The Summer We Came to Life
By Deborah Cloyed
From the book: Every summer, Samantha Wheland joins her childhood friends - Isabel, Kendra and Mina - on a vacation somewhere exotic and fabulous. Together with their mixed bag of parents, they've created a lifetime of memories. This year it's a beach house in Honduras. But for the first time, their clan is not complete. Mina lost her battle against cancer six months ago and the friends she left behind are still struggling to find their way forward without her.
For Samantha, the vacations just feels wrong without Mina. Despite being surrounded by her friends - the closest thing she has to family - Mina's death has left Sam a little lost. Unsure what direction her life should take. Fearful that whatever decision she makes about her wealthy French boyfriend's surprise proposal, it'll be the wrong one.
The answers aren't in the journal Mina gave Sam before she dies. Or in the messages Sam believes Mina is sending her as guideposts. Before the trip ends, the bonds of friendship with her living friends, the older generation's stories of love and loss, and Sam's glimpse into a world far removed from the one in which she belongs will convince her to trust her heart. And follow it.
You can read an excerpt of this book, here.
From me: I have to say, this book surprised me. I started off very confused because the story is centered around a group of friends and their parents and I had a hard time keeping everyone straight. Just as I was connecting names and histories, the story took a very...interesting...turn that I didn't really like at all. I just about put the book down and review it half finished, but I persevered and was really surprised at how much I absolutely loved the end of the book! Deborah pulled everything together very well and I even shed a few tears.
Writing about death is tricky and many authors miss the mark when it comes to connecting you with the vast array of emotions that comes along with loss. Not so with Deborah. She amazed me with her ability to put into words what so many feel. Maybe it's because I've lost; but (once I got over the section I disliked) I connected with the characters and was content with the ending. The Summer We Came to Life is a story of love and loss and it's definitely a novel I'm glad I read!
Thanks to Planned Television Arts for offering me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!