Review: Two Summers – Aimee Friedman

Review: Two Summers – Aimee FriedmanTwo Summers by Aimee Friedman
Published by Point
Published: April 26th 2016
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four-half-stars

ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . .

ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . .

When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds. In one, she travels to France, where she’s dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue — but nothing is as it seems.

In both summers, she will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. What may break her, though, is a terrible family secret, one she can't hide from anywhere. In the end, it may just be the truth she needs the most.

From New York Times bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.

I’m a parallel life book fanatic. I mean they have to be some of my favorite topics in the YA genre. I love the possibility of seeing the what-ifs because even if we don’t admit it we all sometimes think ‘what-if I decided to ____ instead of ____’. It’s human nature to wonder so as a reader seeing these outcomes enthralls me. Which brings me to Two Summers, a book by Aimee Friedman that I happened to have fall into my lap by chance, and a book that added even more flame to my love of all things parallel life.

Two Summers is about Summer, a girl on her way to France to spend the summer with her father and leave her small town in New York behind her. When Summer is about to board the plane she receives a phone call that splits in life in two. In one world she stays in her home town and in the other she flys to France as planned. As Summer navigates her life in both settings she is faced with some realities she didn’t expect and a secret that is destined to be exposed no matter the what-ifs.

The thing about parallel life books is they can go epically bad if the author is not careful. One small thing that goes unnoticed can lead to confusion and the reader not able to follow what is happening. Aimee Friedman made sure that was not the case with Two Summers. There was something that she need that made both lives separate and on their own but she wove a thread through them that still made them connected in a subtle but important way. I never once felt like I was taken out of the story when the life changed and it all flowed really seamlessly which is huge when writing this kind of book. Bravo to Aimee for nailing it. Also I love the almost double meaning of the title. I found that a really clever play on words and meanings.

Well half the book takes place in France so um yeah, total winner right there in terms of backdrop. You can’t really miss when you have France as a guest star. Between the food (I’m looking at you Aimee for my new found love again of Pain au Chocolat), museums, artistry and descriptions I was completely in love with this setting. And I admit, I kind of loved Summer’s hometown too. It was one of those small quaint places where Summer had lived her whole life but one summer changed everything for her. Instead of living in the bubble she found herself in she found places she never knew existed and opened her eyes to the possibility of more. (Side note: the use of the camera in both lives was genius to get all of this across.)

Truthfully, this book didn’t get 5 stars because of Summer. I actually really liked her, but she read a little old for 16 and because of that I personally couldn’t give it all the stars. If it wasn’t mentioned that she was turning 16 I would have thought her to be 18. That aside, I did love the changes and growth of the character in both stories. She had a lot come to light in a short period of time but I really liked the way she handled things. I also really loved the romance aspect. It’s hard with a parallel because you can sometimes love boy boys. But for me I had a favorite from the beginning. What I didn’t like was Summer’s BFF Ruby. I got what she was saying. I understood her point, but I did not like how she did what she did. That to me was not cool. But all in all the characters in both France and New York really drove the story.

If you are a fan of Lauren Miller’s book Parallel, you will love Two Summers. That’s what I can compare it to and if you know me you know that is huge as I am a big fan of Lauren Miller. Two Summers was just really smartly done. I didn’t have any questions at the end. I didn’t question which timeline was the ‘real’ timeline. Honestly I didn’t want to know. And the epilogue, yes, the epilogue, tied every part of the story together in the best of ways. It was the perfecting ending for a parallel life book. Basically read it. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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4 Comments

  1. As we’ve discussed before, I couldn’t agree with you more. This book was so fun and I’m so excited that it will be out this month and I’ll have more people to talk to about it! I agree that the writing and plotting were handled very well here. I have to admit that I didn’t think Summer read older than sixteen–I thought her age was spot on and authentically portrayed. Regardless, this is one of my favorites as well so I’m happy to see it getting some love today 🙂

  2. I found Two Summers so incredibly adorable! I thought Friedman handled the two parallel lives Summer was living out extremely well, and I liked seeing the similarities between them. All in all, I found it to be a pretty good read!

  3. I’m so excited you enjoyed this one so much, as I just received an ARC of it and now can’t wait to get started. I was a little wary of the parallel worlds theme (as you said, it can go terribly wrong) but I’m glad to see it’s executed well! Great review!

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