Summer Hours

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

I absolutely adored Summer Hours by Amy Mason Doan. It was so much fun to read AND incredibly real and romantic at the same time. Lots of surprises and touching moments, a strong ending, and a lovely setting.

It's a story that's simple on its face. Growing up in a beachside town in California, high school best friends and "good kids" Becc and Eric know each other better than even their parents do. They resist the pressures to conform, they hang out at the beach and at their other best friend Serra's pool for long days of swimming and joking around, and all along they fight an intense attraction to each other. It's unspoken, but clearly causing them both many sleepless nights as they prepare to graduate and start their "real lives." But then they're ripped apart by time, distance, and the fateful decision Becc makes to have an affair with a charming older man one summer when they're apart after college. 

But then, years later, fate throws the adult Becc one last chance to rekindle their friendship and try to make things right.

I enjoyed driving along in the convertible with these lovable characters. I could feel the delicious wind on my face and smell the ocean air. The plot is fast paced but more than once, I had to resist the urge to flip to the end to see how it all turned out and if they got the happy ending I wanted for them. My only complaint is that it wasn't a little longer because I was truly sad to say goodbye to this group of characters and hoped to learn more about one of them.

This will be a perfect choice for those looking for escapist yet high quality summer reading.


Thank you Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved and devoured Doan's debut novel SUMMER LIST, so I've been looking forward to her follow-up SUMMER HOURS for months and luckily got a NetGalley copy. I work in media and read a ton of books and scripts for my job, and it's hard to find a lot of stories that stand out and keep you engaged. I wondered if Doan's second novel would have the same effect -- where I can't put it down. 

And it did. There was definitely no sophomore slump. Doan has a real talent for drawing characters who are totally distinct, her writing is so well-detailed (and funny in an effortless way) that I was immediately invested in all her characters - Becc, Eric, Cal, Serra, Maggie, Francine.

Her other talent is keeping a mystery alive throughout, constantly keeping you guessing what's going to happen. Again in an effortless way (because this isn't a mystery mystery it's a love story about romantic love, friendship and self-love) where you find yourself at the end of a chapter and you have to keep reading. Because you want to know how the characters are going to evolve and how they're going to come together or not or who they're going to come together with. What happened in the past? What's going to happen in the future? Even characters you don't expect to have a big role surprise you in the end.

Basically Doan's fantastic in weaving a tapestry together where all the dangling strings come together in ways you don't expect and don't even think about because you're immersed in her story each page. In addition to the richly drawn characters, I loved the California setting north and south. Having lived in both and in many of the places her characters traveled, I can say she nailed the details and evoked these places perfectly whether you've been to them or not. She's great at making her settings characters in themselves.

The movie references and other 90s cultural references are so fun, too. She really puts you back in that era. As well as the late aughts. And I love that the story has something to say in a way that doesn't hit you over the head at all - the commentary on journalism and how it changed with the internet is written humorously and it's just real, you feel the character's own struggles along with a bigger societal shift. Same with the MeToo and feminist aspects to the story which I loved and which were also done so deftly as part of the story that made their effectiveness that much stronger. Again her stories just feel incredibly real.  Her stories are both relatable and they introduce you to new worlds (journalism, film, art) where you're accidentally learning some things while being deeply engaged in the story.

I love finding a writer who I now feel like I can always rely on to deliver stories that will engage me on so many levels - emotionally, intellectually, socially. And more than that I love knowing that though I'll never be able to guess her endings, I'll always know how good I'll feel at the end of her novels. And I know I'll never feel that disappointed, incomplete feeling I've often felt at the end of novels. Her stories always feel complete and satisfying, meaningful and hopeful.
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This was such a heartwarming, intelligent, romantic, and enjoyable read! The characters are sympathetic but real and flawed, and the writing flows beautifully. 

Rebecca and her best friend Eric have never given into their undeniable attraction, but they are clearly meant for each other. Or are they?  When college sends these two to opposite sides of the country, Rebecca, weighed down by her good-girl image, gives into temptation and dates the one person she knows she shouldn't: the alluring older man who just happens to be Eric's worst enemy and "stepfather-figure." It seems nobody will get their happy ending.

But years later, with the wisdom of time, there's a second chance at love, or at least understanding, as she drives up the Californian coast highway to an old friend's wedding. I greatly enjoyed this coming-of-age/road trip tale and read it in one big gulp as I was very anxious to know what would happen. I look forward to more by this author.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoyed so many things about this charming book. Over the few days I was reading it, I looked forward to firing up my Kindle so I could get back to riding along with Becc and sharing her observations, hopes, and frustrations. (In fact, I was enjoying reading it on my phone so much, I almost didn't notice when the tire shop took 90 minutes longer than promised to finish working on my car :))

Amy Mason Doan included so many thoughtful details about the character and her world that helped bring her protagonist to life. There was a healthy dollop of suspense, too. By the end of the story, the past and present threads are connected for a satisfying ending--with a few welcome surprises along the way.

Looking forward to what's next from Amy Mason Doan.
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This story takes you from the very beginning of Becc and Eric’s story to their present day, more than a decade later.

I’m high school Becc and Eric has been friends. They spent time together with their other best friend, they were the three amigos.

But Becc always felt the most pressure to be perfect, to be the good girl.
She felt herself falling for Eric but by the end of senior year, nothing had happened.

