to grow. This book’s strength lies in Vinesse’s ability to convey the complicated feelings that both friends have about leaving high school behind. You can feel Aubrey and Rae’s yearning for things to stay the same and wariness about the future throughout the book. Vinesse writes sad scenes about friendships fracturing but she also writes redeeming scenes of rediscovering why you were friends in the first place. This book is a triumphant story about loving your friends even as everything changes. The highlight of this book was the friendship between the two main characters but it also featured some memorable romantic scenes. Vinesse definitely used the setting of a European vacation to her advantage when writing the swoony romance scenes. Aubrey finds herself in a bit of a love triangle after kissing her boyfriend’s best friend before graduating and things only get more complicated when all three of them are on vacation together. Romance fans will love the “will they, won’t they” feel of Aubrey’s story and cheer her on to find her happy ending. Rae also has an adorable crush on the other person on the trip, Clara. Vinesse wrote adorable, starry, twinkling kissing scenes, for both Rae and Aubrey, that will totally make you melt. Contemporary readers will find a fun and light summer read between the pages of this book. It features a happy ever after for a lesbian teen couple, resolutions for the main conflicts, and provides a beautiful setting complete with some historical information. It has a lot of relationship drama and scenes of teen angst but it’s a pitch perfect read that teens will love!

  10. 5 out of 5

    dezzy

    4 stars. The Summer of Us was such a quick read for me; I read it in basically one day, haha. It's such a sweet, fluffy, heartwarming, yet emotional book, and I honestly enjoyed it a lot! Although it wasn't the most thought-provoking or "deep" book, I still loved it because I need to read fluffy and lighthearted contemporaries every once in a while. In The Summer of Us, five friends (Aubrey, Rae, Clara, Gabe, and Jonah) are traveling together across Europe, enjoying each other's company before th 4 stars. The Summer of Us was such a quick read for me; I read it in basically one day, haha. It's such a sweet, fluffy, heartwarming, yet emotional book, and I honestly enjoyed it a lot! Although it wasn't the most thought-provoking or "deep" book, I still loved it because I need to read fluffy and lighthearted contemporaries every once in a while. In The Summer of Us, five friends (Aubrey, Rae, Clara, Gabe, and Jonah) are traveling together across Europe, enjoying each other's company before they all go off to college on their own separate ways. However, this trip doesn't go as planned, and many unexpected things happen, which tests many of the characters' friendships and relationships. This book alternates between Aubrey and Rae's points of view, which I liked because I was able to see both sides of the situation. However, sometimes the shifts in perspectives seemed a bit abrupt. I really enjoyed how this book showed that although change is scary, change is okay and a normal part of life. Going off to college is definitely a drastic change, but it doesn't have to be scary (or bad) with your friends and family by your side. Also, I adore the friends-to-lovers trope and that is definitely part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much. It makes my heart so so happy when friends realize that their feelings for each other go so much deeper than friendship. The relationships in this book were so cute (for the most part)!! (view spoiler)[I really loved Rae and Clara's romance; they were so cute together and perfect for each other. I also really liked Aubrey and Gabe's relationship, but their slow-burn was honestly painful to read (in a good way, haha). They kissed like SO. MANY. times and yet, both of them still refused to acknowledge that they liked each other!! Agh, that was so frustrating LMAO. (hide spoiler)] The main reason this book wasn't a 5-star read for me is that some of the characters became annoying to me at times (cough, Aubrey), and I felt that the pacing was kind of slow at the beginning. Otherwise, I liked this book overall and I flew through it; it's a very fast read (which is great for me, since I can only read on the weekends nowadays due to school). If you love fluffy contemporary books about friendship, travel, love, and friends-to-lovers, this book is definitely for you! Representation: lesbian character, bi/pan character (never explicitly stated), f/f romance

  11. 5 out of 5

    Megan (YABookers)

    Disclaimer: I received this free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Aubrey has only two weeks left before she leaves for college so she decides to go on a trip around Europe with her friends – Gabe, Clara, Rae, and Jonah. Visting places such as Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Prague they plan to spend two weeks having the times of their lives before they all go their separate ways going to college and university across the world. When secrets are revealed, their carefree adven Disclaimer: I received this free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Aubrey has only two weeks left before she leaves for college so she decides to go on a trip around Europe with her friends – Gabe, Clara, Rae, and Jonah. Visting places such as Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Prague they plan to spend two weeks having the times of their lives before they all go their separate ways going to college and university across the world. When secrets are revealed, their carefree adventure turns into a complete disaster. The Summer of Us is legit the perfect summer read and I absolutely adored this. The Summer of Us is about friendship and growing up. It about how when you grow up your friendships change. I loved how it discussed co-dependence and how scary it can be to grow up and move away from everything and everyone you know. The Summer of Us main focus is the relationships while using European cities as a backdrop. I adored the relationships, they were well developed and complex. There was a love triangle between Gabe, Jonah, and Aubrey but it wasn’t a terrible one considering Jonah and Aubrey learned at the end that they didn’t really want to be together and I must admit Aubrey and Gabe were kinda cute. But, there was cheating involved which is always a dislike of mine but I guess it all worked out for the best. However, my favourite romance was between Clara and Rae and it was adorably cute. It was best friends to lovers and I loved how they both liked each other for so long but neither of them knew. Clara and Rae were easily the most developed characters as was their relationship. Normally, having so many characters can sometimes be a disadvantage, especially in a short contemporary romance but Cecilia Vinesse really manages to balance all these characters really well. Overall, The Summer of Us had some really great summer vibes with some really great group dynamics and some really great messages about preparing for the future. The Summer of Us is just an awesome and fun book that I highly recommend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Who Reads

