I LOVE EVERYTHING THAT JULIAN WINTERS CREATES!! Why I don't know if anything will ever top "running with lions", the worlds that Winters creates are so engaging, thoughtful, and full of life. What I love most about this book is that it is so relatable, complex in its delivery, and overall a blast to read! You will be rooting for these characters and waiting to see how their story unfolds!
this was very, very cute :')
i will admit that i'm picky with my YA contemporary novels, but reading this one felt like the warmth that slowly spreads throughout your body after taking a sip of slightly too-hot tea. and i just loved it!!
there were definitely little moments that i found to be cringe-worthy, and too much like the "adult author tries to be hip with the teens" style of writing that i tend to not like with YA contemporary, but my feelings about the rest of the book definitely outweigh those cringey lines.
i just absolutely loved the diversity in this book, from the racial diversity to the lgbtq+ diversity, i loved it all. i loved the casual queerness of so many characters, and it's something that i will never get tired of reading about in books. the aroace character, the nonbinary character using they/them pronouns and the casual discussion of a binder!!! the characters who are queer but comfortable not identifying as anything more specific!! i loved it so much.
i'm not usually a huge fan of slowburn friends-to-lovers tropes, but this was so cute and done really well!!
This book was just sweet and absolutely adorable. I’ve never been disappointed by a Julian Winters book, I love that all of his books are YA but appeal to the older side of YA. For all of his characters I can relate to them as they enter into this new world and try to figure out who they are outside of highschool. It’s a terrifying time and I love that we are getting more books set around that age range for YA. This book just had everything you want in a Ya novel. So much heart and so much love. I can’t wait to purchase a copy for myself!
I loved the diverse cast in this book! All flavors of queer, and racially diverse too. As someone who grew up in bookstores and is a bookseller, I completely related to Wes’ attachment to the store works at, and his unwillingness and even inability to let it go. In addition to the store closing, Wes is grappling with his doubts about college. He’s about to enter his freshman year and has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He can’t help but think college isn’t going to solve that... I think showing that kids have these questions and doubts is so important to readers of that age, to get them thinking about that and examining those within themselves, and realize that it’s okay to think that! Aside from the fantastic friendships between the bookstore employees, the main character is in love with his best friend, but I personally got bored of that conflict. I also wish we would have gotten more about his relationship with his mother—a YA author—who he clearly loves, but a little more time is given to his relationship with his father. Additionally, the contentious relationship with his older brother is a huge part of the book, as his brother prepares to get married.
Wes Hudson is ready to have the best summer ever! Recently returned from a month in Italy, Wes and his friend Ella have his family's entire apartment to themselves and an entire summer to goof off before starting classes at UCLA. But Wes' plans to enjoy time bonding with his friends, soaking up the sun at the beach, and working at his second home - the indie bookshop Once Upon a Page - are soon foiled when he learns of the pending closure of the shop. Determined to keep Once Upon a Page open, Wes recruits his fellow coworkers to fight for the shop and its place in their community. Not only is Wes experiencing working woes, his resolution to finally confess his feelings to his best friend Nico is continually thwarted. But Wes is not alone in his struggles and has an excellent found family of friends to support him as he tries to transition to life after high school with all of its challenges and responsibilities. The cast of characters are as lovable as they are diverse with many racial and LGBTQIA+ identities represented with care, respect, and depth. The story is engaging, the dialogue is hilarious, and the characters are truly relatable. This is a feel good book about friendship, love, growing up, being true to oneself, and learning to embrace uncertainty and changes.
The Summer of Everything follows Wes, a geeky teenager who works at his favorite bookstore with a bunch of great people, including his best friend Nico. With Wes and Nick, readers get to see their day to day lives as friends and get to see them work through hardships that fall upon them.
I loved how sweet and great this book made me feel. It absolutely has rom-com vibes which I always find a pleasure to read. This book really felt like a believable YA because the characters read like actual teenagers with actual teenage emotions. Wes is the most lovable character! He is the perfect nerdy, sweet, fluffy person! All the other characters within this book are just as great as Wes which really helps drive the story forward. There is SO much LGBTQ+ representation as well as other forms of rep that is beautifully done!
