by Hannah Moskowitz
What’s there to say that hasn’t already been said? I’ve read dozens and dozens of reviews for this book, and it’s been flip-flopping on and off my wishlist... but after this awesome one from In The Good Books, I was like… I think I need to read this.
Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?
Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive....
My Expectations: Somewhere in the middle, I wasn't sure if I would be in the love or not-love camp :P
Delivery: Exceeded my expectations, I loved so many aspects of it
Put-down-ability: low! 2.5/10
I’ll start with things that surprised me, and these things were stuff I expected to be bothered by and wasn’t. Camus. Many reviews mention how the Camus is overdone, pretentious, and unrealistic (ouch? It’s not as harsh as it seems.) but I enjoyed it. Sure, Chase quoting long passages word for word made me skeptical, but I didn’t feel too overwhelmed by its inclusion. I liked how Chase, Noah, and Melinda had Camus in common and it wasn’t Chase-exclusive. Also, the love triangle (of serious doom). I mean a girl and two brothers and sex and stuff (not together!)? I admit, I expected to hate it and be completely put off, but I felt that Moskowitz* used it as a very complex plot device** to advance the changing dynamics between the brothers as opposed to “hey, this sounds edgy, throw it in!”
Because. This is a book about family and I LOVE books about family. They’re right up there with grief books, and when books contain both I’m a happy camper. And the family—they are brilliant. The mom, dad, Noah, Chase, Claudia, Gideon, Newbaby… brilliant. The balance, the distinct personalities, the specific relationships, the brunettes and blonds, the hardships and the missing and the heartbreak, it was the family that made me love the book. The relationship between Chase and Noah is one of the most authentic ones, I think just the way Chase looked up to Noah and how his views changed with each summer just felt so real and relatable. My only minor complaint is that while I absolutely adore Claudia, I never felt she reflected her age, but that might be just me. Can I give Gideon a hug? PLEASE?
You know what? I really wanted this book to make me cry, I could tell something major was going to happen and I was expecting tears but… I guess the tears were on standby. I think there’s an initial shocker and it’s almost like a fade-to-black sex scene and then fast-forward to one shitty year later. Unlike most, I didn’t like the last summer as much as the others. I didn’t feel the conviction and raw realness as much as I did with the other summers, I thought actions and reflections felt, at times, forced. But I did feel a lot more emotionally affected, if that makes sense; Moskowitz’s writing style was one that makes me feel, but it didn’t always feel real.
Aah, the writing! I adored it, and I adored Chase because of it. The author captured his voice extremely well, especially the dialogue because the conversations between the siblings made up many of my favourite parts, whether it was playful banter or serious moments. I'd want to quote it all day. And my last comment will be on Noah, which, despite his occasional d-baggery, I really loved. He's complex and poignant, thoughtful, sometimes selfish, and memorable.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: Contemp fans, people looking for a well done Male POV, summer-but-emotional read
8.8/10 - because it was So. Good. One of the best books I've read lately about the bonds of family-- which really is my favourite aspect of the book. The writing is extremely good and Chase's voice felt authentic. I loved reading about the relationships between Chase and his family and the idea of the four summers at the same beach house. You're right, Ms Moskowitz, Claudia's the hero in this one, but wouldn't be the same without each of the characters.
*epic last name
**and not a lame, trite one thank gosh
author blog / twitter / formspring (which I stalk haha)