Author: Julia Green Publisher: Bloomsbury Published: May 10th 2012 (UK) Pages: 274 Format: Paperback Source: Review Copy from Bloomsbury Add it: Goodreads
It’s the lazy end of summer and Freya is about to start her A levels. Her brother Joe died a year ago, but she is slowly coming to terms with his death. She is beginning to feel ready for something new – a change. And then a railway accident brings her into contact with the gorgeous Gabe. Freya is drawn not just to his blond good looks, but everything about him, including his large, shambolic, warm and loving family, which seems to Freya so different from her own. And then Gabe’s clearly troubled older brother makes it clear he is interested in Freya – and Freya has some decisions to make about what she really wants.
FOUR OUT FIVE STARS ★★★★☆
In all honesty, not only have I never read a Julia Green book before, I had also never heard of Julia Green before and now that I have read Bringing the Summer, I am incredibly disheartened by this fact and I am extremely glad that she is now on my radar. This was a novel that really grabbed at me around the heart and pulled me into the story. I loved the words on the page, I loved the characters that came alive around me and I just loved the story that entered my mind and opened up into something new and inspiring. It was such a great read and I cannot wait to pick up another Julia Green book to find out that all of her books are full of such magic and talent.
To begin with, I found this novel a little hard to really get into. It was powerful and interesting to read and I liked the character but I wasn’t completely pulled into the storyline. I’m not entirely sure why, I can’t really pinpoint it down to one thing but I persevered and was glad that by the third chapter I was almost completely hooked. I wanted to know what was happening, where the story was leading and what, eventually, it all would mean. I think, one thing to make note of is that while this story is a great story and a good read, it is also a story that doesn’t really seem to have a point until the end. This was unlike other books I’ve read recently where the characters are driven by action, this was simply the story of a girl who was affected by an event in her life and how that event led her to a new family. It’s not fast-paced, it’s realistically slow, and just is. And I think this is what really brings the message home, a message that I truly loved; don’t take for granted what you have right in front of you.
Freya was an amazing character. I really felt in line with her, could connect and sympathise with her. She’s a teenager, boys are on but not fully on her radar, and she’s still in that ‘growing up’ stage of her life. So when she starts lying to her best friend and parents, she can’t really understand what’s really going on and I truly loved this. She didn’t want to be told that what she was doing wasn’t right and so she lied about it and it just felt so realistic and truthful. We go through so many things as teenagers, we grabble about and aren’t really sure how to fit in and this is really seen through Freya and I found it really inspiring.
Theo was another character that I truly loved. He was troubled. He had hidden problems from his past and he just wanted to fit in. He was the dark boy in the story and I have to admit that I was smitten. He was the perfect bad boy because he wasn’t particularly bad at all. He tried to be good, but he was just an obsessed boy who wanted to see more of Freya. I did really like him and I really like the effect he had on Freya too. I liked that she cared about him and wanted to help him and that this was something he realised when none of his family really cared for him. I like that they weren’t just a happy couple but that they were full of baggage as it just made the story feel that much more real.
On the other hand, I didn’t really like Gabe. I did to begin with. I thought he was interesting and I was inspired by how much he liked Freya but then something just changed in him, and I found myself not liking him. It didn’t bother me in the slightest how Freya was around him because I personally didn’t feel that great about him as a character. Even at the end, I still felt that I had lost all connections and ties with him. A little voice in my head telling me that if I met this guy in real life, I would never trust him. Which was a little sad as he was so kind and genuine and caring and really you should just want to hug him and feel sorry for him. I adored Gabe’s family though. They were all so friendly and lovely and I could see how overwhelmed and yet interested Freya was in all of them. Admittedly I did get a little confused about who was who a few times but once I really remembered them all, it got a lot easier!
The writing style of this novel was brilliant. It was easy to read, emotional and really pulled you in. I loved how it flowed and I just loved hearing everything from Freya’s perspective as well. She was a flawed character and it really came across in her POV narrative that really just drew me into the story. Like I said before, this wasn’t exactly an action-driven novel but this is truly what gives this book its charm. By being so realistic, it sets the story out like a girl just trying to write down the events that have happened to her recently that have changed her, and changed her they did. I liked that style of the novel and is something that I look forward to reading again.
Bringing the Summer is a quick, brilliant, inspired read that will really hook you in and take you on an interesting journey. It will make you think and appreciate what you have in life, it’ll make you acknowledge the things you forget you have and make you want to hug every person in sight (or perhaps that’s just me?). It was a great read that really made me feel happy and I just absolutely loved it. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice YA novel that isn’t complicated, but is light and serious all at the same time. It hits the shelves in the UK tomorrow, so go and pre-order or grab your copy tomorrow! You won’t regret it!
** I received this novel from Bloomsbury in return for an honest review **