My favorite part of this book was its inclusion of books. This story takes place in a bookstore where there is constant talk about books and what is so great about them. Wes’s love for reading and his desire to have books be a part of everyone’s lives is something I love and deeply relate to.
The only thing I didn’t love about this book was that it was pretty slow paced and not much happened to carry on the plot till the end of the book. But, at the same time I can appreciate this because it was nice and relaxing to read something that wasn’t so dense.
Overall I think everyone will be able to find something or someone to relate to in this book and I highly recommend it. If you love books read this! If you love LGBTQ+ books read this!!
Early in The Summer of Everything, the main character, Wes, gets a fortune cookie that reads, “Change can hurt but it leads to a road paved with better things.” That’s a perfect summary of the entire book in one sentence.
It’s the summer after Wes’s high school graduation, and changes are coming whether he wants them or not. Comics geek Wes is anxious about heading off to UCLA in the fall; he feels like he should know what he wants to major in, but he’s got no clue what kind of career would make him happy. The only thing Wes does really want to do is to continue his part-time job at a bookstore, which he absolutely loves. Wes also loves his best friend, Nico, who he’s had a crush on for years. That’s one change Wes does want this summer—moving from friends to boyfriends. But Wes has a hard time working up the nerve to tell Nico how he feels, because he’s not sure how Nico will react, and he can’t stand the thought of losing his best friend. And then Wes learns that his beloved bookstore is in financial trouble and might have to close, which might be one change too many for Wes to handle.
Although what caught my attention in the synopsis was the romance aspect of the storyline, the major theme of this book is really growing into adulthood. Wes has to do a lot of growing up over the summer, and not only in terms of figuring out his future in college and beyond. (Seriously, though, no one should ever feel like they must have their life mapped out at 18.) His job at the bookstore has been a major part of his teen years, almost a second home, and now it might not be there for him anymore. Then there’s Wes’s rocky relationship with his brother Leo. They haven’t been close since Leo stopped hanging out with Wes when he was a little kid, but Leo’s upcoming wedding is forcing them to reconnect, even though Wes is still angry with his brother. All these changes force Wes to mature a lot over the course of a few short months.
As for the romance, I thought it was cute, if a little frustrating. Wes and Nico’s story mostly consists of lots and lots of pining, mixed in with some awkward moments worthy of a rom-com. Wes drags his feet about making a move the entire book, and the real progress in their relationship only comes in the last few chapters.
If the romance was a little disappointing, one thing that really did impress me, though, were the friendships in the book. Wes has made a lot of friends through the bookstore, and they are a vital support network for him over the course of the summer. They are very diverse group in terms of race, sexuality, and gender identity, and all of them are fully realized characters in their own right. No stereotypical cardboard cutouts here!
Overall, I’d say this is a good read if you enjoy coming-of-age stories. Recommended!
A copy of this book was provided through NetGalley for review; all opinions expressed are my own.
Thoughtful coming-of-age YA novel including long-time crush on best friend trope, a bookstore, and lots of thoughts about the future.
Content warnings include: famous parent, strained sibling relationshop.
Mentions of: parental death, recreational drug use and underage drinking, sex between teenagers, cancer, death due to cancer.
The Summer of Everything doesn’t have a straightforward plot, but rather is a collection of subplots that handle protagonist Wesley’s summer after finishing high-school.
These subplots include the bookstore he works at being threatened to close, his year-long crush on his best friend, the frayed relationship with his brother who still wants his advice for his upcoming wedding, and Wesley’s indecision about college.
I loved the saving the bookstore story arc, and just generally everything about the bookstore. Closely tied to it was Wesley’s group of friends.
I adored the book’s cast. The characters were diverse, and just such a great group of friends with wonderfully supportive dynamics and a variety of different personalities and backgrounds.
