Author: Shannon Greenland
Release Date: May 10, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Publisher: Speak (Penguin group)
# of pages: n/a
Challenge: 24 Hour Readathon
This is what seventeen-year-old Em gets when she goes to spend a month at her aunt’s island resort. It’s a dream come true—and exactly the break Em needed from her strict family and their high expectations of her. But when Em uncovers a long-buried secret about her family, everything changes. And suddenly, Em finds herself making some big choices about her future—choices she never dreamed she’d have the chance to make . . .
The Summer My Life Began is a cute, fast read. Perfect for the beach! Really, there isn't too much depth in this one. A lot of it is quite predictable, like the thing at the end with the paintings. But I was a little caught off guard with the family secret. I was thinking too much and thought of several of other possibilities...So that was a surprise!
This story was basically about our narrator, Em, finding herself, or at least realizing that she doesn't want to follow the plan that has been set out for her her whole life. And also about her finding out the family secret, I guess. I mean, I enjoyed reading about her time at The Pepper House and her enthusiasm for cooking, it just felt quite rushed. And because of that, we didn't get to totally see the depths of our characters and their emotions. Also, there were quite a few characters that were thrown in there that I thought would mean something, but they didn't really add to the story. Like Jeremy. That little storyline was kinda pointless to me...I know he was supposed to be a part of the love triangle, but that didn't really work since she hardly showed any interest in him after that first meeting. So, it didn't add anything to the story for me.
And that leads to my issue with the main relationship that we all see coming from the beginning. I felt no chemistry between her and Cade at all. They had a rocky start and hardly talked in the beginning. After they started kind of having friendly conversations, she picked an argument with him really for no reason, and then mooned after him when he didn't speak to her for a week afterwards. A few kisses and everything was better. To me, their relationship was purely physical. I have no idea where the emotional connection came from...since there was a lot of telling, but not much showing. And this "telling, but not showing" thing was a major thing in the story that kept me from connecting with the characters, so I was just pretty whatevs towards them.
Anyway, the setting sounded absolutely gorgeous and like somewhere I'd love to vacation at. I think B&B's are cute, even though I've never been to one, and The Pepper House sounded like a great place! The only thing I found odd was that Tilly would leave her door open while she wasn't in her room, and was out and about working. For some reason, I thought she would maybe lock it for privacy...? But again, I've never been to a B&B, so maybe it's common. And also, maybe it's different in the laid back Outer Banks, where they don't have to worry about that stuff? I mean, that didn't affect the enjoyment in reading this. I just found it curious.
So overall, this book was nice. It's a great read for a lazy day, when you don't want to think too much.