Endless Summer – Jennifer Echols

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Synopsis

Two irresistible boys. One unforgettable summer.
Lori can’t wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends—including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she’s always been just one of the guys. Now that she’s turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that’s not going to happen—not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it.

Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori’s romantic summer melt into one hot mess?

Review

**I’d first like to note that the synopsis hints at some major love triangle, but there really isn’t one. Really.**

I can’t believe I’ve been in the dark for all these years about Jennifer Echols’s romantic comedies. I’ve somehow only read her romantic dramas before, and I thought that was the only genre she played with. I never would have expected anything as light, rambunctious, or FUN as Endless Summer.

I definitely preferred the first part, The Boys Next Door, more. That ending to that was amazing. I cheered for Lori and Adam so much. It was the perfect vanilla-fluffy read.

The second part seemed like it was making conflicts for conflicts’ sake. The central problem, being that Adam was not allowed to date Lori, did not add up to me. Why would Lori’s father be fine with Parker or Cameron or Sean –to the point of Parker being allowed in Lori’s room unsupervised– but not with Adam? I felt that aspect of the story was approached poorly. It was unrealistic how one character trait (being supposed “nerdiness”) suddenly made one minor character appear flawless in the eyes of the parent and suddenly horrific in Lori’s eyes. It was hard to believe that both the Vader parents and Lori’s dad had such distrust for only ONE member of both of their families. They appeared to blame him for his learning disability, and clearly discriminated against him for it. It didn’t bode well with me that they only accepted him into their families on the condition that he tried to act more “normal.” The book approached parent-child relationships as though there were some impenetrable force field that made it impossible for them to understand one another.

As is expected from any comedy, the foundation of many conflicts stemmed from assumptions and misunderstandings. There was nothing particularly heavy or deep — all the problems were self-inflicted. You could practically see the train wrecks about to happen. This got frustrating, but it was almost expected of the characters.

I also had difficulty accepting the final ending (or rather, the “final reconciliation”?). It didn’t feel any different from the first grand reconciliation (end of book one), which meant that the same (or similar) issues would continue to plague Lori and Adam’s relationship. I was hoping for some indication of progress for many of the problems beneath the surface: Adam’s tenuous relationship with his brothers, lack of parental support/trust from either family, the apparent favouritism among the parents, the lack of positive reinforcement or acknowledgement regarding Adam’s learning disability, Lori’s need of coming to terms with her mother’s death, Lori’s self-concept issues, and much more. But there was nothing in ANY of these regards. Obviously a lot of these nuances didn’t have to be addressed for the big romantic ending. But why were they mentioned at all if they were irrelevant in the grand scheme of the story?

If you want an adorable, spunky, but ultimately vanilla-fluff summer rom-com, go ahead and read Endless Summer. Or maybe just the first half (and not the sequel/second half), because it was a much more satisfying read.

Related Reading

  • The Moon and More – Sarah Dessen (I kept thinking back to this while reading for its love-triangle woes and summer work)
  • Sixteenth Summer – Michelle Dalton (syrupy-sweet and similarly frustrating)
  • This is What Happy Looks Like – Jennifer E. Smith

Rating (The Boys Next Door/part 1): 5/5
Rating (Endless Summer/part 2): 2.5/5

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