Wesley is gay and biracial (Black and white), and the side characters include Black, Latinx, and other mixed race characters. On the queer spectrum there was bi/pan, lesbian aroace and nonbinary rep.
Unfortunately, I think I’m just not vibing with the author’s style. I had the exact same issues here as with the other book I read by him. I loved the characters and their friendships, but I absolutely could not read the way they treated and what they said to each other. To me it seemed like there was such a disconnect between what was shown and what was told; there were several moments where the way two characters interacted seemed antagonistic or negative to me, but within the book the relationship was actually a positive one, or a character was said to come across as charming, but I found them vaguely off-putting. Since these weren’t just one-time cases, I felt an underlying dissonance in the character dynamics throughout the entire time and I was constantly second guessing if the way I read the relationships was true to the intent.
However, this is an issue that I suspect is very personal to me, plus I’m also not the target audience of the book, so take that with a grain of salt.
Similarly, while I adored Wes as protagonist, some parts didn’t hit the mark for me. I loved that he made lists, but I found their contexts very strange – which again, is very much a me-problem, since lists are intensely personal and just because his lists don’t match mine doesn’t make them less realistic or bad, obviously.
But more importantly, I found his… obliviousness, and other details about the romantic subplot, tiring to read. Overall the romantic subplot was handled uniquely with many ups and downs, which I liked, but especially in the beginning it was very standart crush-on-best-friend-thinking-himself-totally-smooth-even-though-he-really-isn’t, which just isn’t a trope I like. I also found Wes, as an 18-year-old, more or less seriously considering highly unrealistic google results about how to ask someone out and “relationship advice” really weird. Though I also know that such advice truly does exist, and that crushing on people can be terrifying, so this once more was more an issue due to my personal preferrence than anything else.
All that aside, I loved the messages this book sends and how it handled its various themes! I liked that it emphasized that it’s okay to be undecided, that it’s okay for the future to be uncertain, that even the most well thought out plans and the best effort won’t match reality, and that sometimes, even when it’s uncomfortable, you have to face things head on.
Overall a lovely coming-of-age novel with a wonderful queer cast, a slow moving plot, and various themes like family, love, and the uncertainy of the future.
This book is summer in a bottle.
There's so much about THE SUMMER OF EVERYTHING to love: the LA vibes, the bookish references, the music, the optimism, the charm. I spent this entire book dreaming of what it would be like to live this life, to be on the beach all summer working at your dream job with your best friend in the world and trying to come to terms with both of them leaving you in the near future. The stress and anxiety of pre-college life really was something different. I miss those days, and to an extent, this book hit all the right nostalgia buttons for me.
And then Nico. Nico and Wes are adorable, charismatic, beautiful characters. My favorite relationship dynamic is the one where each of the two characters thinks they don't deserve the other. Wes spends 80% of this book talking about how magical and brilliant and strong Nico is, and when we find out that Nico feels the same way about Wes, it hits right in the heart.
There's a lot of amazing things that this book discusses that teenagers need to hear. The idea that college is an <i>option</i>, not a requirement, is something I wish I would have heard more often when I was that age. The fact that people can be aro/ace and charismatic, bubbly golden retrievers is something that society as a whole STILL struggles to come to terms with, if the constant depiction of asexual people as stoic, robotic Otherlings in most media is anything to go by. The idea that things can change, that they MUST change sometimes, and how that's okay. How that's <i>good</i>.
I loved this book. It's a beautiful story, and it carries with it an even more beautiful message.
I'm a complete sucker for a good best friends to lovers story, and I was so delighted to see that the summer of everything gave us all that and more. It was charming, well-written, hilarious at times, and moving at others. His confusion and indecision about his future was very relatable, despite me being a masters student and the pop culture references had me rolling, though I did have to keep reminding myself that yes a lot of teenage friendships and relationships do feature current popular culture discussions heavily. I cannot fault the teenagers for behaving like, well, teenagers. The representation in this book was well-done in my opinion, and I adored the side characters too! The highlight of course was the bookstore for me, the pandemic has me away from my favorite one, and it had me more emotional than I usually would be!
