Title: Every Summer After
Author: Carley Fortune
Release Date: May 10th, 2022
Genre: Adult Fiction – Contemporary – Romance
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.
Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.
For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books—medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her—Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.
When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.
Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic look at love and the people and choices that mark us forever.
Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right.
MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):
“The way I felt about you was always so clear to me—even when we were young I knew you and I were meant for each other. Two halves of a whole. I loved you so much that the word ‘love’ didn’t seem big enough for how I felt.”
Every Summer After is in the running for my favorite summer read, not only of 2022, but of all time. I was so enraptured by the story that I finished it in 24 hours and that hasn’t happened in a loooong time. Is it a perfect read? No. But it managed to take me back to those childhood summer days and nights and feel all the nostalgia for them, even if I never spent them at a lake with a cute boy-next-door. I still felt like I was there and I was incredibly invested in the characters and that emotional connection is so special and unique that it deserves all the love.
So let me try and put everything I loved about this book into a non-rambly and coherent review. Here are all the elements that made me LOVE Every Summer After:
The alternating timelines
The story is told alternatingly in the past, namely all the summers that Persephone Fraser spent In Barry’s Bay, and the now, where Percy receives a phone call that makes her go back to Barry’s Bay after years and reunites with Sam, her best friend and more whose heart she broke all those years ago. I loved this buildup because we get the coming of age story in the flashback chapters, as well as get to see the strong connection between Percy and Sam develop, and in the present chapters we get to wonder what happened to blow it all up and if there’s any way it can be mended. It kept me on my toes and had me speeding through all the chapters because I didn’t want to miss a moment and I didn’t want to stop reading until I knew it all.
The nostalgic feel of the past chapters
My favorite chapters were definitely the ones that took place in the past. They take place from the time when Percy and Sam first met at 13 years old until they’re both 18 and these chapters are a beautiful story in and of their own: they have all the magic of a great coming of age story, a first love, a summer romance and a friends-to-lovers romance. There is a YA feel to these chapters, but it’s sprinkled with so much nostalgia and fondness that’s typical of adults looking back at those big childhood memories. It was so easy to get invested into both the story, the place and the characters that it almost felt as if I was recounting my own childhood memories. The story just swoops you up and takes you away and that’s one thing I think all great stories have to do. This is partly because of the writing, which is amazing considering this is a debut, but I think it’s also partly because of the setting, that just felt so real and magical and nostalgic all by itself.
The friends-to-lovers trope
Seeing the bond between Percy and Sam develop from strangers to friends to best friends to crushes to more was amazing. Their feelings developed at a natural, slow pace given their age and it was wonderful to see them grow up together, become each others closest confidantes, understand each other like nobody else ever could and then, throughout the years, watch as those feelings turned romantic. It’s definitely one of my favorite stories with the friends-to-lovers trope I’ve read recently.
And more, more, more
Though I listed a few of my favorite things about this book, I could go on for a while longer. Sam is one of my favorite book boyfriends now for sure – I adored this little science nerd turned doctor. The banter between him and Percy was so nice and natural to read. I also adored Sam’s brother Charlie and his flirty ways. As did I love Percy’s complicated frenemy-turned-friend Delilah. I also quite enjoyed and related to Percy herself, even if I didn’t always understand her decisions.
The one downside
You’ve heard me raving about everything that happened in the flashback chapters, but I haven’t said a lot about the present. And that’s because the present chapters, while definitely intriguing and addictive enough to keep me reading to find out what happened, also felt a bit too short in comparison. I mean, we see this whole romance unfurling over the course of 6 years, then one thing happening to destroy it all and just one weekend to rekindle it? It felt a little rushed to me and took me out of the story a bit. Also, finding out what actually happened and how every character responded to it also felt a little rushed and I would have preferred to have seen some more time spent on the aftermath and the characters actually discussing it more.
Despite my nitpick about the rushed ending, I absolutely ADORED Every Summer After. It is the perfect summer read that hits all the emotional spots and will have you feeling all the nostalgia for those warm, carefree summer days of our youth. I think this will definitely become a story I’ll revisit every summer from now on.