    3 stars In some ways, this totally lived up to my expectations, while in others, it was a little lackluster. The star of the show for me was the character dynamics. During the first third, I was a little hesitant because it felt like everything was going to be botched up--the men would mansplain things and everything would just go terribly, horribly wrong--but it ended up actually being okay in the end. The way the characters worked with each other felt very realistic by the time the conclusion cam 3 stars In some ways, this totally lived up to my expectations, while in others, it was a little lackluster. The star of the show for me was the character dynamics. During the first third, I was a little hesitant because it felt like everything was going to be botched up--the men would mansplain things and everything would just go terribly, horribly wrong--but it ended up actually being okay in the end. The way the characters worked with each other felt very realistic by the time the conclusion came around, which is what I enjoyed the most. At first, it felt like Vinesse was drawing a line between the protagonists and antagonists--Jonah being the antagonist because of how he spends times with his friend Leah--and that everything would be very sided, but in the end, the lines blurred together really nicely and I definitely appreciated this. Everything is a little messy and a little real and in the end, the characters felt this way. I still did have reservations at the beginning and I do kind of wish Vinesse had resolved this a little because initially, the characters felt very type [insert type of choice] or very stereotypical. Aubrey is the mom who obsesses over planning, Rae is the queer one, Clara is the party girl, Gabe is the broody one, and Jonah is the straying boyfriend. Luckily, these stereotypes fall apart, but I wish I was given more confidence in the characters at the beginning. I think that part of this was because of how most of the characters' initial dynamics weren't really included, but more so mused over during the beginning of the novel. Aubrey and Gabe have this whole history together about theater and painting a set, but we never really see this particular part of their history in the novel, which made their characters less enjoyable at the beginning because the characters were doing things, but the reader had no connection established with them yet. I wish that Vinesse had gone a little more in depth with who the characters are in the beginning, maybe showing a few quirks or individual, non-stereotypical characteristics, which would have inspired more confidence in me. By the end of the book, I understood all the characters' agency and how they weren't just stereotypes of people embarking on a journey across Europe (especially Jonah--I liked how he changed from emotionally cheating antagonist to rational in Aubrey's mind). One of the things that I do wish was for more racial diversity. Although we've got a solid amount of queer characters (Rae and potentially Clara), I was under the impression that almost all the characters were white. Technically Gabe is Hispanic, but he's from Spain and so he's still very white. (Like how if you're a Hispanic from South America, you still technically have to check yourself as white for the College Board). In the same vein, I wished there was a little more on Europe. I mean, this is the time of their lives--they should be enjoying it and reveling in the pure Europe-ness of it all. I just wanted a little more from the more fluffy, cinematic portions of the book. Despite all of this, I did find The Summer of Us to be an easy read that comments on friendships as you go into college, which is a topic we definitely need more YA in. It's fun and flirty yet still grounded in friendship. (But it's also a misnomer and this should be called The Ten Days of Us ;)) Overall, I enjoyed this by the end and I think lovers of books like Love and Gelato and I See London, I See France will definitely enjoy The Summer of Us. The Summer of Us is expected to release on June 5th! You can preorder it now from any major bookseller, or buy it in stores on that day. Thank you so much to The NOVL and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me with this advance copy in exchange for an honest review! #LBYRPartner Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hollie (Hollieblog)

    When this came in the post, I felt a little giddy. Wrapped in a crisp world map with some string, and a fake boarding pass to Prague, was The Summer of Us, a serious yet exciting debut about the changing of friendships as you get older, told during one last summer trip through Europe. I went into this feeling excited about a contemporary on travel, not that they're hard to come by, but after just coming back from Prague and desperate go back out there again, I really felt like this book had come When this came in the post, I felt a little giddy. Wrapped in a crisp world map with some string, and a fake boarding pass to Prague, was The Summer of Us, a serious yet exciting debut about the changing of friendships as you get older, told during one last summer trip through Europe. I went into this feeling excited about a contemporary on travel, not that they're hard to come by, but after just coming back from Prague and desperate go back out there again, I really felt like this book had come to my doorstep at the right time. Changing friendships is not often talked about in YA. The strengthening of friendships, yes, the blossoming of new ones, of course. But the weakening and the ultimate separation of friendships isn't - but it's something we all experience, especially changing from one school to the next. I moved primary schools so often that I have no long lasting friendships from when I was a kid, and once I'd left for university, I found that I only stayed in contact with one person from high school. Even now, I can feel the threads breaking between university friends since graduating and coming back home. Aubrey and Rae's friendship may have worked during high school, but the change in personality, wants and needs, is evident during their trip through Europe, and it's the real crux of the story rather than getting excited over seeing a small part of the world. Yeah, we love a travel story, I love a travel story, but I'm liking this refreshing take on the subleties of friendships, and even the downside to some. If this were a travel story, I would hope it would have focused on it more. The characters barely leave their hotels and Air BnBs when staying in the cities and only two of them explore Rome. When they visit Paris, Amsterdam and Prague, I found that either the author didn't do too much research on the places or just didn't want the reader to be too interested in the places when we should be focusing on the characters. We were given cobbled streets and narrow alleys and 'churches' rather than names and specific places. Not really a nostalgia or even an inspirational trip for me. It could have been set anywhere. But like I said, it's still a nice backdrop for what the characters were going through, and I especially loved Aubrey's growth into independence and realising what she wants may not be exactly what she wants, but the influence of others. And of course, an F/F pairing thrown into the mix is everything you could want in YA story. The Summer of Us comes out in June, perfect for summer reading, but maybe not so much if you want ideas for where to travel.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stacey (prettybooks)