Fluffy, nerdy, heart-warming! Perfectly captures the summer before college feeling. I love a YA workplace contemporary with diverse casts of friends and coworkers and this one did not disappoint. Fans of Julian Winters previous books will love his newest.
Bago ako magsimula, gusto ko lang sabihin na I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour.
Anyway, The Summer of Everything. Ang libro kung saan susundan natin si Wes, an 18 year old stunner (char) na naloloka kung paano magtatapat ng feelings niya sa bestfriend at long-time crush niyang si Nico while at the same time ay namumroblema sa adulting, start ng college life, relationship with his father and his brother Leo, at ang pagsasara ng Once Upon a Page, ang bookstore na minahal niya mula pagkabata at kung saan siya kasalukuyang nagtatrabaho kasama ang iba't-ibang characters na very diverse at talaga namang nagdagdag ng kulay sa istoryang ito.
Una sa pinakanagustuhan ko talaga dito ay ang mga characters, they have different personalities and are very diverse and sobrang enjoyable lang ng interaction nila sa isa't-isa; their banters, debate about music, their I-hate-you-but-I-really-treasure-you-as-a-friend relationship is just everything! This new-found family kind of trope just warms my heart and while reading it, the fire in my heart, the gusto kong magtrabaho sa bookstore or magtayo ng indie bookstore as a business ay talaga namang nag-aalab ng bongga.
And now na nabanggit na natin ang indie bookstore kung saan nagtatrabaho si Wes, it's also the perfect time to say na I luuuve na most part of this book happens sa Once Upon a Page, the indie bookstore where they are working. As a bookworm, sobrang nakakatuwa na nangyayari ang istorya sa isa sa pinakapaborito kong lugar sa buong mundo and their group conflict will revolve in that bookstore.
Now let's go to the romance. The romance in this book is suuuper slow burn to the point na gusto ko nang sigawan si Wes ng "JUST FUCKING SAY IT!" Kasi, jusko naman, ang lala na ng romantic at sexual tension sa pagitan ni Nico at Wes. Kaloka! Pero I can understand Wes' internal conflict din naman when it comes to having doubts sa pagcoconfess ng feeling niya kay Nico because there is the possibilty na baka masira ang matagal na nilang pagkakaibigan. So in a way, I am okay na hindi siya nagcoconfess tapos minsan gusto kong magconfess na siya so... pati ako naging conflicted! Hahaha.
I can also relate a lot kay Wes in the having-a-crush-tapos-minsan-nagseselos-to-the-point-na-hindi-ko-alam-kung-may-karapatan-ba-akong-magselos kind of moment. I relate so hard sa nararamdaman ni Wes kay Nico. Very close to home!
Ang isa lang na medyo hindi ako makarelate is kapag nagtatalo na sila about music, which is marami dito sa librong 'to, so medyo lost ako sa part na yun.
BUT ALL IN ALL, I enjoyed this light, sweet, and fluffy gay romance book. I like how this ends and I also appreciates how this is not just about Wes and Nico, there's a lot of issues and factors about gender and slight discussion about racism that adds flavor into this book.
If you're into a slow burn but cute gay romance, diverse characters, lots of talk about music that is set in an indie bookstore, then you should give this book a try!
Summer tends to be the most fun time for teen coming-of-age stories because some of the best ones take place outside of school. The movie High School Musical 2 and Claire Kann's book Let's Talk About Love immediately come to mind. Now, Julian Winters' The Summer of Everything is adding a new story to the teen summer of age lexicon, one that takes places in LA in the fictional used bookstore Once Upon A Page.
Wesley Hudson is an 18 year old Black gay comic book geek who planned to spend his entire summer working at the used bookstore Once Upon A Page and somehow confessing to his best friend and crush Nico Alvarez. However, adulthood looms in more ways than one: his father keeps asking about college major, his brother Leo wants him to help wedding planning, and Once Upon A Page is in danger of being bought out. Soon, all these issues pile up and Wesley must learn to face adulthood head on.
