Such a cute yet well-grounded YA contemporary about a gay Black boy who is just trying to figure it out after he graduates from high school while also pining after his childhood best friend and trying to save his local bookstore. One of my favorite aspects of this novel is that Wes is genuinely a solid person: he's trying his best to help, he's compassionate, and he's respectful of the boundaries of others. I absolutely loved the incorporations of Wes' myriads of lists and checklist and mini-essays surrounding singular topics; they give the reader a sense of backstory to who Wes is without the actual use of a thousand flashbacks. There is also a really large but distinct friend group present in the book, where each member has a very distinctive personality and voice.
A perfect summer read for anyone struggling to make the transition from teen to adulthood and not quite ready for the life changing decisions that lie ahead. Wesley Hudson has graduated high school and is facing his freshman year at college. It doesn't help that he's also in love with his best friend. And that his second home, the indie bookstore where he works, is looking more and more like it will be taken over by a chain. Will he survive the stress of indecision he's dealing with? His crew of great friends just might help him figure things out.
This was an interesting one. It's been a while since I have read a book that is a summer romance, with the pandemic going on. Now, I loved the fact that Wesley and his group of friends worked at a bookshop. Being a bookseller myself, that was a lot of fun connecting with how they felt around books. That magic that only bookshops have and book lovers feel. So, that was my favorite part. The characters were eccentric, the pace of the story was a little slow, and I loved the way Wes and Nico ended up together. Every relationship doesn't need that spark or boom, sometimes all you need is understanding and respect. Overall, a cute book.
******Thank You, NetGalley for arc*******
This is the third Julien Winters book I've read and it will be the last. I enjoyed running with lions, but his last two books have really disappointed me. All the characters in this book are very one dimensional and I didn't care for any of them. Also so much of this book read as "I'm not like other girls" with all the characters putting each other down for each others interests and acting like they are so special for being into more niche things which I found to be so annoying. Julien winters books never really have a plot and are more just slice-of-life, so if thats your kind of thing you will probably love this, but its not for me. I just found this book to be very boring since I was just reading about the characters living their life with very little conflict
Wes is struggling to "adult" during the summer before he starts college. He doesn't know what to major in at school, he doesn't know how to tell his best friend that he has deeper feelings for him, and he finds out his beloved workplace, a funky bookstore, is in danger of closing. A story about growing up and finding your way.
This was a really fun summer romcom, really nicely written and a super cute romance. I loved the characters and the relationships, especially the friendships!
This book was so good, and it absolutely destroyed my feelings. It was funny, but it was also heartbreaking in all the right moments. Didn't love all the characters at first, but they definitely grow on you. Also, I would have loved to see more character arc for some of the characters, but nonetheless, this was a great read!
Will post a full review on my blog soon!
This book definitely had some good qualities - solid, varied characters and a solid start to a plot line. The book kept reminding me of "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, but I felt it needed more character growth in the sense of critical moments and was incredibly slow paced. Most of the book is spent planning ways to save this bookshop but then the main character literally skips every event? I'm confused by this choice.
Overall I'm giving it 3 stars because I will still recommend it to very specific people, but it felt a bit flat to me, unfortunately.
What it says on the tin. This is a big-hearted summer book with a diverse ensemble cast, a sweet teen romance, some excellent bops, and an indie bookstore. It's a foolproof recipe in Winters' capable hands. It owes a lot to teen classics like Empire Records, but also subverts some of the plot points and character beats that you'd typically expect. Although I sometimes found myself wishing for the immediacy of a first-person perspective, Winters writes about Wes with a tone that is both realistic and generous. A geeky, fun, contemporary read. If you're looking for more Big Summer Mood books featuring LGBT relationships, I would recommend the graphic novel "Bloom" by Kevin Panetta and "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
I loved the first half of this book. Wes is a great, likeable character and I enjoyed learning about his life, the challenges he's facing, and the vibrant, Santa Monica beach scene of his home.
