They say in every guy’s life there’s a girl he’ll never forget and a summer where it all began. Well, for me, 1999 is that summer, and Brooke Sommerfield is that girl. But that was nearly nine years ago. And what they don’t tell ya is that you’ll blink, and both the summer and the girl will be gone.
I have no idea where Brooke ended up. She disappeared that same summer I met her. And kind of like when you move something on a wall after it’s been there for a long time and everything around it is faded, that’s how I feel about Brooke. She wasn’t there very long, but when she left, everything around her memory sort of dimmed. That is until a letter postmarked the year she left mysteriously resurfaces. And call me crazy—everyone else has—but I have to find her. I have to know what became of the green-and-gray-eyed girl who stole my last perfect summer. I have to know if she believes in second chances—because I do—even if they do come with good-byes.
Upon reading the blurb for this book, I knew it was one I had to read as soon as I got the opportunity. Some of my favorite books are second chance romance stories that take my emotions for a spin and through the ups and downs of these characters’ lives, somehow finding their way back to each other again gets me every. single. time. So as much as I was expecting to love this one, I just couldn’t because the author employed a clichéd and unrealistic plotline that lead me to wonder just where the romantic connection was, and on top of that inserted multiple time gaps (not a fan of those) to substitute for the story. Perhaps those looking for an overly sweet and cheesy romance will enjoy this book, but as a reader who loves romances where both the ‘sweet & sour’ sides of love are portrayed in order to make the story believable, this book was a letdown.
First love, first crush, first anything usually leaves a powerful and lasting impression and that’s the case for the hero River Asher. At 13 years old, he’s sure he just met the girl of his dreams and the one who he’ll eventually marry. The same is true for the heroine Brooke Sommerfield, and in that one unforgettable summer, they spend those months together baling hay and hanging out at the creek. But when summer ends and Brooke’s family is moving, she and River tearfully say goodbye, promising to write each other and eventually meet up one day. Unfortunately, life gets in the way, letters are lost, and both move on.
The story is told entirely from River’s POV and so as the years pass, he seems to live like any normal teenager but all along, he’s carried memories of Brooke with him.
I think I would’ve been more invested in the story if not for two things: the age at which both characters professed their ‘love’ and the time gaps that gave me whiplash. I’m more of a cynical romantic and so when you have two thirteen year olds professing their love for each other after a day, talking about marriage, etc…it really makes me grimace. They didn’t talk or act like thirteen year olds, and if the author hadn’t told me their ages from the beginning, I would’ve guessed that they were both in their mid-twenties. Still, the writing was exquisite and while I wasn’t buying the love, I could still overlook the cheese and let myself be carried away by the torrent of emotions evoked from her writing.
Which brings me to #2 – time gaps.
I’m really not a fan of them. One or two is fine but when almost every chapter is ‘___ months/years later’ I want to hurl myself off a cliff. Where was the story?? The book spans 9 years but to me it honestly felt like 1. Just because a time gap is smacked at the beginning of a chapter doesn’t convince me that time has passed. The story does that. You know, events going on in these characters’ lives besides their longing for each other.
From beginning to end, this book was a big block of cheese but I admit, very well-written cheese and because the last 10% was 5 star worthy I rounded up to a 3 star rating.
This is definitely a book for hopeless romantics, dreamers, and any one just wanting a nice, sweet read with no real story. I like my stories to have an edge so unfortunately this wasn’t a winner in my book.
A copy of the book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3 stars!