One aspect of the book that immediately drew me in was Wesley Hudson's internal voice. He sounds chill, anxious, and nerdy all at once due to the pressures of adulthood towering over him. A bit of internal dialogue that demonstrates this goes, "Frankly, Wes doesn't know who he wants to be in five minutes. An influencer? A teacher? Alive after suffering through that last chapter of his mom's book?" Wes' voice is also shown through various lists he makes to weigh his options and determine how much he likes someone or something. For example, his list titled "Five Things I Love The Most" has Once Upon A Page as number two. He calls the store his "safe place" where he doesn't have any stress and can be himself.
Besides Wesley himself, there is a wonderful cast of characters that play a role in and outside of the bookstore. Wesley's best friend and crush Nico Alvarez is a kind and compassionate skateboarder and a good foil to Wesley's flaws. Ella Graham is a fat bestie filled with sarcastic wit and is somewhat of a slacker. Kyra is a Black lesbian who organizes the events for the bookstore. Zay functions as a sort of music DJ for the bookstore. Lucas, one of the youngest bookstore workers, is a shy comic book lover. There are other notable characters like Wes' inscrutable older brother Leo, but the main teen cast stand out the most due to their fun personalities and diverse queerness. They are a near perfect cast of a coming-of-age teen rom-com.
With the help of all the characters, Wesley eventually grows into a more mature and level-headed person. A notable aspect of Wes' coming-of-age is how the book shows that it is impossible for anyone to be completely sure of what they what with their life by a certain age. There is pressure on teens and twenty-somethings to have certain things done in a certain amount of time, such as going to college or having a certain amount of money in your savings. As demonstrated by dialogue between Wes and Zay, kids of color feel intense amount of pressure to live up to their parents' expectations. Although Wes' personal circumstances can't be applied to everyone, there are some moments of uncertainty and lack of direction that will resonate with the reader.
Providing the backdrop for Wesley and the others is the bookstore and the Santa Monica area where the story takes place. Both places come to life through sights, tastes, and sound that will even make the most unfamiliar reader feel as if they are right there with Wesley and the others. As someone who has frequented big chain and some small chain bookstores, I found the bookstore interactions were realistic and enjoyable to read. There are stressed out parents telling their kid to hurry up and pick a book, co-workers "canceling" each other's music selections for the store, and tender one-on-one conversations.
A particular endearing aspect of the character interactions is how no particular type of relationship is depicted as more important than the other. This is especially notable when some teen rom-coms tend to make the romance the central focus of the plot. Wes does have a crush on his best friend, but he also has to work on being a good friend to him in the meantime. Furthermore, Wes also has to make a relationship with his other brother Leo work in order to get his help to try and save the bookstore and help plan Leo's wedding. Meanwhile, the group interactions are just as hiliarious and heartfelt outside the bookstore as they are inside it.
The only issue with the book is how unrealistic Wes' living situation felt sometimes. Even though he does have friends and family who bring him food, has his own job, and can live alone unsupervised, it felt a little weird to not see his parents check up on him more often even if they are working abroad. It would be more understandable if Wes was living on campus in college, but having barely any adults around was unusual.
All in all, The Summer of Everything was a fun and heartfelt teen summer story. If you're looking for a bookish, geeky, and queer teen summer novel, then this four star book should more than satisfy your needs.
I have to admit, I usually don’t delve too much into the YA contemporary side of fiction. When I do I usually enjoy myself, but I tend to stick to fantasy/science fiction a lot more. I saw the synopsis of this book and the idea of a bunch of teens wanting to save a local bookstore really interested me. Then I realized that the main character was a black comic book geek, and I really wanted to read it. Then I saw that one main plot point of the book is him pining after his best friend Nico, and I signed up for the tour. If you know me, you know I am a sucker for a good friends-to-lovers romance novel.
