You know those books that grip you and won’t let go until you finish? For me, The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan was one of those books. (Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review). The Summer List comes out June 26th, 2018, but is available now for pre-order.
When I saw this book’s synopsis, about the rekindling of a childhood friendship gone awry at the start of college, I couldn’t help but think of my own childhood friendship that needed some rekindling. When I requested the book, though, I wasn’t expecting to be so thoroughly gripped by the story. The story begins with Laura and Casey, estranged friends, reuniting. They find themselves following along with a scavenger hunt list like the ones Casey’s mother, Alex, made for them (and their classmates) when they were younger.
There’s a sense of melancholy as the book unfolds, digging from both past and present in alternating sections in order to slowly pull together the pieces of the story. The mystery of why the girls, so close in the past, became estranged really kept me reading. As we learn more and more about the characters and their experiences, the picture slowly comes together in a beautiful but often sad way. There’s a third strand to this weaved narrative that isn’t clear at first, sustaining a sense of mystery about the unknown narrator. At times, I found this stand frustrating, but it all came together in due time.
I was blown away at the craft of this narrative, how the pieces fit together by the end. Laura, Casey, and Alex are compelling, realistic characters with flaws and passions all their own. I finished the book in a puddle of tears, but the best kind of book-related tears. I highly recommend this book–it’s a fantastic read that touches on some deep issues and the complexities of life.