If you are looking for a little drama in your next YA contemporary, you would be hard pressed to find a book with more drama than Summer of Sloane. The narrator, Sloane, learns her best friend is knocked up by her boyfriend in the first few pages, a revelation that kicks off a summer full of eye-opening situations about love, betrayal, forgiveness and trust. Too much drama for me, so I gave it three stars, but other reviewers averaged a four star rating on Goodreads.
Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.
These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.
Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.
But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.
The problem for me as a reader is that the dramatics seemed to eat up much of the time that should have been spent developing characters and relationships. Sloane never really seems to get past her self centered, woe is me funk. The lessons were there and the knowledge was for the taking, but I’m not convinced she really got it in the end. This might be due to the fact that the ending felt rushed, which is a shame because there was an attempt not to tie everything into an unrealistic neat bow as the book closed (kudos for that). I think what Sloane really needed – some real thinking time – was pushed to the side for the sake of a romance I wasn’t sold on. Maybe the thinking time was there but felt distorted because it was more implied by time measurements than any real soliloquies. That being said, I don’t think readers of the contemporary YA romance will be hugely put off by the things that bothered me. My high school students like books that are full of drama like this, and I think they will be content with the ending. I would purchase this book for my classroom library, and I can see it getting a lot of word of mouth recommendations. Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.