December 23, 2015

Review: The Summertime Girls by Laura Hankin

The Summertime Girls by Laura Hankin
Publication date: Aug. 4, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Category: (New) Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased
Summary: Ally Morris and Beth Abbott were beyond inseparable. From the very first time they met, the girls knew they’d found a once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But sometimes, life can’t help but get in the way. As time goes by, disappointments and petty resentments begin to alter what they once thought was forever. Ally’s boho lifestyle leaves her drowning in confusion and cheap whisky, while a terrible secret threatens to shatter Beth’s carefully controlled world. By the time they need each other most, Ally and Beth are nearly strangers to each other. When a family crisis prompts Beth to contact Ally for help out of the blue, the girls reunite in Maine. But the distance between them is overwhelming. To save their friendship, Ally and Beth will have to confront painful moments in their past and redefine who they are—before their incredible connection fades away for good. (greads.com)

The Good
What’s great about The Summertime Girls is that if you’ve ever had a best friend, you’ll understand what they’re going through. It’s a story that will make you think — yes I’ve been there or I know how she feels. Ally Morris and Beth Abbott have been best friends since they were ten years old. They’re opposites in almost every way imaginable but in spite of that, they’ve remained the best of friends. There’s a lifetime of memories between them. But then life happens. They’re on opposite sites of the world right now. Ally in New York trying to make it as a musician but mostly drowning in alcohol and meaningless flings. Whereas Beth is off in Haiti, trying to save the world but harboring deep-seeded pain of her own. There’s a distance that Ally doesn’t understand at all (we meet her first!) but then suddenly Beth contacts her asking if she’d want to go with her to Maine, a place where they used to spend every summer together. It’s exactly how you would picture a situation like this going. Awkward and tense but then moments of their beautiful connection would shine through and you’d understand why these two are best friends.

Each girl is facing and sorting through their own inner demons. Ally is pretty up front about hers from the onset but Beth's remains a bit of a mystery at first until it's slowly revealed. I think what's remarkable here is that their problems are vastly different. It's easy to think one seems "bigger" than the other and I loved that the author was throwing out this message that, pain is pain. And as friends, you have to try to be understanding and look at things from the other person's perspective. The heart of the book is really about forgiveness and these two women re-learning how to turn to each other. Even though the conflict is kind of a quiet one, it's one that will resonate. Sometimes it’s those little things that make the hugest impact and that shows here. But The Summertime Girls also shows that no one person or friendship is perfect and we all make mistakes.

(Minor) Reservations
I do have a couple minor ones. Mostly that I wish that the book was longer. I think if the two characters and even the situations they each found themselves in had been fleshed out more and given additional pages, it would’ve allowed me to connect more deeply (especially since I can totally relate to what they're going through!). Like there's romance in the book for each girl, albeit one is taking place present day and one is more about lamenting a break-up. With the former, I was all for their chemistry but it did seem slightly rushed. With the latter, I didn't quite understand what made this guy have such a huge impact.

Do I recommend?
In spite of wanting more, I still think it’s a great book about the importance of female friendship and forgiveness.

1 comment:

  1. I do love a novel about friendship! And this kind of complicated friendship, especially the part where they've been living in different places for so long, is something I think I'd find really easy to relate to!

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