    The Summer of Us was the first book from my summer TBR. Aubrey has two weeks before she leaves for college. She and her best friend, Rae, have planned one last trip across Europe to explore famous museums, sip champagne in fancy restaurants, and eat as many croissants as possible. Continue reading this review over on Pretty Books. Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!

  15. 3 out of 5

    Larosenoire299

    I always dream of having a group of friends gallivant around the globe for a summer break like those in The summer of us. It would be so much fun that you won't forget. Well, it is summer and I’ve been in a contemporary mood as of late so I was excited to dive in this book. IT's a light-hearted and fluffy read. The characters felt real and relatable, the story was nolstagic, the cinematic portions of the book were vivid and fun. This story follows a group of five friends on the trip around Europ I always dream of having a group of friends gallivant around the globe for a summer break like those in The summer of us. It would be so much fun that you won't forget. Well, it is summer and I’ve been in a contemporary mood as of late so I was excited to dive in this book. IT's a light-hearted and fluffy read. The characters felt real and relatable, the story was nolstagic, the cinematic portions of the book were vivid and fun. This story follows a group of five friends on the trip around Europe before parting ways to enter college and not be able of going to hang out as frequently as they used to anymore. Therefore, they should enjoy the last trip they have together. This made me reflect on my own experience of graduating high school before entering college. I was both excited to lead a new life but also being scared of losing my friends. However, I've never have chances to share a trip like that with my friends. I felt this book captured that sentiment quite well. The Summer of Us is told in alternating close third person POVs of two best friends—Aubrey and Rae—as they embark on a backpacking trip across Europe with their other friends. This story is heartwarming, truthful and beautiful. “It’s about this group of friends who all go to school together when they’re kids, but then they get older, and they start leading these really different lives. But I think the point is supposed to be that they’re still connected in some way. Even when they don’t talk to each other for years. Even when they’re in completely different parts of the world.”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kath (Read Forevermore)

    An arc of this book was sent to me by Little Brown Young Readers in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I really enjoyed this book, even more than I expected! I practically flew through this book, which is quite a feat because I have found myself in an actual reading slump as of late. This book was a perfect mixture of cute, sweet, and heartbreaking. In this book I've learned some important messages, whether intentionally put there by the author or not, that no matter how An arc of this book was sent to me by Little Brown Young Readers in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I really enjoyed this book, even more than I expected! I practically flew through this book, which is quite a feat because I have found myself in an actual reading slump as of late. This book was a perfect mixture of cute, sweet, and heartbreaking. In this book I've learned some important messages, whether intentionally put there by the author or not, that no matter how much you plan/imagine certain things, they almost most likely won't turn our picture perfect as you planned. Sometimes that can be for the better, but it might be for the worst. But in the end, it's going to be okay. In this book, I found the characters to be so relatable. Although at times during the book I felt very annoyed with certain characters, they were so real, and flawed, that I just grew to love them all (okay...maybe not ALL). There were some aspects of this book that kept me giving five-stars and those are: - The character point-of-views were a bit hard to distinguish. The way it was transitioned made it hard for me to figure out which character it was, but it got better as the book went on. - Some of the character conflicts seemed to be resolved a lot quicker than it would be in reality. As much as I appreciated this at times, it kind of got annoying. - The ending was slightly too rushed. Overall, this book was just so amazing. The ending kind of had me getting a little teary eyed, but it was absolutely perfect! I totally recommend this book if you're a fan of contemporaries that involve friendships, growing up, and traveling.

