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.
Rating: 4 Stars
Book Title: Two Summers
Author: Aimee Friedman
Release Date: April 26th 2016
Admittedly when I sat down to write this review I was still wavering between giving it a 3 star rating or 4. This book took me WEEKS to get through and I think it’s honestly what slowed down my reading this past month, because I forced myself to keep reading it before picking up anything else. And yet, it’s not a horrible book, so don’t stop reading my review just yet! I actually liked this book and I thought there were a lot of great things about it. In fact, there are really not too many negative things I can say about Two Summers by Aimee Friedman. But if you are expecting a fast read that will keep you turning the pages late into the night, this one is not for you.
“Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
Two Summers was INSIGHTFUL to the core. Growing up in Hudsonville with her mother as a teenager, Summer always thought she came from a broken family. Her parents divorced when she was about 10 years old and ever since, she grouped her family situation into the broken category. Her friendship with her best friend Ruby even felt stronger by this theme of brokenness, which Ruby reminded them of on more than one occasion. Her own parents were divorced as well, and it only served to strengthen their bond and give them more things in common as they got older.
Even though Summer always harbored some bad feelings towards her father, who left them for a glorious life as an artist in France, she also missed being with him. In one of her decisions, the decision to go to France and be with her father for the summer, Summer sees her break from school as being the ultimate dream-come-true. She envisions posting pictures of herself at cute French coffee shops on Instagram and spending her days browsing adorable boutiques or art galleries. She can’t wait to leave Hudsonville behind for at least a few months.
And then there’s her other decision: the decision to stay in Hudsonville after she answers a phone call from her father at the airport, right before she’s supposed to take off on her flight to France. He calls to tell her at the last minute that he doesn’t think she should come after all, that the timing isn’t right. For someone who’s been dreaming about this trip for months, Summer is crushed and she sees her summer go up in flames. After she returns to Hudsonville, Summer signs up for a photography course that her aunt teaches at a local college.
This idea of parallel universes, where one decision can lead you to an entirely new course of events, was interesting to read about in Two Summers. The book is split into separate parts, with each part being about her summer in France or in Hudsonville. By switching back and forth between Hudsonville and France, Friedman wrote this book in such a way that you can see what Summer’s life would have looked like had she gone on the trip or not. If there was ever a book to make you think twice about every decision you make, it’s this one.
What REALLY got me thinking when reading this book though, was how different Summer’s life was in each universe from making just one split second decision, but how her decisions ultimately led her to some of the same results in the end in both universes. I don’t want to yammer on about the whole concept of fate and destiny, but reading Two Summers makes me wonder if our choices really are our own, or if our destiny is predetermined for us. The ending of Two Summers in both universes led to some of the same factors for Summer herself, so it’s hard to see destiny not playing a role in our lives.
So what do you think? Are you a believer in destiny? And what about decisions? Do you really think one decision from another can lead to such vastly different outcomes? Or do you think it’s just a matter of perspective? I finished this book and I can’t stop thinking about all of this, which is why I think there’s something to be said about Two Summers by Aimee Friedman. It’s been a long time since I’ve pondered elements of my own life after finishing a YA novel! As a result, I couldn’t not bump my 3 star rating up to 4 for this one.