Romancing the Weekends: Five Summers by Una LaMarche
PJV Quickie: Five Summers was a sweet, quick read that I really enjoyed. With just the right amount of teenage angst, the writing felt true and it was easy to picture the camp and the kids who stayed there. Toss this one in your beach bag for a good summer read!
Author: Una LaMarche
Type: Young Adult
Published: May 16, 2013 by Penguin Razorbill
Jo, Emma, Maddie, and Skylar (the JEMS) met at Camp Neboda the summer they were nine. Even though they were from different backgrounds and different areas of the country they became the best of friends. Every summer for the next four years, they came back to camp and it was as if no time had passed and they picked up where they left off. Through the years they grew and changed, but they looked forward to camp and their friendship remained strong.
Now, three years later, the girls are back together for a camp reunion. The girls haven’t really kept in touch like they said they would. Emma’s excited to see her friends again, but she also sees this as her chance to ‘hook up’ with the cute guy she crushed on throughout her summers at camp.
Too much time has passed though, and they’ve grown apart. The memories that hold them together may not be enough to overcome the secrets that threaten to tear their friendship into pieces.
I really enjoyed Five Summers – the story was bittersweet, sometimes funny, and engaging. Ms. Lamarche captures the right amount of turmoil that teens go through as they mature and navigate relationships (both romantic and platonic). Their friendships are true, even when appearances seem otherwise, and they need each other more than they realize. Even the guys had what appears to be a long-lasting friendship. One thing I was a little disappointed with, though, is that the guys in the story all seemed to be painted with a broad “jerk” brush (even the one decent guy was unattractive at the beginning of the story).
Some readers may find the way the story was told to be a bit confusing – each girl has a POV: Now, and Then. The story is told in a non-linear fashion that jumps from the reunion to camp sessions in the past and then back again. It works here because that is also how we get to know each of the girls and understand their relationships with their families and each other.
For spoilery reasons, I’m not going to go into the secrets each girl is carrying around, or what happens when those secrets inevitably get out. What I will say is how much I liked the way the girls handled it, and their friendships afterward. All in all, a nice read about friendship, self-worth, and finding your way.
Readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories will enjoy Five Summers. The sleep-away camp setting makes this perfect for a summertime/beach read.
Other books you might like, similar to ‘Five Summers’:
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han