  17. 3 out of 5

    Fran

    I wasn't a huge fan of the majority of the characters in this book which is why it took me so long to read it. They weren't bad people but they were all just complete stereotypes and I didn't care what happened to them, which is never good as a reader. Also I really didn't like Jonah. (view spoiler)[ He basically outed Rae and Clara as a couple (and no one even knew that Clara liked girls!) but he faced no consequences for this. Also I was surprised that none of the other characters even said an I wasn't a huge fan of the majority of the characters in this book which is why it took me so long to read it. They weren't bad people but they were all just complete stereotypes and I didn't care what happened to them, which is never good as a reader. Also I really didn't like Jonah. (view spoiler)[ He basically outed Rae and Clara as a couple (and no one even knew that Clara liked girls!) but he faced no consequences for this. Also I was surprised that none of the other characters even said anything like, 'oh Clara I didn't know you were into girls' seeing as everyone previously assumed she was straight. This wasn't the only time that characters' reactions were unrealistic - although Jonah ditched the others when he saw Aubrey and Gabe kissing, he ended up coming back a few days later and just being like 'lol hi guys I'm back, by the way I kissed Leah lol' and then the next day he pretty much didn't care that his best friend kissed his girlfriend. It just made Aubrey and Jonah's relationship seem so unrealistic - they'd been dating for nearly 3 years but it really didn't come across like that in the book. (hide spoiler)] I think another problem was that most of the interesting plot points happened before the actual book. It probably would've been more interesting if it was set during their senior year of high school instead of the summer afterwards. I did like Rae's line of 'Anywhere's got to be better than this heteronormative wonderland' though lol. However, another thing I didn't like about this book was the whole theme of everyone in a friendship group hooking up with each other. It just doesn't work in real life. The reason I'm still giving this book 3 stars though was because I thought the writing was good and I enjoyed parts of it. However, for the most part the book was anti-climactic and the ending was disappointing and it didn't really feel like a satisfying conclusion to me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    The Summer of Us is exactly what the title suggests. It is a story of “us” – a group of high school friends who have just finished school, and before they head off on their separate ways to different universities they have a summer holiday in Europe. Best friends, two of them have been planning this holiday since they were 10. Of course, the plans and expectations that you have when you are 10 are vastly different with the reality as young adults. Fractures appear within the group and relationsh The Summer of Us is exactly what the title suggests. It is a story of “us” – a group of high school friends who have just finished school, and before they head off on their separate ways to different universities they have a summer holiday in Europe. Best friends, two of them have been planning this holiday since they were 10. Of course, the plans and expectations that you have when you are 10 are vastly different with the reality as young adults. Fractures appear within the group and relationships are broken and new relationships strengthened over the course of this adventure. Told from different narrators we get to see how the action is unfolding from a variety of viewpoints. We also see that some of those characteristics in your friends that you have put up with at school can be fairly annoying when you are travelling together. This novel, in a fairly light-hearted manner, manages to convey all the feelings of what it is like to leave school and be on the cusp of a new future. That summer holiday after year 12 must surely be one of the most uncertain yet exciting periods of life. As these characters leave their childhood behind they begin to question the choices they have made in the past and the choices they will make for their future and whether their friendships can last the distance. Suitable for 15+ - alcohol use, non-graphic sexual scenes, LGBTQI themes, travel, Europe.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Natalia

    4 stars! I can say I actually enjoyed reading this book (more than I expected). I really love books with summer travelling themes so I decided to give it a try. It’s about 3 girls and 2 guys who decided to travel around Europe before college is gonna start. They visit Paris, Amsterdam, Prague or Florence, Rome, Barcelona… The story is actually about their friendship and love. I wish that Vinesse had gone a little more in depth with who the characters are in the beginning, maybe showing a few qui 4 stars! I can say I actually enjoyed reading this book (more than I expected). I really love books with summer travelling themes so I decided to give it a try. It’s about 3 girls and 2 guys who decided to travel around Europe before college is gonna start. They visit Paris, Amsterdam, Prague or Florence, Rome, Barcelona… The story is actually about their friendship and love. I wish that Vinesse had gone a little more in depth with who the characters are in the beginning, maybe showing a few quirks or individual, non-stereotypical characteristics, which would have inspired more confidence in me. And maybe there even could be a little more from Europe. About the cities, countries or some cultural differences. Sometimes it was a bit cheesy, but still it wasn’t bad and I could enjoy reading this book during my summer trip to Italy. So if you decide to try this book, I can recommend this to you as an easy summer YA read that you can take with you on a beach or on some holiday:-).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emmi Rose (emmirosereads)

