Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Someone Like Summer by M. E. Kerr

TITLE: Someone Like Summer
AUTHOR: M. E. Kerr
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Harper Teen/2007
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance
SOURCE: Local Library

Goodreads / Author's Website

Someone Like Summer was another book that I really wanted to enjoy. Annabel, a seventeen year old girl Seaview, a summer resort town, sees Estaban, a young Colombian worker, playing soccer on the local field. She is instantly smitten and they fall in love, carrying on a secret relationship due to their family and friends' disapproval. 

What really drew me to this book was the back cover. It was said to be set against a topical backdrop. Race relations and immigration would be dealt with as would the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina; love and romance set in tumultuous times. These are big topics and important ones. They should be dealt with in Young Adult literature. Of course, they should also be dealt with well and with tact and not just tossed on at the end. So much of the plot was focused on young love that it didn't really tackle the important issues. The war and Hurricane Katrina were barely mentioned. I still for the life of me can't figure out why Katrina was mentioned at all. Race relations were an entirely separate issue. There were basically no sympathetic characters at all when it came to that. Everybody was so blinded by prejudice that it just didn't ring true. There was no nuance. 

So other than my issues with the way Kerr dealt with the book's supposed themes, I was really disappointed with a serious case of insta-love. I mean my God! They see each other once before they're head over heels. There was no getting to know you stage! They knew nothing about each other! Not only that, they both completely abandoned their friends so they could spend more time with each other. The story was told by Annabel so we know more about her and she was driving me batshit crazy. She stopped thinking about college, she stopped doing her homework and hadn't seen any of her friends in months, for the ENTIRE summer. When her friend called her, seriously needing to talk Annabel completely ignored her, even bailing on a trip to the health clinic despite promising she would go with her friend. I cannot get behind a book that showcases that sort of all encompassing, see nobody else, style relationship.

The dialogue was also really odd. It was a stilted writing style that definitely alienated me as a reader. It also just didn't seem real. I don't think any teenager or young adult talks like Kerr writes. It was unfortunate and a major drawback for me. An early twenty-something calls a problem a bugaboo, a seventeen year old girl says "I miss you so" and these are just a couple of examples. I could open it up to any page and grab something. I think that was the main reason I couldn't get into this book. Nothing felt real. I could have possibly gotten past my other issues if I thought the story felt true. But it didn't. 

Fortunately, Someone Like Summer was a short read. It took me about three hours to get through. I really do like most of the books I read; I've just been making some unfortunate choices recently. Hopefully I'll be able to post some glowing reviews in the very near future!

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