Monday, June 18, 2012

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

The Summer My Life Began
Shannon Greenland
Publisher: Speak
Released: May 10, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 250
Source: Cavalier House Books
Elizabeth Margaret--better known as Em--has always known what her life would contain: an internship at her father's firm, a degree from Harvard, and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is, it's not what she wants. So when she gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em learns that her family has some pretty significant secrets. And then there's Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can't resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels that for the first time ever, she is really living life on her own terms.
Privileged girl wants to break free from the life her parents have meticulously planned for her. Enter long lost family member who invites her for a visit, her uptight parents uncharacteristically agree, and girl realizes everything is not as it seems. Enter brooding boy, unlikely romance ensues, and girl magically gains confidence.

Cliche much?

I really wish I could post a longer, more thoughtful review of this book. However, my lack of enthusiasm for it has kept me from having much of an opinion. The plot was too predictable, the characters too flat. It was a quick, easy read that left me feeling unsatisfied. I thought there was a great opportunity to address a few serious issues, but the story sort of skirted around them instead. I honestly think I would rather fluff.

The romance factor was lukewarm at best, and the family dynamic was much too unrealistic. I also thought Em's rebellion was a bit of a joke. I didn't expect her to start bar-hopping and racking up on meaningless hook-ups, but I thought her fraternizing with "the help" was a bit G-rated. I felt like the target audience would be offended by the lack of maturity found within these pages.

This was, thankfully, a short, quick read that was interesting enough to finish. Unfortunately it was not enough to be very memorable, and I wouldn't be surprised it other readers felt the same.

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Penguin via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.

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