Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: The Summer We Came to Life by Deborah Cloyed

First line: Birth and death are the two occurrences in a person's life that seem to say one thing: we are not the ones calling the shots.

From the back cover: 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 vacation 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 gives Sam before she died. Or in the messages Sam believes Mina is sending 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.

My thoughts: I found this to be quite an interesting read. It is a unique look into the lives of best friends as they support and lean on each another through the ups and downs of life. Told from the perspective of Sam, her two best friends, and their multicultural mix of parents, it hits on a wide variety of themes, including love, grief, politics and even quantum physics. Six months after losing the fourth member of their group, Sam, Kendra and Isabel are still mourning Mina. Coming together to help each other in their grief, the girls and their parents meet in Honduras, where Sam struggles with a huge decision - should she marry her French playboy boyfriend, Remy? Like many women do, Sam turns to her best friends for help. This in turn prompts the best friends' parents to weigh in with their own love stories that they'd never completely told their daughters. These stories are defining moments from their lives: the civil rights movement, the Iranian revolution, and a brief marriage to an aristocrat. This is a book that really makes you value the importance of friendship and also will have you taking a look at those important decisions you've made in your life. I can see this as a great book club pick.

I received a complimentary copy of The Summer We Came to Life by Deborah Cloyed from Eric at  Planned Television Arts.

1 comment

  1. I loved your review Kristin! I can see myself getting really into this book. I will definitely be reading it in the future.


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