Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may or may not end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.
As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app – and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.
Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.
Ugh. This book. How to explain my feelings about it?
I knew going into The Summer Remains that it was going to be a sad book, a book that might play with my emotions. If the summary didn’t tip me off, the fact that it’s on The Huffington Post’s Oh, You Little Heartbreaker! The Ultimate List of Ugly Cry Novels would have been a dead giveaway. So while I knew it would be sad, I wasn’t expecting it to make me think quite as much as it did. There were just so many complex pieces of this story.
In The Summer Remains, Summer Johnson is closer to dying than not. It’s a fate she’s dealt with for most of her life, but now that it seems more likely than not there’s one thing she was wants to experience in life. Summer wants to fall in love.
Summer gets her chance when she meets Cooper Nichols through a dating app. Cooper’s everything Summer never expected. He’s cute, smart and into her. Falling for Cooper makes Summer realize she might not be quite as prepared to die as she thought she was.
The Summer Remains was told in dual points of view, Summer’s and Cooper’s. Their voices were so different. What they were going through together shaped them both, but in different ways. Summer’s, even though she was the one with the possible death sentence, was easier to read. She had more time to make peace with what might happen and accept it. Cooper’s was extremely hard to read. His thoughts and feelings were more heartbreaking.
Summer was very intense character. The hand she was dealt sucked, but she tried to make the best of things. She had a laid-back-everything’s-good vibe, but deep down she cared more than she wanted people to know. I loved that she was getting her wish fulfilled, but I hated the chaos it was bound to create for Cooper and everyone else around her. It was torture to experience their relationship knowing the chances of Summer’s survival. The truths Summer comes to know by the end are so hard and ugly. They broke my heart.
Cooper was almost too good to be true. I was right there with Summer wondering how she got so lucky. But he wasn’t without his own flaws. His past created the good and bad in him. He was so much stronger than he gave himself credit for.
While this book revolved around the beauty of Summer and Cooper’s relationship, there was a deeper topic that stood out to me: judgement of others based on physical attributes. There was a whole cast of characters in this book that weren’t “perfect” by society’s opinion. Seth King did an amazing job voicing their heartaches and dreams. It’s easy to forget how we all some of the same basic things in life. We all want to be valued and loved.
So, I’m sure you’re wondering, did I ugly cry? No, even though this was a really touching story, I didn’t bawl. I did tear up a few times. There were a couple of moments when Summer was talking to her mom, Shelley, and I got very teary eyed. I could only imagine what Shelley was going through since I have a little girl of my own. And then there was the author’s note at the end of the book explaining his personal connection with Summer’s story. That one had me holding back the tears for sure.
The Summer Remains was a heartbreaking story filled with so many inspirational moments.The only thing that prevented me from giving this 5 stars was the ending. There was just a part of it that felt like too much to me. Otherwise, I truly enjoyed reading this book and feel like it’s one everyone could benefit from reading.