Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review: Last Summer by Holly Chamberlin

Last Summer
By Holly Chamberlin
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Source: Librarything Early Reviewers
Summary: Holly Chamberlin, bestselling author of The Family Beach House and Summer Friends, weaves a powerful and heartfelt story of the bond between mothers and daughters, and the resilience of true friendship…

The town of Yorktide, close to Maine’s beautiful beaches and the city of Portland, seems like the perfect place to raise a family. For Jane Patterson, there’s another advantage: her best friend, Frannie Giroux, lives next door, and their teenaged daughters, Rosie and Meg, are inseparable. But in the girls’ freshman year of high school, everything changes.

Jane always felt lucky that she was able to work from home, to be there to nurture and protect Rosie. But has she been too protective? Rosie—quiet, shy, and also very pretty—attracts the sneers and slights of a clique of older girls. Over time, the bullying worsens. When Meg betrays their friendship, fearful that she too will be targeted, Rosie suffers an emotional breakdown.

Blaming both Meg and Frannie, Jane tries to help Rosie heal while dealing with her own guilt and anger. In the months that follow, each struggles with the ideas of forgiveness and compassion, of knowing when a friendship has been shattered beyond repair—and when hope can be salvaged, one small moment at a time…

Review: From the looks of the cover, I thought this book was going to be a nice beach read about a family or relationships. Needless to say, you really shouldn't judge books by their covers. This book ended up being a really serious story about a girl who is bullied and how her family deals with the aftermath. 

Bullying has been a popular topic to write about, just like Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti, and it's definitely a very serious topic. In this story, Rose and Meg are best friends until Meg spills Rose's deepest secret to the mean, popular girls at school. Rose endures tormenting and can't handle school anymore. Not only are people at school mean to her, but she's lost her best (and only) friend. Meg and Rose's moms have to deal with their daughters' decisions and depressions that lead to dangerous actions. 

I understand that this is a very serious topic, but I just couldn't really get into this book. I was not in the mood for a serious book, and it felt like this book was basically all thoughts and no actual action. And the entire story was told after the bullying happened and was retold through journal entries every few chapters. I liked Rose's character well enough, but the big secret that Meg had told wasn't that big of a secret. They're almost sophomores in high school and the secret was that Rose had wet her bed until fifth grade. Who cares?? That happened almost 5 years ago, so why would it even be that big of a deal? Yes, it was very wrong for Meg to tell those girls that secret when they're the ones bullying Rose, but I didn't feel the emotions the author wanted the reader to feel. 

So overall this book had a really good message, I just wasn't really that into it. It's very serious and a lot of talking about emotions and thinking about life. If you want a serious book, then you'll like this one. If you're in the mood for a fun beach read, then this is definitely not the book for you.

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