Skip to main content

The Summer of Everything YA Book Review

 


The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters 

Want a Copy Right Now? Use my Bookshop link to support the blog! Here.

Overview: Wes doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He has an acceptance letter to UCLA, but he's not sure what he wants to do with that. He loves working at Once Upon a Page, the indie bookstore he's worked at for a number of years. It's the perfect chill job where he's surrounded by comic books and all his friends. When it seems like Once Upon is going to close and his best friend/crush Nico is getting ready to move all the way to Stanford, Wes feels like his entire life is falling apart. He doesn't know what the next step is, but he's going to fight to keep the bookstore (and a bit of his childhood) alive for as long as possible. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Wes isn't totally lost. He loves what he's doing right now, but he's realizing that can't be forever. He's scared of making the wrong move for his future, so he fights to hold on to the familiar pieces. It's what makes him too scared to tell Nico about his real feelings for him. He can't risk losing Nico as a friend, even though he's moving so far away. 

This book really is an ensemble story. Everyone who works at the bookstore (they employ only young people it seems? as a former bookstore employee, this is by far the least realistic part of the book) plays a major role in the story. They range in age from typical YA age of 16 (Cooper) to end of college aged almost full adults (Anna and Kyra). This span of ages created some really interesting dynamics and a sense of mentorship among the co-workers that was really sweet. The main characters, though, are Ella, who is Wes's best friend and living with him for the summer, Nico, and Wes. They're all the same age and reaching similar junctures in their lives. 

Most of all, I loved the realism that all of these characters are approached with. The book is so diverse on every level in a super casual way. I was so excited to see minor characters who had aro-ace and bi/pan rep that simply existed in the world. I also really appreciated how each character had a different approach to figuring out life and they were all seen as equally as valid and successful. There's no one path.

Plot: 4 This is a super character driven book. There's the arch of saving the bookstore, but that doesn't kick into full gear until the final half of the book. There's a lot of pining and indecision over whether Wes's crush is requited or not. There's plenty of angst and wading through life stuff. It's all relatable, and all the little scenes and quick chapters come together to keep the plot moving. 

I really liked the ending and seeing where everyone ended up in the end during the epilogue. I also was super pleased with the ending scene where Wes finally talks with Mrs. Rossi who owns the bookstore, and it feels like a major culminating moment for the story where the pieces click together. 

*Mild Spoiler For The Ending For This Paragraph* My only little complaint is that I wish that Wes had gone with the other love interest instead of Nico just to show that sometimes crushes don't work out. That resolution felt a bit too perfect, but given that they lose so much in other aspects, it was understandable why Julian wanted to bring them together in the end to give a partially happy ending. I'm just a reader who loves unhappy endings for some reason, but Julian actually sold me on shipping Wes and Nico. 

Writing: 4 YA readers might be a bit thrown jumping into this book because it's in 3rd person. 1st person is my definite preference for reading, so it took a minute to adjust to Wes being the main character and reading his name over and over again. I got disoriented a few times (but, again, that's totally a me problem). Overall, though, I really enjoyed Julian's writing. He manages to write YA that feels so in touch with today's world in a way that most books aren't. Though it's not explicitly named, there's a reference to Immoral Code which I loved because it's an Easter egg that you'll only get if you're deeply in the YA world. It made me so happy to see book references that weren't just Harry Potter or The Fault In Our Stars. It's one of the most relatable books I've read in a while, and it was nice to read a book that felt so easy and laid back. It was easy to soak in Julian's world.  

Get a Copy of the Book!

Featured YouTube Video

Subscribe

Wes has so much confusion around starting college. I just did that myself. If you're curious about what online college is like check it out here.


Musical Main Characters: A Book List that Lives and Breathes Music

Links of Interest:

Spotify Book Tag

War and Speech

August 2020 Wrap Up

*All buy links are affiliate links which means I make a small commission on your purchase at no cost to you! It goes such a long way to support the blog*

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

All Our Worst Ideas YA Book Review

All Our Worst Ideas by Vicky SkinnerOverview: Amy has her life all laid out. She's going to be valedictorian, get the Keller Scholarship, and go to Stanford. Easy. Oliver doesn't quite know where he's headed yet. Taking his gap year has just confirmed that he doesn't want to go to college. No one in his life knows that yet. Amy and Oliver are thrust together when Amy gets a job at Spirits, the record store where Oliver works. They both live and breathe music, and that connects them even though their lives couldn't be more different. Amy and Oliver are a true example of the power of music to unite people. Overall: 4.5Characters: 5 I loved Amy and Oliver. I related to Amy so much. She loves music and uses it to get her through her intense academics and the heavy expectations from her family. She feels pressure to do well that mostly comes from herself, and her drive keeps her pushing to win valedictorian. While everyone knows how smart Amy is, her mom always talks ab…

Spotify Book Tag

Today, I'm doing a book tag. I haven't done a ton of these yet, but I came across this one on Twitter when Santana shared their version of it, and I got inspired to do the tag! Santana found the tag from the original creator, Sarah @ Book Hooked Nook. Here's the original tag and here's Santana's take on it. I borrowed Sanata's twist and added music choices along with books that fit the prompt, and at the bottom, I complied all the songs into a Spotify playlist so you can listen to that while you read! I also made a special list on my Bookshop featuring all the books if you want to get any of them! Find that here. I hope you discover more books and music to love! If you want more music content, check out my music blog, Music, Musings, and Me. Also, make sure you don't miss Friday's YouTube video that perfectly fits with this tag: Spotlighting Books With Musical Main Characters.