Sadly, though, the will-they-won't-they at the heart of the plot quickly became unbearable. There were also so many supporting characters it was impossible to keep up. The writing itself is both beautifully evocative but also, at times, completely overcooked. It's a style that won't suit everybody and, while I initially enjoyed the deep-dive prose, I found them increasingly frustrating as they kept getting in the way of the story.
Overall, there's much to recommend about this book. The focus on relationships is fantastic, as is the commitment to diversity and fully-rounded characters. However, the central nomance became tiresome and subplots, including one involving Wes' brother, were completely skippable. I'll definitely look out for more Julian Winters in the future, but with reservations.
Julian Winters has this amazing capability to write a realistic feel-good book that doesn't ignore real-world problems. In this book he especially leans into the hard times his characters are facing and gives the reader a deeper look at them by showing how they handle a crisis.
A major feature of this book is that it features diverse characters from different sexualities, ethnicities, and walks of life who come together for a common purpose: saving a bookstore. It's a coming of age story meets Empire Records. Winters manages to introduce these various characters while not overwhelming the main storyline or giving them a weak characterization. I found myself getting invested in the characters who are a part of Wesley's life. I love books like this because it is realistic to have different people you talk to or interact with daily (well when it's not Covid...) and Winters has a knack for doing it without bogging down the story.
Wesley, the MC, is a mess and I like that Winters didn't give him any easy outs. He really had to struggle to figure out how to handle friendships, dating, college, and family. Winters uses the bookstore as a way to connect all of the threads in Wesley's life to help him find himself and figure out what kind of adult he is going to be.
There is a slow burn romance that is simmering during the duration of the book but I enjoyed how he balanced the friendships and the story of the bookstore with the romance. The main focus was on Wesley and his growth in the summer before college and it just happened to include romance. I really enjoyed the balance take on a romance and I would recommend it if you are looking for a nice summer read
Wes doesn't know what to do about his crush, or what to study in college (that is, if he even wants to go), or about his rough relationship with his brother, or what to do about the possible closing of the store that means everything to him. This is a book about a lost boy with a lot to figure out.
This book explores self-discovery, self-doubt, anxiety, and grief. This is a heart-warming book about growing up and finding your place in the world. There's also a lot of great representation with characters of different races (Black, Latinx, Asian, etc.), as well as a lot of LGBTQ+ rep (gay, bi, enby, aroace, demi, etc.). As with all Julian Winters books, i definitely recommend it!
I requested this book on Netgalley because I read Winters’ previous book, ‘Running with Lions,’ and really enjoyed it - and I’m a sucker for queer YA set in the summertime (especially when I read it in the summertime)!
This book follows Wes Hudson: comic-book nerd, bookstore employee, unsure about his future, and hopelessly in love with his best friend, Nico. He’s determined to spend the last summer before college doing two things: admitting his feelings to Nico, and working at the bookstore that has become his second home. When he and his coworkers find out some bad news about the bookstore, though, Wes’s summer plans are changed ... and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to figure out how to talk to Nico and just tell him the truth.
Coupled with the pressure of college and his parents hopes for him, Wes’s summer is not turning out the way he planned it. Like, at all.
This was a sweet, slooooow-burn subtle romance of a book, that reminded me of both the good and bad parts of being a teen, and trying to grasp every last moment with your friends before college started. Crushes, love, beach parties, bookstores, lots of tea, and lots of not-so-subtle flirting combined for a thoughtful, sweet, funny, romantic book. I really enjoy Winters writing, and am looking forward to reading his next book!
I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Loved this fun, summer read! Appreciated the diverse characters and bookstore backdrop :-) Will be purchasing and recommending to students.
Julian Winters' "The Summer of Everything" is a perfectly fine young adult contemporary novel. However, there truly wasn't anything unique about this story that stood out to me - it could have been any other YA contemporary.
Oh my GOD. Ever since I found out about this book I have been incredibly excited about it! SoCal, indie bookstores and intense pining sounded right up my alley, and if the same thing is true for you I can wholeheartedly say that you do not need to read on--simply buy the book, and I promise you will not regret it.