    *Thank you to TheNovl for sending me an advanced copy of this book to read a review* Okay, first of all can I just point out how freaking gorgeous this cover is? It's so pretty and some of my favorite colors and I just love it. Okay, now on to the actual contents of this book, haha! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even more than I expected! I practically flew through it, despite working most of yesterday. It was cute, and sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time. Any good contemporary I feel *Thank you to TheNovl for sending me an advanced copy of this book to read a review* Okay, first of all can I just point out how freaking gorgeous this cover is? It's so pretty and some of my favorite colors and I just love it. Okay, now on to the actual contents of this book, haha! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even more than I expected! I practically flew through it, despite working most of yesterday. It was cute, and sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time. Any good contemporary I feel like can make me laugh, smile and cry all in the span of a few hundred pages. I very much appreciated and enjoyed the messages woven through out this novel, whether intentional or not. The message that no matter how much you plan, or worry or imagine certain things, they aren't always going to turn out the way you picture them. Sometimes in the worst way possible. And while the way it turns can be hard and heartbreaking and just plain crappy, in the end, it's going to be okay. Some way or another it'll be okay. Also just the clear reality and depiction that growing up is hard. Going away to college and becoming an adult and moving away from all of these things you've known for so long, is hard. It's not going to be picture perfect, there's going to be ups and downs but it'll be okay. These characters and these messages that I personally took from this novel made it so much more realistic and real. While I may have been annoyed with these characters sometimes, they're flawed and realistic and they screw up and I always appreciate that so much in stories. I loved all of these characters in someway or another and saw myself a little in each of them, but Aubrey I think was definitely my favorite character through out the entirety of the novel. I felt connected to, and she was the character I related to the most. My heart broke for all the crazy things that happened to her in this novel. I totally understand her panic for the future and things to come, excessive planning, and wanting everything to be perfect. As I read everything kind of falling apart about the trip and it not being what they expected I just felt for her. Clara is another one of my favorite characters in this novel for sure! She was funny and quirky and I loved reading her interactions throughout this novel. I could really relate to her as well in similar ways as I did with Aubrey. I really enjoyed the formatting of this book and the two POVs of Aubrey and Rae. I think reading from both of their eyes made this story so much better and we really get to know and understand both of them, especially when things start falling apart. We get to really understand where they both went right and wrong in their relationships. Though I do have to say that sometimes the transitions for one chapter to another or scene from another could get confusing, even with the date stamps at the top of the chapter. Sometimes it took me a little to figure out where and when we were, especially when certain characters were apart. Though that was a very minor thing and could totally be just me. I think the ending of The Summer of Us was almost perfect for this novel and really fit the rest of the story. I loved it, and definitely got a little teary eyed. Things were far from perfect for these characters and their relationships but they were there, together and I just think that was beautiful. I do definitely agree that I would have loved to see an epilogue or just a little section after where they've all gone away to college and just seeing there life and where they were at, how ever long after the novel. Other than that though I think it was perfect! So overall I think this was such a special book and I very much enjoyed it! I would totally recommend this novel if you're a big fan of contemporaries about traveling and friendship.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Elizabeth (BookishConnoisseur)

    Thank you so much to The Novl for sending me an ARC of The Summer of Us to review!

  22. 3 out of 5

    Trisha

    Enjoyed this travelogue, YA romance friendship story a lot,

  23. 3 out of 5

    Pauline

    I really related to this book. Full review upon release

  24. 5 out of 5

    no

    sapphic books with summer of in the title part 3

  25. 3 out of 5

    Arrow Jameson

    3/10 OR 2/5 STARS Okay, so here’s the thing: this book had huge potential. There were so many things that could’ve gone right in this book, but the problem? None of them did. By a mile and a half, this was the most disappointing read of this year for me. For a little bit of background, I picked up this book solely based on it’s amazing cover and added it to my TBR. Soon enough, I saw that the entire world of bookstagram was reading it, and it was one of the hottest (Pun? Pun.) books of summer. To 3/10 OR 2/5 STARS Okay, so here’s the thing: this book had huge potential. There were so many things that could’ve gone right in this book, but the problem? None of them did. By a mile and a half, this was the most disappointing read of this year for me. For a little bit of background, I picked up this book solely based on it’s amazing cover and added it to my TBR. Soon enough, I saw that the entire world of bookstagram was reading it, and it was one of the hottest (Pun? Pun.) books of summer. To say I was excited to dive into this would be an understatement. And the disappointment! This wasn’t a DNF, granted, but it was more of a let-down than any of the DNFs I’ve had this year. To start with, there were five friends going on a road trip to some of the prominent cities in Europe. Sounds exciting! I was looking forward to some super cool friendship moments, maybe a hint of romance here and there, and just a great road trip. But none of that happened. There was so much scope for there to be an extraordinary dynamic among the friends, but there was none. Literally, none. I liked Aubrey quite a bit; her character was relatable for me personally in some ways, and I took to most of her viewpoints and the way she reacted in multiple situations — it was easy for me to put myself in her shoes. The story is told from two points of view, and while Aubrey is one, the other is her best friend Rae. Throughout the book though, I seriously questioned the validity of the term “best-friend”. Rae was simply annoying in so many ways. I was shocked at how easily she pushed Aubrey aside to satisfy her romantic cravings and crushes! There were so many moments when I just wanted to push her into a wall. As for the other three, Gabe was okay, Jonah was pretty good apart from the obvious reasons that Vinesse has put in to make readers dislike him a bit, and Clara was . . . controversial. I don’t know how I feel about Clara. She was cool and wild and free-spirited, but she knew there were imbalances in the group dynamic and she just pushed it away, leaving it unaddressed. And she’s supposed to be the glue of the group. I didn’t like the two main ships at all; Gabe and Aubrey’s relationship had no foundation, and Clara and Rae just seemed forced. And I never speak against LGBT+ ships, so now you know how terrible I found it in that aspect. I think the book basically has points because I wanted to stick around till the end just to see how Aubrey turned out (she was the only character I liked in the whole book) and it wasn’t so bad that I had to put it down as a DNF.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Burns

