Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.
After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.
Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.
Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.
Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.
I have the most mixed feelings about this book. I actually disliked most of the book. But the end… oh man, the tears are still pouring down my face. The thing is, I figured out the “mystery” pretty early on. The actual reveal was so much more heartbreaking than I expected though.
Okay, so let’s talk about the issues surrounding the vast majority of this story. There were so many problems that could have EASILY been fixed through communication. People in this book never talked TO each other, they all talked AT each other! Listening is so important, and I wish that was one of the lessons that these characters learned. Instead, people frequently jumped to conclusions and lashed out without hearing the whole story.It was very unreasonable.
I also felt like we were tracking four completely different storylines and trajectories. At the end, they all reminisced their friendship, but I never read about the moments that helped bring them together again. There were just more conflicts and misunderstandings (like the whole bathroom thing… seriously?).
At first, I was really annoyed by Joy’s character. She seemed like such an enigma. But I ended up loving her storyline the most. Doug Ryder — so charming, handsome, and thoughtful. I am glad that he was part of the story, and that he gave Joy second chances worth cherishing.
In fact, there were a bunch of great characters in this story. Andrew — so perfect, solid, and reliable. I wish things could’ve ended differently, but there’s no avoiding the future. We have to let it happen. I also appreciated the way that the other main part of Luce’s story was handled. Definitely classy.
Zoe’s story was heartbreaking in its own way too. Unfortunately, I never really connected with Tali. A lot of her problems stemmed from a position of wealth and self-absorbance. Many of her problems were shallow, and even the “big revelation” was deserved (if true). People aren’t always who you think they are, unfortunately.
These characters came together at an important time. This story had a ton of potential, and I really liked how it ended. Unfortunately, the beginning and middle hardly grabbed my interest, and I really did not enjoy the characters’ behavioural tendencies until they grew at the very end.
- Sisterhood Everlasting – Ann Brashares
- Things I Can’t Forget – Miranda Kenneally
- The Revenge Playbook – Rachael Allen