The Summer I found you – Jolene Perry
All they have in common is that they’re less than perfect. And all they’re looking for is the perfect distraction.
Kate’s dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she’s still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he’s a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?
I don’t usually enjoy high school romances like this, but I picked it up because of the blurb. I’ve not read anything about an injured soldier returning home and having to pick up where he left off before joining the army and seeing combat, neither have I read about a lead character suffering from diabetes. In fact, I don’t know anyone younger than seventy who is living with diabetes, so I was really interested to find out a bit more about how it affects every day life and how living with such a condition feels like. Similarly, I was fascinated to find out more about what returning to civilian life feels like. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed.
Honestly, I wish it had been a little deeper, I got the impression that Kate was mildly annoyed by her condition rather than being scared and alone. I get that being diabetic can be inconvenient, but the girl was much more concerned with the fact that her ex had dumped her to start getting it together with a cheerleader and that she had found her bff’s cousin to get it on with in a bid to get back at him than she was about the fact that she could quiet easily die if she doesn’t manage her condition. I was expecting more fear at having to inject herself with insulin or shame/ embarrassment at having to turn down offered food, or having to alter her diet and how much she missed eating what she did before. But there wasn’t any of that, it was literally just an added irritation. As you can imagine, this made Kate grate on me slightly. I’m sure there are plenty of teenagers out there living with diabetes who have got it under control and just live with it, but seeing as her diagnosis appears to be relatively recent, you’d think that would take up most of her thoughts.
I think this is why I liked the chapters from Aiden’s point of view a bit more – again, it was interesting for me to read something from the point of view of an Afghan veteran especially considering that he’s only 19, that’s an immensely important voice to have in YA literature and one that I’ve not come across before. I found his prose to be fascinating, but at the same time, this is a kid that has lost an arm and has PTSD and yet, there were entire chapters where I forgot all about this because it was barely even there.
There was a lot of potential, but the story just didn’t go deep enough for me to really feel like any of it had been explored. Both of the main characters were dealing with huge, life altering things that had been thrown on them and it was so frustrating not to have those things described in a way to make me care more. That’s not to say that I hated it, their relationship was cute and was actually quite an accurate portrayal of two messed up teenagers just messing around and having fun, which considering the huge array of YA that features kids falling madly in love, was rather refreshing. It doesn’t have to be huge lovely dovey romances all the time, sometimes, its nice to just to fool around with someone and have some fun.
I did find myself noting several errors with this… The most obvious one being that this book is titled, The Summer I found You and yet, none of the events that take place within its pages are set during the summer. The other being that Aiden became Aidan at various points and seemed to occasionally grow back his missing hand. There were a couple of typos and editing mistakes in my copy which will hopefully be picked up on and sorted out before the whole thing is properly released.
I don’t want to leave this on a bad note, so, here’s another thing that I actually really liked, having two narrators with two distinct voices was amazing, like not enough people seem to be able to pull this off but it was done really well here, I never had to refer back to the opening page to remember who was speaking which was great. I only wish that the prose could have been more emotional.
To be honest, despite the flaws, this was a quick, cute and easy book to read and is exactly the sort of thing you want to curl up with while you’re sunbathing or grabbing a few hours of sunshine while on holiday. It isn’t particularly memorable, but its exactly the sort of thing you need to distract you while you’re on holiday.