I really like reading books set in places I love. Two Summers fits the bill perfectly, as it weaves together parallel timelines – one set in New York and one set in France. While this novel and I got off to a shaky start, it definitely recovered from that. By the time I had turned the very last page, my feelings had done a complete turnaround.
Two Summers is about Summer Everett, and we follow her through two parallel timelines after she makes a split second decision at the start of the novel. In one timeline, she flies to France to visit her artist father, soak up the culture and have a Parisian adventure. In the other, she stays home in New York with her professor mother, winds up taking photography classes at the local university and experiencing some growing pains in her relationships.
What I really liked most about Two Summers is how the fact that parallel worlds exist is just that: a fact. It’s considered a given that it can be, and probably is, a reality to have any choice you make split your life into parallel timelines where you live out both. I actually preferred that we didn’t really delve into the science, and instead just lived out both alongside Summer. The two worlds are quite different from one another, but there are some major similarities that crop up in both. (It reminded me of how this novel was written, actually.) I really liked that, and was happy to just go with the flow.
I liked Summer well enough, though I didn’t feel she was particularly memorable as an individual. She was, to me, strongly defined by broad strokes – she liked photography, she wanted to see her painting – and by her relationships. It was, in fact, her relationships that really stayed with me when I was reading the story. From her rough patch with her best friend, to the delight of interactions with a cute guy, and her changing relationships with her parents, I thought Friedman portrayed them all really well.
Two Summers was, in the end, a novel I enjoyed a whole lot. It is really easy to read, and I finished it pretty quickly, so it’s a novel that would be perfect for a lazy afternoon or an early evening in bed. I definitely think there are certainly going to be a lot of people who enjoy this one as much as I did!
Did you and your childhood best friend ever wear BFF jewelry?
To be honest, I actually don't remember if my oldest best friends (who I never stayed in touch with, unfortunately) and I ever wore BFF jewelry! I never really got into those necklaces where there were two heart halves you split with a friend, nor did I think of wearing jewelry at all when I was much younger. I still don't now (though I love necklaces with charms that mean something to me).
Two Summers by Aimee Friedman
Publisher: Point | Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Source: ARC from ALA Midwinter (Thanks!)
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.