Thursday, May 16, 2013

How My Summer Went Up in Flames (Book Review)

Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:33 AM with 18 comments

How My Summer Went Up in Flames

How My Summer Went Up in Flames

Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Number of Pages: 320
Release Date: May 7,2013

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…



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MY THOUGHTS:

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I first started How My Summer. I'll be honest, sometimes when I'm on Edelweiss I won't even read the synopsis of a book if the cover seems like something I'll enjoy. I judge books by their covers. I do. I'm not ashamed to admit it. Sometimes I'm wrong and sometimes I'm right. If I hear enough good things about a book whose cover I don't like I'll go back and read it, but I'll almost always pick up a book if I like its cover. So I saw this one (cute shoes, polka-dot shirt, convertible, sunny skies, the word summer in the title) and went, yep, this is going to be one of my almost-summer reads.

How My Summer starts with our heroine, Rosie, being served with a temporary restraining order from her ex-boyfriend, Joey, after she accidentally set his car on fire. What happens was that Rosie saw Joey and his new girlfriend (a Freshman girl he had cheated on her with) at an end-of-school party. Rosie got seriously pissed so she took a box of Joey's things over to his house and set the box on fire in his driveway. She didn't mean for anything else to happen, she certainly didn't mean to blow up his car, but no she has been slapped with the TRO for her actions (and also for "stalking" since she can not stop herself from texting and calling him constantly, too). 

Her neighbor, Matty, is there when she receives the TRO and comes up with a solution. In a few days he has plans to drive across the country with his friend, Spenser, and Spenser's brother, Logan, who is going to the University of Arizona (or Arizona State--or some other university in Arizona--one of those) and has to go early to start his program. Matty and Spenser plan to make the drive with Logan and then fly back to New Jersey. Matty convinces Rosie's parents that Rosie should come with them to get herself out of dodge and away from Joey. After Rosie and her best friend are busted doing a drive-by of Joey's house minutes after she receives her TRO, her parents agree with Matty, much to Rosie's dismay. 

So she finds herself in the car with the 3 boys as they set out West. Spenser has their whole trip mapped out, down to the pit-stops, and Rosie finds she not going to have much say in the matter. So she finds herself in places she doesn't have much interest in (but that I think sounds awesome) like a cave in West Virginia, the Grand 'Ole Opery and Graceland (how could you not want to go to Graceland?). The road trip aspect was definitely one of my favorite things about the book. I've driven all over the United States and love stories that talk about places I've seen, and places I haven't yet. Along the way Rosie starts to contemplate her actions and what has landed her in this car to begin with. 

I thought How My Summer was ok. It certainly didn't blow me away, but it was entertaining enough for what it was. I struggled with liking Rosie's character. She makes some seriously stupid choices throughout the book and spends a good amount of time slut-shaming her replacement (calling her a slut and a whore, etc). There were hints of something more throughout the book with all 3 of the boys in the car, even though she is just getting over a serious relationship with somebody that hurt her badly. I liked Rosie's character arc and thought the writing was fast-paced, but ultimately didn't really connect with her which made me not really care what happened to her. 

In the end I would recommend How My Summer if you are looking for a quick summer book that highlights a road trip, hints of romance, and a real, if frustrating, heroine.

*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

18 comments:

  1. Nice review! I feel like I wouldn't be able to stand Rosie, though. She seems really annoying!
    Fly to the Sky @ Read Books and Live Green

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    1. Thanks, Fly. She definitely drove me nuts. I couldn't really connect, but I did enjoy the road trip and the writing. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Oh man, I think I liked this one way more than you did. I totally got Rosie and her actions with all of the guys in the car. But I mean roadtrippin with guys is something that I do all the time. I just got back from one, actually. Good review though.

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    1. Honestly, it wasn't that I didn't "get" her. I just hated some of her decisions. I love road trips, and have been on several, and that was easily the best part of the book for me. It wasn't even the hints of romance with the boys that bugged me. Her extreme, impulsive decisions were what did me in. I liked the book enough to get all the way through it. Which doesn't sound like much, but I "set aside" (ahem, DNF) books I'm not digging all the time. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I totally judge books by their cover, too. And this cover is SO cute! I love her outfit! I'm sad you didn't love this one, and I'm not happy about the slut-shaming. I may have to get this one from the library someday. Great review!

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    1. I'd say it's definitely worth snagging from the library. It really is a quick, entertaining read. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Yep, I admit that too – judging the book by its cover. But remember, if you saw them by their covers, you will definitely miss the nice story. I am searching for some good-to-read books and I think I’ll give this a try. Thanks for the summary you made.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I love the cover of this book... it's so cute! I think I'd love to save this one for a poolside read. It looks like one of those books! Sorry you didn't like it more though!

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    1. This would definitely be a good poolside read. It is a quick, summer book. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I've been wanting to read this book because of that cover (yes, I must admit that I was initially drawn to the book because of it) and because it sounds like a fun romp about a girl getting over her ex. I'm not sure how I would enjoy the hinting of "romance" between Rosie and all the boys in the car because really? Three of them? Why can't one just be neutral/taken? :(

    But anyway, I'll do my best to deal with Rosie (and the romance that I will probably find frustrating). Thanks, Natalie! :D

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    1. The romance aspect really isn't too bad. It really is just a hint with at least one of them. The book, for the most part, really is about Rosie and her character arc. I hope you enjoy it! It is a quick summer read. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I'm guilty of the cover thing too! If I hate a cover I won't even read the description sometimes.

    I'm looking forward to this book for when I need a quick fast paced read. I really enjoyed your review!

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    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. This seems like a summer read, but I'm not sure I'd be able to read it without wanting to slap some sense into Rosie!

    Sarah

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    1. It's definitely a summer read. And it's a quick one. I struggled with Rosie, but she does have a satisfying arc. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I request books by their covers, too, and hope for the best. And I LOVE the cover for this book. The story was only so-so, but I've been told her other novel due out this year is much better. Here's hoping, even though that cover isn't nearly as cute. :)

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    1. I didn't know she had another book being released this year. I'll definitely give her another shot. Thanks for stopping by!

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Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!