I really enjoyed learning about Wesley’s relationship with his parents, especially with his mother who is a famous author. I never really thought about how the children of authors would look at their parents’ works, but Wesley discusses his experiences a lot in this novel.
I also love how the importance of small local bookstores is emphasized in this novel. Those magical little places provide kids with a safe space to discover themselves, get their first summer jobs, and make friends. When I used to live in North Carolina, I spent my childhood in a local bookstore called Ed McKay’s. It was a very small chain, but each store had a tight-knit group of employees that knew most of the regular customers by name. That store also sold video games, music, and movies, so it was a haven for my young self who could get an old Gameboy game for 3 bucks and a few books for another dollar or two. This story reminded me of this place I used to love, and the good friends that I made there. Wes and his friends had so much fun just working in that bookstore, I loved reading about their California adventures!
The slow-burn crush between Nico and Wesley was cute to read about. I didn’t like some of the decisions that Wesley while he dealt with those feelings. Nevertheless, I couldn’t totally judge him for it as I understand how rough it can be to admit your feelings for someone. But I feel that the book wasn’t as much about the crush between these two and more about the growth of those in the friend group as a whole. This took some of the pressure off me when reading as I got breaks from the romantic stress to learn about these other characters.
I can’t really put an exact finger on what brought this from a 5 star to a 4 star read for me. It was a variety of small things, such as an awkward conversation here to some slower-than-desired pacing there. I also felt like I wasn’t as connected with the side characters as well as I would have liked to be.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for an LGBT contemporary YA fiction story.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
THE SUMMER OF EVERYTHING is the kind of book that gives you the warm fuzzies. Both a fun, romantic contemporary and a book about identity and taking the next steps in life, it's a stand-out book. It's not quite the kind of book you read because you want a gripping or elaborate plot, but it is the kind that you get lost in for a few hours and that leaves you feeling soft and happy, which is why it's so good.
Perhaps as a Star Trek fan I am biased, but Wesley was an immensely loveable character right from the start. He's dorky and awkward, and he's also a really nice guy. Like many 18 year olds, he's faced with the daunting prospect of going off to university, so he's spending this last summer trying to get the most out of it. Even though he's not completely sure about what he's going to do next, he's still very determined and protective when it comes to the things and people he loves and feels safe with. He's also a massive nerd, which is unsurprising considering his place as unofficial head comic geek at the bookstore, and his constant slight dorkiness is so fun.
Wesley was not the only outstanding character in The Summer of Everything. Julian Winters is great at ensemble casts, and this cast blew it out of the park. Though Wesley is definitely the main character, his friends and coworkers all stand out as individuals, and they're all awesome. My favourite was Lucas, who comes into the bookstore to look at comics and bonds with Wes because of that; the way they came out of their shell was so heartwarming, and I loved their friendship with Wes. As a group, the characters worked together well: there was a good balance between all the different personalities and relationships, and though there were quite a few characters, it was never overwhelming or hard to remember who was who.
There's a not-quite love triangle that was done really well, in a way that didn't villainise any element of the love triangle and showed that just because you like someone doesn't mean they're the exact right person for you at that point, or that you're the right person for them. The main potential relationship was between Wesley and his best friend Nico. The two of them were long-time friends, and it showed. They knew each other well, and it was clear that Wes had been pining for a while. The fact that they had an established relationship made their potential romantic relationship so much better: there was everything to lose if it didn't work out, and yet it was clear that it could go so well. Wes and Nico just fit together so well, and it was impossible to not ship them.
Julian Winters does an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere of the summer when you're finally free from high school but still nervous about what's going to happen next, without making it overwhelming or anxiety-inducing. It was so easy to dive in a feel like you're there, watching them goofing around in the bookstore or walking back from the beach at night. He's also done a great job of capturing the feeling of identity, and the uncertainty that happens even when you're sure of yourself. Who Wes is plays a large part in who he is and how he orients himself in the world, and that's something that's strong throughout the book.
