I love me a good summer romance. There’s a reason Sarah Dessen is of my favorite authors—she’s the queen of the summer romance! There are few things you can screw up when it comes to summer themed books, especially ones that take place in small tourist towns. Despite having all the potential in the world, When Summer Ends fell very flat.
Title: When Summer Ends
Author: Jessica Pennington
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: April 9th
Aiden Emerson is an all-star pitcher and the all-around golden boy of Riverton. Or at least he was, before he quit the team the last day of junior year without any explanation. How could he tell people he’s losing his vision at seventeen?
Straight-laced Olivia thought she had life all figured out. But when her dream internship falls apart, her estranged mother comes back into her life, and her long-time boyfriend ghosts her right before summer break, she’s starting to think fate has a weird sense of humor.
Each struggling to find a new direction, Aiden and Olivia decide to live summer by chance. Every fleeting adventure and stolen kiss is as fragile as a coin flip in this heartfelt journey to love and self-discovery from the author of Love Songs & Other Lies.
The potential! This could have been a really sweet and thought provoking novel but it just didn’t measure up. The author set up too many plot lines and then never followed through. I was left with so many questions. I felt like nothing happened.
Olivia is a planner who has her entire life planned out, but that all goes awry in the span of a few days—she loses her summer internship, flaky mother is back in town, and her boyfriend (and childhood best friend) dumps her before leaving for the summer. Olivia also finds out that she’ll be moving at the end of the summer unless she finds someone who will take her in. She ends up working at a local store, helping with the boat rentals.
Our male protagonist Aiden is the town baseball star, except that he just quit the team and no one knows why. Aiden started losing his vision in one eye and after crashing his car, he comes to terms with leaving behind a career in baseball and turning back to his love of art. As he searches to find himself, he works at the store that his dad owns, which happens to be the same place where we find Olivia. I really loved the character of Aiden, and I feel like he saved the book for me.
What really bothered me about this book was all the unfinished business left untouched. After being dumped by the supposed “love of her life,” Olivia barely mentions her ex until the last quarter of the novel. Her mother returns after years of being in and out of Olivia’s life and they never so much as sit and have dinner together. This plot line could have been a really interesting to be explored but it was just left hanging.
I also think there wasn’t enough flow through the chapters—they were very much segmented. this also added to the issues with time. One chapter, Olivia says she has eight weeks left before she leaves. The very next chapter, she’s leaving in four weeks! There needed to be more grounding.
In all I liked the characters and what the author set out to do with the novel, but I don’t think it was executed properly—too many ideas in the basket.
I was sent an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review