Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.
Thoughts and Themes: I thought that this was a romance book but it is so much more than just about first love. This book deals with grief, hurting others because of grief, recovering from heartbreak, first love, family, and friendship.
I liked the way you got to see each of these characters deal with grief and how they have different responses to grief. I liked how they are supported through their grief but how their family tries to pull them out of it. I also really liked how we got to see the way that they view each other before and after that one moment that changed things for each of them.
I like how we got to see Lucy try to get over her feelings for ben throughout this whole book as she is also dealing with her the death of her best friend. I thought it was good to see how those two events affected each other and how the death of her best friend informed her feelings about love. I also really liked that we got to see ben’s feelings about it all, we got to see him angry and sad. I thought it was great to see grief through his eyes because it’s important that young adults see guys grieving as well because I think oftentimes they think that holding feelings in is the proper way to deal with things.
Characters: In this book, you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with Ben and Lucy. You get to meet some of Lucy’s friends and her boyfriend, Simon as well as the kid that she is babysitting. You also get to meet some of Ben’s friends, his family, and his girlfriend.
I loved each of the characters that you get to meet and love how they know Ben and Lucy but they also don’t know them. I like that they only know the pieces of themselves that they show to others. I also really liked how none of the other characters know the Ben and Lucy that each of them knows, the people that they were before Trixie’s death.
I loved the moments in which we get to see Lucy or Ben interacting with Emily as those moments lighten the mood of the book. Emily is so innocent and both of them are sheltering her from reality so it allows them both to forget about Trixie’s death for a minute to just be. I also really liked how Emily could read both ben and Lucy’s feelings that they were trying to hide from everyone.
Writing Style: This book is told in the third person through the perspectives of Ben and Lucy. I really enjoyed that the book goes back and forth between the two characters as you get to see them both deal with their grief in different ways. I also liked that this book goes back and forth from the present to the past to give you glimpses of a time before Trixie’s death.
Sara Biren lives just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and their two children. A true Minnesotan, she is a fan of hockey, hotdish, and hanging out at the lake. She enjoys seeing live bands, watching movies with her family, and drinking coffee. Her love of cheese knows no bounds.
Sara is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.