It's sometimes hard to put into words how good a book is, and that's definitely the case for this one. Julian Winters has done it again, creating an escapist contemporary that's still so very real, and if you're looking for a book that balances summery vibes, awesome characters, an adorable relationship and a super cool bookstore, this is definitely one to read.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review as part of the book tour organised by Caffeine Book Tours. My post containing this review will go up on September 2nd.
Oh I just love a story that starts with 2 oblivious boys and features an indie bookstore in Santa Monica called Once Upon a Page which is just an awesome name. This was so good and just so cute with our main boys and their awesome friends most of them work at the bookstore with them. So this was about Wes and his best friend/crush Nico and their last summer after graduation before they go away to college. Wes was finally going to tell Nico he has a crush on him after coming back from vacation in Italy. But he just can’t get the nerve up to do it and ruin their friendship and he just can’t tell if Nico likes him back. Also he stressing about starting college and getting all this pressure from his parents to have his life already figured out about what he wants to study and he just doesn’t know. Ella his punk rock best friend keeps telling him to get over his crush and move on but he just can’t. While all this is going on the bookstore gang realizes that the store is going to be closing and bought out by a coffee franchise and they try to get sales up enough that they don’t have to close.
So I won’t spoil anything else but this was a real cute read and I really enjoyed the comradery of the whole bookstore gang plus kyra from the coffee shop who was a regular at the store. There was a whole crew of characters involved in the bookstore and you got to know a little bit about everyone and how they interacted with Wes and Nico and each other. I loved that the author used the canceled veto from Empire Records for any time an employee didn’t like the music another employee was playing in the store. Just classic I appreciated the reference since I love Empire Records. So all in all just really good and fast read.
Thanks to Interlude Press and Netgalley for the complimentary copy of this book in e-book form. All opinions in this review are my own.
I wish this book had come out at the start of the summer, so I could give it to all my library teens! It's a great bit of summery YA, and through the characters, you can tell just how much the writer adores Santa Monica. It felt like I was right there in the bookshop and on the beach with Wesley.
This book takes place mostly around an independent bookstore, so you know I am there right away and there are many ways that I relate to the main character Wes through his caring, his overthinking everything, and trying to figure out what to do with his life.
This book was fun and I enjoyed the characters and how they relate to each other, and the work to try and save the book store from turning into a chain coffee store, however I thought too much was going on. I wanted to focus on one or two storylines, but there were too many and I couldn't truly get into anything.
I liked the additions of Wes' list making, because that was a fun little thing in the book, but sadly I didn't love this book as much as I was hoping to.
Wesley Hudson has the potential to have it all, save for everything he cares about collapsing before his eyes. His mom is a famous YA romance-fantasy author, his dad is a talented chef, and his brother is on his way to being a successful lawyer. Meanwhile, Wesley has an inconveniently massive crush on his best friend, Nico; has no idea what he wants to major in; and Once Upon a Page, an independent bookstore and his favorite place in the world, is in danger of shutting down.
The Summer of Everything is the ideal summer book, complete with Southern California vibes, independent bookstores, close-knit groups of friends, romance, and nineties music. Julian Winters is skilled in the art of creating atmosphere. Grounded in mood and setting, every scene fills your senses with the feelings of summer. Beyond the perfectly assembled setting, the novel has a compelling and diverse ensemble of characters that will have you rooting for each one from the beginning—but especially Wesley. While this is technically considered young adult fiction, I would argue it hits all of the bases of new adults: the scary transition between high school and college, the fear of the unknown, the uncertainty in the choices you make that could potentially affect the rest of your life.
The Summer of Everything would be a good read for anyone craving a quintessential summer book, but it also goes deeper; recent high school graduates would definitely benefit from Wesley’s relatable journey throughout the novel.
(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)
such a sweet, fun book that i just flew through! winters is such an incredible mouthpiece for queer boys of color, who can find solace and representation within his stories