The Summer I Found You – Jolene Perry

Date read: 8trh February 2014
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Release Date: March 1st 2014
Length: 256 pages
Format: E-book
Source: I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Summer I Found You cover

Goodreads description

All they have in common is that they’re less than perfect. And all they’re looking for is the perfect distraction.

Kate’s dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she’s still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he’s a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?

My review

Oh, dear, it’s been a while since a book has left me feeling so frustrated, but I really didn’t like this one.

Hopefully there’ll be a bit of editing done prior to publication, as I’m not entirely sure whether the main male character’s Christian name is Aidan or Aiden. I’ll use the latter spelling during this review for consistency. Also there were formatting issues on my Kindle – during Kate’s chapters there were really uneven lines, and looking at Goodreads reviews it sounds as though I’m not the only one who had this problem. It made it really infuriating to read as once I’d noticed it, I couldn’t stop!

And am I the only one who’s confused as to the title of the book? IT DOESN’T TAKE PLACE DURING SUMMER. The characters are at school. In the middle of the school year. There is no summer here. The person who gave the book this title was possibly going for something evocative, as opposed to something, you know, accurate.

On paper this sounds like a melodramatic set up – a similar premise to a lot of NA books out there, and although I really liked certain aspects of the book, there were others that left me cold.

Take Kate, the main female character. I get her moping about her boyfriend, who dumps her rather brutally at the beginning of the novel. But it’s *right at the beginning*, literally the first page, so the reader has little if anything invested in their relationship, and certainly from my point of view I didn’t have much sympathy (especially as Sheldon was an idiot, but that’s neither here nor there). I could have done with a bit more introduction to Kate and her world, as everything she faces we’re expected to know already – best friend Jen, Jen’s twin brother Will, and recently injured cousin Aiden who’s come to stay.

I loved Kate’s habit of saying literally the first thing that came into her head, but apart from that I didn’t find her particularly likeable – she’s impulsive, and not in a good way (movie night comes to mind) and the way she refused to deal with her diabetes drove me absolutely mad.

Words like blindness, diabetic coma, kidney damage, nerve issues… None of it feels real. It’s like this problem belongs to someone else. Their eyes are on me.

The thing is, when we meet her, she had known she was diabetic for a year, had passed out at school and had numerous hypo-attacks – and yet, because she hates needles and doesn’t want to be sick, she buries her head in the sand deeper than any ostrich has yet managed. Even at the end of the book I didn’t think she’d come to terms with her illness – although maybe only in the respect that she might have lost Aiden because she couldn’t control her sugar levels. It made me hope I really wasn’t so oblivious at her age, which made me feel like a grumpy old woman!

Aiden’s story is more believable, struggling to deal with the loss of his arm and the fact his superior officer was killed in the same attack that maimed him. I like his relationship with his uncle Foster, and his struggle to work out exactly what he was going to do with his life. But the relationship between him and Kate smacked of ‘insta-love’ for me, and wasn’t crafted well enough for me to have any real worry as to whether they stayed together or not.

Sigh. Ever since I’ve started reviewing books I’ve been in a little bit of a reading slump, and feel bad for slating books that have been given to me, but this one just did not click for me – I might give another book by Jolene Perry a read to see if it’s just this book that’s rubbed me up the wrong way, or whether I can’t get on with her writing style at all.