Saturday, May 2, 2015

Review | The Summers by Iva-Marie Palmer - with Audiobook Notes

The Summers by Iva-Marie Palmer
Publish Date: August 5, 2014

Published by Skyscape
Source: Book - Borrowed, Audiobook - Borrowed 
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon 


For Kate Sommers, there’s nothing that compares to summer at her family’s beach house on Cape Cod: the ocean breezes, the clam bakes, the boys. She and her three sisters seemed to have all their “firsts” over those long months—first job, first party, first crush. Kate’s first crush is her only crush—Ryan Landry, the boy next door, and her older sister Eliza’s on-again, off-again summer fling.

But it’s been three years since Kate and her sisters have spent a summer in Cape Cod. When their mom died, no one could imagine going back without her. Now eighteen, the whole Sommers family is headed to the Cape for Eliza’s wedding and Kate must find the strength to be there for her family.

When Kate spots Ryan, she realizes how much has changed since he last set eyes on her. She isn’t the gawky fifteen-year-old that she once was, and this could be the summer that Ryan finally takes notice. Eliza says she’s moved on, but Kate knows better than anyone that Ryan Landry isn’t the kind of guy you give up without a fight... 
 (Goodreads) 

The Summers by Iva-Marie Palmer

My Thoughts: I chose to read The Summers by Iva-Marie Palmer because I love summer romances and because I wanted something nice and easy to read + listen to while I'm reading a couple of lengthier, more difficult stories -- good choice, because it delivered. 

Kate Sommers has been coming to Cape Cod for summer vacation along with her sisters and parents for years...but this changes when her mother dies. After three years of not returning to their beach house, they do return for a purpose - Kate's sister is getting married and has chosen the beach as her venue. It's tough for them to return without their mother, but they each turn their grieving energies into an activity and push through while they plan for sister Eliza's wedding. Kate takes a job working for a published author while she also falls in love. But is this a summer romance? Or is this a romance that will last beyond summer vacation? 

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The Summers is never a heavy book despite the sadness in learning that Kate's mother has died - this is something we learn early, in the first chapter if I remember correctly. The sisters arrive at the beach house before their father (who is having a more difficult time with his grief) - they go in together and just...face the place, all of the memories, the fact that this year, she isn't coming the house with them. I did not feel sad; I felt uplifted by their sister relationship, because great ones are always attractive in stories. Another thing that these sisters face early-on is the condolences of friends and neighbors and people that they've known for ages - remember most of these people haven't seen them in about three years. These are the people with the serious we're-so-sorry faces and the ones that want to say something but never quite know what to say. I love that rather than avoid these times and people altogether, the sisters decide to go to a summer-kickoff party and deal with these moments all at once. 

It isn't long after their return that Kate has found an old crush madly re-ignited - Ryan Landry. Ryan is her older sister Eliza's past summer fling - she used to date Ryan during the summers, multiple summers, so he was always off-limits to Kate. But now Eliza is getting married, so certainly she shouldn't care if Kate likes Ryan, right? When Kate finds out that Ryan feels the same, they begin secretly dating - Kate doesn't want Eliza to find out right away. Ryan agrees for a while, and things go really well and the two have a great summer romance. Their secret is bound to come out soon enough...but how?

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Okay, so here is what I love: I love the sibling bonds between Kate and her sisters and between some of the other characters in the story. I love the way Kate and her sisters rally behind their father when he isn't as far along in his grieving process as they are - they understand his need to not be at their vacation home as much as they are - this is sweet. I love that there is an understanding that their mother has died but that this book isn't a grieving book - this is a summer romance and the book stays true to that while also keeping Kate's mom's memory alive and well throughout the story, never too heavy, never too sad. I love the romance between Kate and Ryan - it feels true to me, very fresh and new and experimental and sweet. Their interaction is clunky at times, but young love always is no matter what television and romance novels say, and I LOVE THIS. SO MUCH. And I love that there is a realistic portrayal of the intensity of their feelings toward one another. Love this romance aspect. 

About the relationship being a secret: I have some feelings about that, but I'm not sure what they are. I understand Kate's initial hesitancy because this guy used to be her sister's summer boyfriend, but hey Kate, if you have a question about things, talk to your sister who has obviously moved on from Ryan! I think it is a big lesson for Kate that Ryan's feelings are hurt by wanting to keep him a secret, and a very realistic one. AND I really like Ryan as a character and love interest, so maybe that's why I do not love the secret-aspect of the story. HOWEVER, the way everything finally unfolds doesn't feel very dramatic or too tension-filled or angsty, so this keeps the story flowing and manages to keep Kate likable for me - I think she was acts like a young person does, and young people do things that are, in hindsight, not always the best or the smartest of decisions. So, secret relationships? Sometimes needed, sometimes not, relative to individual stories - is this how I feel? Maybe. Probably. In this situation, I would love to sit down and have a little talk with Kate about how she went about things. Moving on...

The Summers wrapped up kind-of quickly, and I find myself wondering how things are working out for these two. I wouldn't have minded a little more. I wouldn't mind more stories about this family, either! I like them. All-in-all, I enjoyed this quick, fun, summer read. I recommend The Summers by Iva-Marie Palmer for people that enjoy summer romances and great sibling relationships. This was an easy story to become immersed in and I think it would be fun for a pool read or a beach read or perhaps something between heavier stories. 

Audiobook Notes:  The audiobook format of The Summers by Iva-Marie Palmer is published by Brilliance Audio and is 7 hours and 16 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Whitney Dykhouse who did a pretty good job with reading Kate with all of her uncertainties and overbearing moments and swooning over Ryan, with all of her insecurities and vulnerabilities and shared-sister time. Given that the end of the book was rushed, I found myself rewinding the audiobook and listening to the last chapter three times to really grasp the ending of the book before I decided to just read the last chapter without the audio accompaniment. So...this was not my very favorite audiobook ever, but it was produced and read well, and I would still recommend it for first reads or rereads, especially given that it has an Audible narration price of $1.99 if you purchase of a Kindle copy of this book. Or, if you have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, you can both read and listen for free.

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The Summers will appeal to fans of:

Young Adult Romance
Romance: Sweet. No triangle.
Great Setting: Cape Cod. 
Sister Relationship
Summer Romances

The Summers by Iva-Marie Palmer
is currently available for purchase.

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I LOVE a good summer read. 

What are some of your favorite summer stories? 
 

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