1. Hit Rewind: a book you go back to again and again? 
I don't tend to rere…

Badlands Book Tag (from Antari Reads)

School has been so stressful that I just wanted to have fun for today's post. I stumbled upon the Badlands Book Tag on Twitter made by Alison from Antari Reads and knew I had to do it. I get so excited every time I meet another Halsey fan/YA book lover. Halsey has been at the top of my mind lately, so this tag felt like bringing this Badlands era revival full circle. If you really want to get into the music with me, I made a reaction to Badlands for the 5th anniversary of the album. You can click the link here or watch it embedded down below. I'll also leave links to all my recent Halsey related posts so you can read about my Manic book pairings, Halsey's new role in a YA book adaption TV series, and her life Badlands album. I've also included links to Bookshop in this post. Just click Get a Copy to visit the book's affiliate page and grab one. Shopping these links means I might get a small commission, and part of the sale goes to benefit indie bookstores. It's…

Into YA with Laura Silverman: Part 2

Today, I'm chatting with Laura Silverman again to celebrate the upcoming release of her book, RecommendedFor You as part of the blog tour! If you haven't heard about this swoony, holiday set romance in a bookstore, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to read the book's official description and Laura's bio. Otherwise, you can check out my review here. I'm so happy to support Laura's new book, and if you want to hear about her past books, I'll link to my review below. If you're excited about Recommended For You, you're in luck because it is out in the world today! If you want to order a copy while supporting indie bookstores and the blog, you can purchase the book here with my link*. Thank you to Laura for taking the time to talk with me!

1. Recommended For You is mostly set in an indie bookstore during the holiday rush. What made you decide on that setting? I spent a year working at a bookstore and fielded many of the same strange requests Shosh…

Spotlight New Releases: Sunshine Is Forever

Hello, everyone! Today's is a very special post for me as I am reviewing my first ARC (more on that at the bottom). I was intrigued by the summary of Sunshine Is Forever from the second I read it, and I am now so excited to get to share my review of this amazing view into depression and the motives behind self harm and suicide. The impactful story is one I place up with many of my favorite books that tackle mental illness. It also features a male protagonist with a great voice, which we honestly don't see enough of in YA. Anyway, without further ado, to celebrate Sunshine Is Forever's publication, I am bringing you my full review of this new YA mental health fiction novel from a new author to the world of YA.



Sunshine Is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan
*Trigger warning specifically for self harm and suicide*
Overview: Hunter suffers from depression. While he's dealt with it his whole life through ineffective therapy and medication, his condition is worsened by the Incident which…

Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands From NKOTB to BTS Book Review

Larger Than Life by Maria Sherman
Get a Copy!
Overall:  5
I don't think I've ever anticipated a book longer than Larger Than Life. I'd heard Maria on a couple music criticism podcasts whenever they'd launched into the confusing world of the boy band, and she always mentioned the book would be coming soon. Well, it's finally out, and it makes me incredibly happy.
As I already knew, Maria is a boy band expert as well as a true fan. Her joy and enthusiasm really does make the book. I also love that boy bands are finally getting their full and comprehensive due. I wouldn't say that I'm particularly a boy band fan (outside of the Jonas Brothers and One Direction (though I guess those are just the boy bands of my generation so many I am)), but I find how they're looked at culturally to be fascinating. Boy bands tie back to feminism and how society constructs their views around things liked by teens/girls/women/LGBTQIA people. Maria doesn't shy away from tha…

August Wrap Up 2020- Reflecting and Getting Excited For What's To Come

I didn't think I would ever say this, but August does not seem like it's been nearly long enough! I feel like the end of summer came in the blink of an eye, and now I'm writing this on my second day as a college student. Considering I started this blog as the 8th grader, I've come a really long way. This school year is extra weird. I wasn't prepared to start school online like I had been in years past. I was anticipating moving to New York. I had an entire New York City themed visuals flip for the blog to honor the new era of my life. Alas, I'm still in the mountains and those plans are on hold. At least August is the last of the losing. I didn't have many plans beyond this month, so all the new days should get less painful. They just are instead of being a "should have been". If you're starting a major milestone this year (especially if you're starting college like I am), my heart goes out to you. We're in this together, and I think …

War and Speech YA Book Review

War and Speech by Don Zolidis 
Overview: Sydney's life is a bit like a tornado. After her dad heading to prison wrecked her first semester of Junior year, she transfers schools with her walls up high and her tongue extra sharp. Sydney is deeply sarcastic, speaks her mind maybe too often, and is happy to join conspiracies to take down the school. She finds them in a group of outcasts tormented by the speech and debate team. She ends up joining down with an eye towards taking them all down and getting the coach fired. While she goes in with one mission, she finds a lot more than she bargained for on the team. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 5 I love, love, love Sydney. She's so cynical and sarcastic and completely hilarious. She says a lot of the things that I think, so it was a joy to see the world through her eyes. It's nice to see a YA character in high school who plays into it as a complete outsider in the sense that she doesn't even want to play the game or be a part of tho…

Harry Styles Book Tag (Inspired by Bookish Bits)

As you can probably tell, I've started doing a lot of tags since I've started school. Honestly, I haven't been in the most creative space lately, and school has been making me really tired, so tags have been calling my name. Since I found ones for Taylor Swift and Halsey, I thought I'd go looking for a tag for another of my favorite artist, Harry Styles. I was excited to discover that one does already exist, created by Lainy at Bookish Bits. You can read her version of the tag here. If you also like Harry Styles and books, consider yourself tagged. Also, if you're curious about any of the books mentioned below, just click the title to get to my review. 1. Kiwi: Abookwithatitlethathasnothingtodowiththebook.I feel like every title has some connection to the book. Some are just more obvious than others. I'll go with The Way You Make Me Feel here since it's one of the most abstract titles 2. Signofthetimes: Asad/emotionalbookwithahappy/hopefulending.Clap When Y…