The Summer of Us
By Cecilia Vinesse
Published June 5, 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
I am not the biggest fan of YA contemporaries, but when I read the description of The Summer of Us by Cecelia Vinesse, I jumped at it. What’s not to love about a book about five recent high school graduates traipsing across Europe with lots of drama?
Best friends Aubrey and Rae are embarking on a two-week trip to Europe, with their friends Jonah (Aubrey’s boyfriend), Clara (Rae’s secret crush), and Gabe (who Aubrey kissed three weeks earlier). Aubrey and Rae are both having a pre-college freakouts. Aubrey is going to go to school in New York with Jonah, but she’s worrying if she made the right decision. She’s also wondering why Gabe has been avoiding her since their unexpected kiss, and she’s worried that she and Rae are growing apart.
Rae has decided to move to Australia for college, thinking that she needs to escape from her current life and her seemingly hopeless feelings for Clara. She and Aubrey usually share everything, but Rae hasn’t confided in Aubrey about her crush. Aubrey told Rae about the kiss with Gabe, but she’s keeping quiet about her uncertainty about her future. These secrets are driving a wedge between the friends and they have to figure out whether their friendship will continue.
I identified with Aubrey, who’s anxious and a planner, and has every detail of the trip mapped out (something her friends occasionally mock her for, but without her, they’d probably be missing a lot of trains). The transition from high school can be a hard one, and The Summer of Us really captures the uncertainty of this time. All of the characters are struggling a bit, wondering if they’ve made the right choices for their future. I really liked that there’s just as much emphasis on friendships as there is on romance.
This book is really adorable, and it’s the perfect fun fast summer read (maybe for your summer vacation in Europe if you’re lucky).
I received an ARC for review from Amazon Vine.