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my summer of love My Summer of Love by Helen Cross | Rating: ★★★☆☆

“I thought how money was like food. The smell, the way it came in portions, how badly you needed it. How hungry you got for it, that acidic longing which burned and sickened in your stomach. Firm muscular control was needed over food and money. Money could kill you, wanting and needing it and fighting its power.”

Much like many readers before me, I learned of this novel through the movie adaption (something that is very rare for me) and already had an odd mindset of what I presumed this novel to be. One of the biggest things both the novel and the movie had in common, for me, was that they left me craving more of the story. But not, technically, in a good way. But, since this review isn’t about the movie, onto the real dish on the novel…

I felt as though there was so much that could have been done with the characters and the setting. At times, the plot could run very slow and then sneak up on you when you least expect it to. It has the young adult edge to it and may at times read of a simple coming of age story, but does contain a certain darkness that can be both interesting and uncomfortable. There was, to me, so much potential in this story that went untouched. Which was rather disappointing in the end.

And even though it has its flaws, it does maintain a complicated realness to it. Mona and Tasmin are both an odd tangle of teenage hormones and that’s what makes them both appealing and frightening. You may not be able to sympathize with one or both girls and you may (definitely) at times want to just shake some sense into them, but I find that to be rather refreshing as it is such a typical teenage trait.

Onto the positives: the story itself is, in spite of its flaws, an easy read and entertaining at times. It’s the perfect book to read as a filler when you’ve found yourself with some free time. There’s the appealing elements of love, though twisted (which may be even more appealing to some in terms of entertainment) and it does touch base with various issues young women face in their day to day lives. And there are many parts of the story that will stick with you for a long time afterwards.
Each element of the story is tied up in one very dark and twisted bow.

During a recent reread of the novel, I did grow to like and appreciate the story much more than I did during my first read. It is well written and has some very quotable, realistic moments throughout the story. Although it had its flaws: it was enjoyable and kept my attention long enough to actually finish.
Is it something I would read again and again? Perhaps not, but it certainly wasn’t a waste of my time.

Ultimately, I do encourage that you give it a chance, readers. It could surprise you and could very possibly be your cup of tea. But, to be on the safe side, I should warn you that there are many moments in this novel that may trigger certain people — and while I try to keep my reviews spoiler free, I recommend looking into more in depth reviews to be on the safe side.

(And PS - the novel is much different from the movie, so look for the twists and differences in both!)

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