    The Summer of Us is a YA contemporary about a group of friends who go travelling around Europe together for ten days before heading their separate ways to university. Rae and Aubrey have been planning this trip since they first met as kids, but back then they didn’t know they’d be joined by Aubrey’s boyfriend Jonah, the guy she kissed (Gabe), and the girl Rae has a huge secret crush on (Clara), which all adds up to a lot of tension. A lot can happen in ten days. Aubrey is the organised one of th The Summer of Us is a YA contemporary about a group of friends who go travelling around Europe together for ten days before heading their separate ways to university. Rae and Aubrey have been planning this trip since they first met as kids, but back then they didn’t know they’d be joined by Aubrey’s boyfriend Jonah, the guy she kissed (Gabe), and the girl Rae has a huge secret crush on (Clara), which all adds up to a lot of tension. A lot can happen in ten days. Aubrey is the organised one of the group. She’s planned everything to the minute details; she’s a list-maker who needs to feel like she is in control of her life. She is anxious about what’s going to happen after this trip, because everything is going to change and she’s not sure she is ready for it. But instead of dealing with these feelings, Aubrey is throwing everything she has into planning the most organised trip to Europe ever. Rae is her opposite. She likes to take things a little more slowly than Aubrey, to plan them a little less strictly. She’s disorganised (the morning of the trip we see her still trying to decide what to pack), sarcastic and doesn’t do mornings well. Rae is preparing to move to Australia. She’s keen to reinvent herself out there. She’s also secretly in love with Clara, but she doesn’t know how she can keep this a secret when Clara is on the trip too. Things get tense between Aubrey and Rae as each of them start to confront their fears about the future. Aubrey also starts to face up to the problems in her seemingly-perfect relationship with Jonah, and the fact that she and Gabe kissed. As she becomes more and more entagled in her issues, Rae accuses her of making the trip all about her and they have the mother of all arguments. Both have tricky relationships to deal with too. Jonah might not be as perfect as he seems and Gabe is avoiding Aubrey although clearly still has feelings for her. Rae and Clara are discovering that they might both be feeling something for each other, and honestly, their budding romance was so beautifully written and perfect. This book gave me so many nostalgic feelings for that time between the end of school and moving on to university, where you don’t know who you’re going to be and you’re facing up to moving on from the friends who have been your life for the last few years. It is tense and exciting, and we get to see all kinds of takes on this issue from the different characters. The Summer of Us is a great summery read about young love, friendship and what happens to it when you have to start growing up.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jena

    Thank you Little Brown Young Readers and The Novl #lbyrpartner for sending me a copy to read and review!!! “She realized that these were the things she was worried about forgetting — these small familiar pieces of her old life. These fragments of things she would never get back again.” Aubrey and Rae have been planning this trip around Europe since sixth grade. Along with their friends, Clara, Jonah, and Gabe, they are going to drink champagne, eat croissants, and tour every museum they can. Nothi Thank you Little Brown Young Readers and The Novl #lbyrpartner for sending me a copy to read and review!!! “She realized that these were the things she was worried about forgetting — these small familiar pieces of her old life. These fragments of things she would never get back again.” Aubrey and Rae have been planning this trip around Europe since sixth grade. Along with their friends, Clara, Jonah, and Gabe, they are going to drink champagne, eat croissants, and tour every museum they can. Nothing is going to get in the way of this perfect goodbye to High School. Not the fact that Aubrey somehow accidentally kissed Gabe three weeks ago. Or that Gabe happens to be Jonah’s best friend. Or that Jonah also happens to be Aubrey’s boyfriend. Not the fact that Rae has to only make it through the trip without revealing her biggest secret. That she’s in love with very straight Clara. Not the fact that all of them are pushing aside their fears of going to college. Colleges all over the world. Where their friendship may drift away into nothingness. But the more they travel, the more these secrets surface. Instead of carefree and full of fond memories, Aubrey and Rae are forced to examine their friendships, both with the friends they’re traveling with, and each other. “No one else said anything. They all just watched one another like they were trying to figure out how they’d gotten here.” This book is a funny and charming coming of age novel. At the beginning, all of the characters feel fairly stereotypical. Aubrey is the worrier. Planning every detail of the trip rather than being aware and present in each moment. Terrified of the unknown. Rae is the more scattered friend. Wild and free and utterly without fear. Willing to move across the globe on a whim. Even Clara, Jonah, and Gabe feel like they’re in nice little boxes, though we only get narration from Aubrey and Rae, so they are the most defined of the group. However, like life, as the trip begins to unravel from the picture perfect trip Aubrey planned, the characters also begin to show more dimension and depth. Which I think makes this a perfect story for teenagers who are themselves facing the unknown. A big lesson is that people sometimes aren’t who we want them to be, or who we think they are. “It was hard to believe that outside, the world was moving as fast as it could. Because in here–for now, at least–they were holding still.” The journey and growth that each character goes on is very satisfying and feels very real. They all have honest reactions to the things their friends are keeping from each other, and they all end the trip very different people than when they began. All of which feels very true to life. There is some drama, and angst, it is adolescence we’re dealing with after all, but it all feels the way kids their age would react to things. If anything, Vinesse does a good job showing their emotional range, and they tend to land on the more mature side of things. Which will makes the book appealing to an older YA reader as well. We’ve all been at crossroads in our lives. In fact, we face them at multiple points throughout our lives. Transitioning from High School to college is such a terrifying time. We wonder if we’ve made the right choice. What the future holds. If everything will change so much that we won’t even recognize our lives anymore. We’re afraid of what that change means. If that means we lose more than we gain. Aubrey and Rae capture all of that adolescent angst so perfectly in such different spectrums. They show us a very broad range of these fears, and hopes, and dreams. In a short time, they have to face decisions and consequences that nearly all teenagers go through on some level. They show us that friendships and relationships always change. But that doesn’t mean they end. “And Rae would say that she felt exactly the same and completely different. There was no other way to describe it.” The Summer Of Us is a cute contemporary that is perfect for summer reading. It will give you all the feels, and I loved the LGBTQ representation in Rae. It is light but emotional, fast but satisfying. It’s the perfect companion for poolside reading or to take to the beach. I really think it will appeal to teens in High School, or making that transition to college. It’s ideal for anyone who enjoys coming of age stories with a lot of character growth.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joya

