March 4, 2014

Latest Read: The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

Here are the basics ...
The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry
Publication date: Mar. 4, 2014
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received from publisher via Netgalley (Thanks!)

Summary: Kate's dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she's still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he's a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all? (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The Summer I Found You alternates between Kate and Aidan, two people wanting to escape their current situations. Kate is blind-sided by her boyfriend's decision to end their relationship and it becomes another thing in her life she can't seem to understand or accept. The number one thing would be her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes a year ago. And while she doesn't set out to find a distraction from it all, she finds one in Aidan, her best friend's cousin recently home from a tour in Afghanistan which left him disabled and permanently out of the army. He's struggling with bad memories, his handicap, adapting and what the future now holds for him. He doesn't expect to be drawn to Kate and the way she doesn't tiptoe around him like everyone else does (which was my favorite thing about her!).

Between the two characters, I found Aidan to be the more compelling one. Even though he has the support of family around him and a great relationship with his mother, he can't help but feel lost. He's haunted by the past and afraid of the future. There was a huge story here to be told between his memories of Afghanistan and the new life he has to try and build for himself when he thought he'd be in the army forever. He's angry and scared and I wanted a much deeper look into all of that. I think his perspective alone could have carried the book while his romance with Kate could've been in the background instead.

Or maybe I wouldn't have minded the romance if I had actually liked Kate. As much as I wanted to, I just couldn't connect to her. Break-ups are hard and everyone has different reactions to them but a lot her actions were eyeroll-worthy. But what really pushed me over the edge was her lack of responsibility towards her diagnosis. Having diabetes (or any illness) sucks. I wouldn't want to give myself regular insulin shots, prick my fingers to check my blood sugar levels and constantly monitor my food either but this manages diabetes. The logical course of action would be follow these orders because listen, if I had to choose between daily shots or going into a coma? I'll take the daily shots, thank you very much. Kate's solution is to ignore her illness in the hopes it'll magically go away. Maybe I'm being naive but I have a hard time believing a supposedly intelligent girl would do this. And Kate doesn't want to people to know she has diabetes for fear they'll judge her. Seriously? I have a hard time following this train of thought too. Especially when she compares her situation to Aidan's, which is infinitely more difficult and life-altering.

Unfortunately, despite the dual point-of-views, Kate's story felt much more dominant and overly-dramaticized by her need to hide her diabetes from Aidan. What could've been a moving tale about a young man trying to assimilate back into society and unexpectedly meeting a girl who sees beyond his handicap, turned into a weak story about a self-absorbed teenager.

Do I recommend?: Even though there was a lot of potential here, I was really disappointed in the direction of the book and its characters. I think there are somewhat similar books out there that handle this kind of story much, much better.

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. Great review!

    I got this one for review too but I was sucked in by the Mortal Instruments series lol! I think I'm gonna start this one soon, I need a little break from Jace and Simon :P

    ReplyDelete
  2. I definitely agree with you! I wish that Aidan's story had been focused on more as well and ugh, Kate could be so annoying! I honestly just wanted to shake her and tell her to start taking her illness seriously! She's not only hurting herself when she slacks off and it bugs me so much to have to see her parents worry about her not taking good care of herself.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You know, your feelings about Kate are almost pretty much how I felt about her based on the book's synopsis. This is the reason that I don't think I can bring myself to read The Summer I Found You, honestly. But Aidan sounds like a great guy though, and his part of the story seems very compelling indeed!

    ReplyDelete