Title: Wild Summer
Author: Suki Fleet
Page Count: 107
My Rating: 4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.
At fifteen, Christopher falls in love with a boy whose life he saves. But things go wrong and four years later, he wishes he'd acted differently. His conscience begins to haunt him and he knows he must find Summer again.
At seventeen, Summer pushes away the boy who saved him. Four years later, he is stuck in an abusive, damaging relationship. When he sees Christopher again, it's a sign he can't go on living like he is, but he can't begin to see a way out.
For either boy to stand a chance at happiness, they must find each other and obliterate the wrongs of their shared past.
The publisher gave me a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book is a stand alone companion to the author's other book, This is Not a Love Story, and while there were references to that book in Wild Summer that I did not get, overall it is quite possible to read and enjoy Wild Summer without reading This is Not a Love Story.
When I am reading a book for review, one of the most important things for me when I finish is whether I feel satisfied as a reader. Did I enjoy the book I just read? Did I ever forget that I was supposed to be reviewing it? If I answer yes to either of those questions I know the book will be at least four turtles, regardless of how exceptional the writing was or if there were grammatical errors in the text. In regard to Wild Summer I answered yes to both.
There is so much good in this book. Suki Fleet has found a new reader in me! Her characters are interesting and the plot is engaging. I found myself getting very emotionally involved in the story, which rarely happens with me, but when it does there are few things I like better as a reader.
Another thing that I loved about this story was that It featured people that are often underrepresented in literature. The publisher, Harmony Ink Press, is dedicated to publishing stories with dynamic, LGBT main characters, and Fleet further adds diversity by having characters in the deaf/mute community as well. I also loved how the story wasn't ABOUT the main character, Chris, being gay and deaf. Those two things played into his life where they obviously would (and I thought it was really cool how Fleet portrayed lip-reading and signing) but they weren't the main focus. Not that I would have minded if the story had been about either of those things specifically. But I think an important aspect of bringing diversity into literature and YA especially is not just saying, "I wrote a story about a character whose life is different than many people's" but saying, "I wrote a story where the main character happens to live differently than most people." I am not saying at all that it is a bad thing to write a story about a member of the LGBT community and have the story be about the struggle of their coming out. Or a story about a deaf person that focuses on how they communicate in a world that uses sound so much of the time. Those are compelling, enlightening, and important stories, but they are not the only stories that people from the LGBT, deaf, insert-minority/underrepresented - group - here communities have to tell, and I am thrilled that Suki Fleet gets and represents that.
The only complaint I really had while reading the book was that there were times when I found things worded in a confusing way. I found myself rereading passages at times to figure out what was going on. This was especially true with the pronouns. Because many do the characters are male, there would be passages where Fleet said "he" and I was confused about which "he" she meant.
I highly recommend Wild Summer. Fleet is a terrific writer who is able to bring to life complex characters and leave her readers wanting more. Needless to say I have already added This is Not a Love Story to my to-read list. I'm not ready to let these characters go.
Wild Summer on Amazon