    First full review of the year, how exciting! I received an early copy of this book and let me tell you it was amazing. It comes out in June of 2018 and I highly recommend it to anyone that is a fan of contemporary ya and looking for a lighthearted read that does talk about the hard parts of growing up. Now let us get into the review. The Characters Aubrey: I don't mean to be that person, but Aubrey reminded me a lot of myself. I'm not exactly sure why, but she did and I'm unsure whether or not First full review of the year, how exciting! I received an early copy of this book and let me tell you it was amazing. It comes out in June of 2018 and I highly recommend it to anyone that is a fan of contemporary ya and looking for a lighthearted read that does talk about the hard parts of growing up. Now let us get into the review. The Characters Aubrey: I don't mean to be that person, but Aubrey reminded me a lot of myself. I'm not exactly sure why, but she did and I'm unsure whether or not that it made the book more enjoyable for me or not. Now Aubrey, she certainly had her flaws, as do all of us, but overall, her character was very well developed and was still able to develop more throughout the book. We don't all start out as perfect, and it was shown really well in The Summer of Us in not only Aubrey, but the other characters as well. Rae: Now Rae...she reminded me a lot of my best friend. She is such a strong character, but she still has emotions. Throughout the book, Rae became a stronger and stronger character. She made some choices that--while maybe not the best of decisions--only helped her grow as a character and as a person. Carla:She was just a great character, honestly. She almost seemed a little like the comedic relief of the book and was just overall a really good character. There isn't much more to be said besides that. Gabe: Gabe. Sweet. Sweet. Totally relatable Gabe. Along with Aubrey *giggle*, Gabe was a character I could relate to very well. There is one quote that is said about him that is me in a nutshell. I would share it, but I'm not sure I'm allowed to quote an unfinished copy of the book. Anyways, Gabe is an introvert that would much rather listen to music than socialize, but hes still not completely closed off to the world. If I'm going to be honest, Gabe was most likely my favorite character in this book, but I'm still not sure. Jonah: Oh Jonah. Now, I didn't hate Jonah, not at all. He just wasn't my favorite person. He honestly reminded me a lot of someone that I used to know and he was a well written character that had a huge role in the story, but at the same time, probably and the smallest role of all the main characters. Let's think...there was Leah. Honestly didn't like her one bit, as a person, not as a character--if that makes sense. Leah was a good character that was just a witch and I didn't like her. There was Lucy-Rae's mum. We don;t see a whole lot of Lucy, but from what I read, she was a good character overall. Synopsis The Plot: I really enjoyed the plot. I probably say that a lot, but I honestly really enjoyed it. It made me want to travel Europe with my best friends, ironically. It was actually the first book that I have read that kind of follows thins kind of plot, and I really, truly enjoyed it. The Ending: I enjoyed the ending. I do think it was a little rushed, but it was great nonetheless. I wish there was maybe a little bit more to the ending, where it shares a little of what happens after the trip all over Europe, but maybe we can get a novella about it. What I Loved: The characters, the plot, the ability to relate to the characters. The fact that all the characters are theater geeks, I mean--ME TOO. The writing was great, and so was the character development. I loved that I felt like I was almost on the trip with them. What I Didn't Love: I didn't really dislike anything, but I think that the ending could have been a little less rushed. As well as with the conflicts between characters, they seems to be resolved faster than I would think they would be in real life, but at the same time, they aren't. It really just depends in the people involved. Final Thoughts: I really loved The Summer of Us. I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up being one of my favorite books of 2018, but at the moment, it is probably to soon to tell since it is only February. Final Rating: I think I'm going to have to rate The Summer of Us a 4.85/5 stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I really hate writing one star reviews. For the majority of this book, I felt that it could conceivably be a two-star read...until I got to this gem. "And in the center of it all was the Duomo, a cathedral with a spherical, rust-colored top, like a sun caught in perpetual daybreak. It was pretty. But also boring." Having recently visited the Duomo myself, I can vouch for it being anything other than boring. It's a medieval/ renaissance cathedral built in red, green and white marble, covered with f I really hate writing one star reviews. For the majority of this book, I felt that it could conceivably be a two-star read...until I got to this gem. "And in the center of it all was the Duomo, a cathedral with a spherical, rust-colored top, like a sun caught in perpetual daybreak. It was pretty. But also boring." Having recently visited the Duomo myself, I can vouch for it being anything other than boring. It's a medieval/ renaissance cathedral built in red, green and white marble, covered with frescoes, a giant dome, and doors that are more intricate than any of us could ever hope to see. I couldn't really bring myself to finish this book after that line, but I reached page 200, so I consider that a win. And though that line was ignorant and annoying, my problems with the book began well before. The novel centers around five friends on the brink of an uncertain future: college. I'm in this exact position now; in a little more than a month, I'll be leaving all of my friends for a new life in an unfamiliar city. I thought (key word, thought) that such an aspect would appeal to me. Anyway, the characters are taking a last-hurrah type trip around Europe, and there's supposedly drama or intrigue that will ensue. I saw the cover, read the description, and thought that there was no way I wouldn't like this. Then I read the first chapter. "'Aubs,' Rae said, 'this is supposed to be fun. We're young and we're free and we get to travel around Europe for, like, nearly two weeks. You get to make out with your boyfriend in five major European cities.'" This quote captures the entire premise of the book: It's all about teenage luurrve. The settings play second-fiddle at best, but there really aren't in-depth descriptions. The descriptions all focus on Aubrey and Jonah, or Aubrey and Gabe, or Rae and Clara's distinctive relationships. There are no real surprises (at least not in the first 200 pages). None of the characters are particularly well fleshed-out, and they all feel like tropes I've seen a million times. Neurotic, organizational freak who's selfish with her best friend. Check. Douche-y boyfriend. Check. Token lesbian. Check. Broody hipster other boy. Check. Random girl with no personality who likes clothes. Check. I'm all for diversity in literature, but believe me, Rae (the lesbian character) is only her sexuality. She has no real personality outside of Clara. I also didn't find any attempts at humor funny. Even still, I could have overlooked dull characters if the settings had played a larger role. What I'll never understand is why the author would choose a series of exotic cities if she had no intention of really describing them. She spends more time in Paris talking about how the characters get drunk, rather than about the beauty of the city. And of course, the whole will-they-won't-they is kind of spoiled by the fact that the Aubrey and Gabe kissed three weeks before. That's not a spoiler: the author mentions it within the first chapter or two. It's apparent that Aubrey and Jonah are not going to stay together and that she'll end up with Gabe. Rae and Clara's relationship holds a little bit more will-they-won't-they tension, but it's mediocre at best. I don't care about the characters, so I don't particularly care about their relationship either. There are many things I could have overlooked, but the combination of things together was impossible for me to get past. I live in a small town, and I would give anything to be able to travel to five beautiful European cities, steeped with history and art and culture and delicious cuisines. I would not give anything to waste my time reading about bland characters.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daphne

