Summer fling romance was never my favorite. Instead of seeing it as a beautiful and charming romance, I see it as sad, heartbreaking, and full of regrets kind of thing because nobody knows what will happen after summer’s gone. So this is why I didn’t put my hopes up when I started reading This Summer. But what surprised me is despite of what I thought would be a book full of blah, this book became something more. Something a romance fan can look forward too.
The story starts with the reunion of estranged bestfriends Hadley and Will. They have been bestfriends since they were little because they live next door. Window to window, they spent every moment almost together, school, summer camp, even slumber parties. They were inseparable and almost started a relationship that is more than just friends, until Will suddenly left their neighborhood and Hadley, with no goodbyes or explanations. But after two years, with Hadley’s last year at summer camp (headed by her father and where she works as a counselor) and before her college life begins, destiny brought back Will, and both of them are back again to before everything between them started falling apart.
Hadley and Will’s story is not new to those who loves to read contemporary books. Childhood bestfriends who almost stepped up their relationship to something more until something drove them apart and left them and their relationship hanging. Then time pass and suddenly destiny brings them back together. With unresolved misunderstandings and their relationship uncertain because they both know whatever happened to them two years ago didn’t end with Will leaving. What I liked in This Summer is the uncertainty if these lovers will make it, or will everything be just this summer.
Their story may not be new but Katlyn Duncan had her way of bringing out the feelings and emotions of the characters. What I thought would be just a cheesy romance book turned out to be something that touched my heart. These two people may have flaws but you won’t mind them as you read the book because they were both realistic and reasonable. Will’s way of staying away from Hadley might be annoying for some people but his reason for leaving and keeping distance justified his actions. Rather than feeling annoyed at him, I felt sad and I wanted to comfort him. They weren’t just two people attracted to each other. It took years to develop their relationship into something more, and being apart just proved them both how much they mean to each other. They were friends and lovers. Hadley was understanding and wasn’t this whiny and pushy heroine. She knows when to press for answers and when to be a friend.
Honestly, I didn’t like what Will did. Leaving without any goodbyes, even to his bestfriend, was kind of a jackass move. He knows Hadley will be hurt and yet he didn’t bother calling or telling her his whereabouts. Seriously, you could have called dude. I dislike characters who does this and when they return they expect people to treat him normally, as if nothing happened. Luckily, this wasn’t the case with Will. He even intended of just being civil with Hadley. Of course it didn’t work.
I like how the author incorporated a lot of factors in the story that made me doubt if these two will end up together in the end. I even got to a point where I felt okay even if they don’t end up with each other, as long as they stay friends. None of the added conflict seemed unnecessary, rather, it added more drama and strength to the story. I can’t believe this book managed to touch my heart and even made tear up a bit.
Overall, this book is beautiful. I imagine this book would be loved by people who likes stories about bestfriends falling for each other. This book showed me that even if change is scary, it is something that will lead our lives into something better. Taking a step may be hard but without moving on and change, how will we know what’s beyond there. That summer is just a step to an even brighter and full of love season.
3.5 out of 5