Wesley Hudson is 18 years old and just out of high school. Everyone expects him to use the summer to figure out where he wants to go in life, and have a solid plan for the next five years. But the only solid things in his life are his job in the local indie bookstore and his way-too-massive crush on his best friend Nico. When the bookshop is threatened by an awful generic coffee company who wants to buy the property, Wes and his friends start a campaign to save it. Between open mics and trying to get over his (apparently unrequited) crush, the decision of what he wants his life to be after the summer becomes more and more difficult.
I adore this book. So. Much. It is heartachingly cute, fantastically written, and the characters feel incredibly real. I loved the atmosphere of this book so much--the sunny Californian summer, sunrise beaches, the small, independent bookstore and ocean sunsets. This book really has it all: comic book geekiness, an incredibly supportive and empowering message, representation that blows through the roof, a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat and a hold-your-heart -and-sigh love story.
This was exactly the book I needed right now--a book to escape reality for a bit, that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and leave a massive grin on your face after you finish it. I honestly could not recommend it more!!
Comic book geek Wesley Hudson is in love with his best friend, but between dealing with his YA-writing mother, the potential closure of his favourite bookshop (that's also his employer) and dealing with his brother's upcoming wedding - he's got more than enough on his plate to worry about.
Julian Winter's new book, The Summer of Everything, is full of youthful, summer-inflused energy that reminded me a lot of the cult teen-film Empire Records, or the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels with music replaced by books.
But Winter's doesn't seem to know when enough is enough as trope after trope pile-up and the cast of characters fail to truly stand out from one another. Wesley (named after Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation) is 'geek-boy', his crush Nico is 'skater-boy', his flat-mate Ella is 'angry goth-girl', Zay is 'black friend' etc, and they rarely get to step out of their assigned pigeon-holes.
This is compounded by the plot(s) - not only is Wesley trying to reveal his feelings to Nico (the complications get ridiculous after a while), he also has to mend his relationship with his brother, while also trying to save his bookshop by convincing his crazy-gang of friends to go fundraising, while dealing with his famous mother, while worrying about school, while also having meaningful conversations about race & sexuality.
And that's my biggest gripe with the book, everyone reads like a 'zanny character in a rom-com' but none of them came across like people to care about - which makes it hard to invest in a romance at all. While there is a lot of good stuff here, and well meaning messages to go with it, The Summer of Everything is trying to be too many things at the same time
Plus, you also want to be very, very confident in your own writing before throwing shade at others. The thinly veiled reads of a successful vampire series just comes off as petty, and worse, unearned by the stilted prose.
If you're after queer YA romances, this might scratch your itch for now, but there are better out there to read instead.
The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters is published by Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press, on September 8, 2020.
Advance review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a fantastic story about coming of age and stories of love and desire in todays world. The author has beautiful treated LGBT characters with nuance and tenderness. The story is set in a seaside independent bookstore with young teens who work together to try an save the failing business that has become an emotional and social centerpiece of their lives, As each comes to terms with the inevitability of life and love, their stories are touching and joyful making this a wonderful read for the YA reader but also adults who want an insight into modern love and relationships. Truly delightful with fantastic writing.
This adorable and atmospheric book features best friends who fall in love and an interesting cast of minor characters. Very enjoyable!
So many things I enjoyed about The Summer of Everything:
* the protagonist, Wes, 18, gay, secretly in love with his best friend, maker of lists, trying to figure out the whole adulting thing.
* the setting. Much of the story is a love letter to Santa Monica generally and to indie book stores specifically.
* the very diverse group of friends, their snappy banter, and the ways they obviously care for and look out for each other.
The only thing that nudged this fun beach read down to a three instead of a four for me was the way it took soooo looonnnggg for Wes to publicly declare his feelings, when it’s apparent to the reader and to every other character in the story that this is a match made in heaven.
Thanks to NetGalley and Interlude Press for the electronic arc.