    I'd rate more as 3.5 stars. I received an ARC from TheNovl for an honest review. As you can tell from the title, the book is a total summer read, as its premise is the European trip five friends take together at the end of their senior year in high school (right before starting college), that takes them to different cities in Europe, with five main stops over a course of 10 days. The book is set in two POVs- Aubrey and Rae, who are two best friends, and the plot includes 3 other friends- Jonah, I'd rate more as 3.5 stars. I received an ARC from TheNovl for an honest review. As you can tell from the title, the book is a total summer read, as its premise is the European trip five friends take together at the end of their senior year in high school (right before starting college), that takes them to different cities in Europe, with five main stops over a course of 10 days. The book is set in two POVs- Aubrey and Rae, who are two best friends, and the plot includes 3 other friends- Jonah, Gabe, and Clara. The book, even though it looks super fun and light-hearted at first glance, actually explores a lot about the change and uncertainties teenagers go through as they transition from the known and comfortable life and connections they've had throughout high school, to separation, growth, and the unknown in the form of college that involves them traveling to different parts of the world for this new chapter of their life. Questions of if friendships and relationships can survive such a huge change arise, and are explored through Rae and Aubrey's POVs. Rae and Aubrey are two very different characters. Aubrey is a type-A sort of person who needs planning, schedules, and set factors. She can be viewed as rigid and high maintenance at times. She faces confusion in her feelings in the form of complications between her boyfriend Jonah, and a kiss that occurred with Gabe 3 weeks before the start of the book. I wasn't sure what to do about that detail because it is cheating (a big negative for me), but that's part of what the book explores- friendships and relationships. I thought she was maybe overly suspicious about certain things in the beginning, and I didn't like her at much at first, but I grew to understand her more and empathized with her uncertainties and panic about change. I thought Jonah was okay at first, then I disliked him, but the final verdict is that he surprised me by the end of the book. I liked Rae a lot in the beginning, then not as much later with the way she treated Aubrey, especially considering she's her best friend. I appreciated that the author did include queer characters in this book, and I liked her and Clara's cute parts. I was frustrated at her attitude towards the past in preparation for Australia, but I liked her realization by the end. I was just annoyed with her actions toward Clara vs how she treated Aubrey though. Gabe played more as a part in Aubrey's character arc, but he seemed sweet when he wasn't being distant with the awkwardness in the beginning. I wouldn't say that this was a swoon-y book for me, but I enjoyed the parts on the different landscapes and landmarks in the cities mentioned, the look into group dynamics, and thoughts on change. However, I did feel that the different friendships could've been gone into more deeply, and that more details for the places and traveling could've been included for a more immersive experience. I appreciated that this was a pretty genuine look into the fears of high schoolers going to college, the imperfect ways of people and how they treat each other, and that things don't last forever and aren't meant to last forever, but that's okay because that's life and people change. On the other hand, you can also choose to make the most of the moment and see where things go. I'd recommend this book mainly for those in middle or high school or are just graduating high school.

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