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The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams

The Lost SummerHelena Waite loves her summer tradition of Southpoint. Since she was just a little girl, she has enjoyed the fun activities, familiar landscape, and spirit of sisterhood the summer camp provides and fosters. Now that Helena’s seventeen, she is no longer a camper, but a counselor. Unfortunately, her best friend Katie Bell, her seventeenth birthday just a few months shy of the cutoff, is still a camper. Helena’s decided to make the best of her situation; after all, she does have the best of both worlds. But as the counselors’ late night antics with the counselors of the nearby boys’ camp make her innocent camp life of summers past seem juvenile, Helena finds herself abandoning Katie Bell in favor of her counselor friends. Camp is no longer the simple carefree place of refuge from the real world it used to be for Helena, and when her counselor friends turn their back on her, all for a boy, Helena is forced to rethink this summer’s decisions. But it might have to take a disaster to show Helena—and everyone else—what really matters.

Williams’ second novel, though much more serious than her lighthearted and funny The Debutante, is just as poignant and moving. The Lost Summer is a coming of age story centered on summer camp and all that entails, including summer crushes, and array of camp activities, and new and evolving friendships. This whole book is about growing up, about new responsibilities and opportunities, letting go of cherished routines not because we want to but because we have to, and realizing that we always have to keep moving forward. Helena comes to that realization the hard way, because she turns her back on childhood when she’s not quite ready to let go and a dreadful accident forces her to finally make peace with the fact that she no longer is a child. Williams portrays this border between childhood and womanhood wonderfully, showing that while the realization may be sudden, the journey from one state to another is gradual. The Lost Summer is very direct with its meaning and emphasis that we all have to grow up and that friendship is valuable and important. I would have enjoyed a bit of humor in The Lost Summer because this story was sometimes too serious, but overall, I thought The Lost Summer was a beautiful and meaningful read.

The Lost Summer will be enjoyed by more thoughtful summer vacationers, and also by those who liked Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell and Slept Away by Julie Kraut. Fans of William’s The Debutante will probably also enjoy this novel even if it lacks somewhat in the funny factor.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from publisher Disney Hyperion

3 munch(es) :

B.A.M. Book Reviews said...

I love the cover of this book! Good review.

-Briana

Ashley said...

I can't wait to get a copy.

towerofbooks said...

This sounds like the type of summer read I would rally enjoyed. Thanks for the review!

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