Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Summer I found you by Jolene Perry

This YA novel has a wonderful premise; young soldier returns from serving his country with his arm missing and meets a young high school student who is quirky, blunt, and is adjusting to life with diabetes.  I liked that part.  It was very interesting hearing Aiden's side of the story in alternating chapters.  His struggle with how to fit back into society as an one-armed 18-year-old who has had buddies die around him is no easy task.  I'm happy when he and Kate meet because it seems like they could be friends-Kate's high school boyfriend breaks up with her in the opening pages.  They meet through Kate's best friend Jen who happens to be Aiden's cousin.  Aiden is living with Jen's family as his mother is newly remarried with small children and not enough room for him.

I thought Jen's character was about as whiny as they come in high school or out.  Everything is a problem for her and things do not match up.  She is crushed that Shelton breaks up with her yet later she talks about how they really weren't that close.  She spends a lot of time angry about having diabetes which results in her not paying attention to her levels and what she eats.  Because she hates having the disease she chooses to shield this knowledge from Aiden even after she sleeps with him.

My two favorite characters were Aunt Beth and Uncle Foster; Jen's parents, as they go above and beyond to help Aiden get through life.

A good quote:

"I don't want to remember this forever.
I don't want to be without my arm.
I don't want to do nothing for the rest of my life.
I don't want to be pitied."  (Location 142)

I like this quote as it shares the turmoil that Aiden encounters every day.  How do you put shoes on or open a jar, drive a stick shift car?

Half way through the story though I thought I might scream every time either Kate or Aiden would say some form of the word "distraction."  It could be a drinking game it is said so frequently.  Case in point:

"I sort of want an excuse to see him again.  For him to see my new hair and improved cheekbones.  And maybe to distract me from the weight that's been pushing on my chest since the doctor's appointment.

I stuff my phone back into my pocket, biting my lip to hold in the beginnings of a ridiculous grin, and Shelton's watching me.  Watching me in a way that makes my heart jump.  The problem is that I don't know if that's good, anymore because I'm definitely distracted by someone else.  And God knows I'm in desperate need of distraction right now so I look back to my desk. Where it's safe.  For now. (Location 881)

And Aiden also repeats the word and the litany "I open my mouth to argue, but I suddenly feel pretty dumb for not thinking about it earlier.  And I'm completely distracted..." (location 910)  and it goes on and on-this distraction-I should have counted them.  It sounds like a little thing but it is a character flaw for both that they only think in this one vein.  It's like a constant push me/pull me event.  High school emotions are like that I understand yet this went beyond for me and I was forced to not care about either character.  The name Aiden is also interchangeable written as Aidan in the text and I hope that is a change that was made before it came out officially (March/2014).  I was also confused by the title as it is the Spring season for the whole book-summer is on it's way-yet never arrives.  My ARC came from Net Galley.  Jolene Perry's website.


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