Eric was in a bad place emotionally,he was upset about his parents’ divorce and his mom’s rebound. His mother was dating a younger man called Cal.

Becc tried to stay connected with Eric when they all left for college but they drifted apart.
She also had to deal with her attraction to Cal. He was over a decade older than her, handsome, rich, charming and single again after splitting with Eric’s mom.

Becc and Cal had a secret relationship. It wasn’t just a fling but when it ended and Eric resurfaced, Becc felt she could never tell him about it.
But if she couldn’t be honest with Eric, could she ever be in a relationship with him?

A decade later, Becc and Eric are driving together to their friend’s wedding. All we know is that they haven’t talked in all of these years. Becca feels that what happened was her fault and she’s hoping to reconnect after all this time. She wants forgiveness at the very least, she longs for a second chance.

It was a very detailed story. Sometimes I wanted to get to the answers quicker. That’s personal preference only but it meant I wanted to get to the bottom of their drama faster.

I got to read an early edition ebook from NetGalley. Thanks!
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This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Moving, heartfelt, romantic, and hugely entertaining story of characters who - for once - - feel like real people. So much more than a love triangle. I have abandoned many books recently but Summer Hours was so good that I wish it had been a little longer. 

Beautifully written novel. Savor this one.
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I loved Amy Mason Doan's first novel, so I was eager to read this one. And it didn't disappoint. The characters were beautifully rendered and so very real in their dreams, urges, and regrets. I raced through the book and loved every page. I think everyone will love it.
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I devoured Amy Mason Doan's debut, "The Summer List", and was thrilled to get an early copy of "Summer Hours". I love Amy's ability to conjure the sun-washed days of youth and contrast them with the sometimes jaded adults we become, all in flawless prose that keeps you turning the pages. In "Summer Hours", we follow good girl Becc who, while breaking free of her carefree and boundless childhood, makes decisions and finds herself the victim of circumstances that lead to a future her younger self would never have expected. As Becc traces her past and her present, and the effect on her relationships along the way, "Summer Hours" examines how we can reconcile the decisions we make with the people we once thought we were.
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Becc, Eric and Serra have been best friends since forever. High school is ending and Becc and Eric won't give into the odd attraction between them. Eric's parents broke up and his mom has a new hot young boyfriend. It's safe to say Eric is carrying a lot of resentment for but when Becc tries to talk to him about his pushes her away. They are now in college, Becc and Serra are still close but Eric is distant. Becc runs into Cal that is no longer with Eric's mom and Becc is tempted to let her miss goodie goodie image behind. I won't spoil this for you but this story is so good and juicy. Becc and Eric's relationship evolution is slow but so worth the wait.
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Entertaining,touching and clever.  I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely and timely book.
Even though I really, really wanted to peek at the last pages to see what would happen when this road trip ended, I’m so glad I went along for the ride.
Characters, even relatively minor ones, are so intriguing and descriptions of places along the way depicted so vividly that it pays to savor every page of this wonderful novel.
The plot, a gender-swapped nod to The Graduate,  is an evergreen story of a good person trying to make it in the real world, and the scenes at her first jobs are so timely as women grapple with #MeToo and the power dynamics of the workplace.  But the issues are explored in a subtle way that doesn’t detract from Becc’s extremely-relatable story of love, hopes for the future, and friendship.  And her lifelong friendship with Eric, the boy from long-ago who deserves a second look, warmed my heart. 
Highly recommended!!
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Loved, loved, loved this delightful nostalgic tale of friendship, love, and the impact of choices we make as teens. For fans of stories about the West Coast and stories that make us think of many ""what ifs" from our own lives. Amy Mason Doan is a master of women's fiction, the descriptive and emotional portrayal of family, friendship, love, and choices women make.
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Becca, Serra and Eric are best friends in high school, but circumstances lead to an estrangement between Eric and Becca.  Both have career aspirations that  are not fully realized 10 years after graduation.  The story follows them from high school, through college, to a road trip for Serra’s wedding ten years later.  Becca is trying to find out who she is, while her relationship with Eric fluctuates.  I enjoyed this ARC from Netgalley, and recommend for readers of women’s fiction.
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Sometimes the things one does as a teenager can affect everything in your life thereafter. This is something Becc discovers as her choices affected her longtime friendship with Eric and tempers her everyday life. Summer Hours weaves a story of the past as they play against the present in Becc’s life.
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I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this wonderful novel. There is so much to love about The Summer Hours. The characters are well-drawn and complex, the setting up and down the west coast took me on a glorious trip, and the story felt nostalgic and familiar. This is a story about growing up, coming of age, and learning to balance ambition with happiness—but above all it's really a story of the one who got away. This central theme along with the myriad of movie and song references had me thinking about my high school experiences and how things could have been different, what ifs playing through my head as I kept reading to see how Becca's affair with an older man, Cal, would affect her relationship with her high school best friend, Eric. Would Becca and Eric find each other or would her decision change the course of her life forever? I love that Doan used her experience as a journalist to create Becca's career—I learned so much about working as a journalist along the way. You are in a for a luscious summer treat with this confection of a novel. Now I need to go back and read The Summer List!
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This novel is perfect for anyone who has ever thought they should have their life completely figured out and put together by 25, anyone who spent their younger years chasing an unrealistic ideal, or anyone who was a teen in the 1990s. Great story, relatable characters, and it kept me up till 1 am because I was dying to find out what happened.
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