This morning I finished reading Five Summers by Una LaMarche, an unknown author to me. I'd never heard of her, nor her writing, but was intrigued by the synopsis on the back of the book, along with the pretty cover. The synopsis read:
Emma, Skylar, Jo, and Maddie have all come back to camp for a weekend of tipsy canoe trips to the island, midnight skinny dipping in the lake, and an epic game of capture the flag—boys versus girls. But the weekend isn't quite as sunwashed as they'd imagined as the memories come flooding back. . . .
The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring . . .
The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth . . .
The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle . . .
The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar . . .
Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable . . . and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart.
I love stories about the relationships between women and/or girls. They always feel very real to me...probably because I AM a girl so I tend to find things that I can relate to easily. This book was no exception to that.
Five Summers is a coming of age story featuring the JEMS-Jo, Emma, Maddie, and Skylar, best friends who met at camp and spent five amazing summers together. The perspective of the story switches from current day to past and from one girl to another girl frequently but it's not hard to follow along. Actually it's pretty nice to see the same story unfold from the various voices of the girls and see how they each perceive what is happening around them. It also helps to develop each of the characters because you get to know them better this way.
After not being at camp for 2 years it's time for the big reunion. Emma and Maddie haven't been back to camp since their last morning there, but both Jo and Skylar have worked there the past three summers. The girls are really excited to be together again...but nothing goes quite as they expect. Emma realizes she still has feelings for a former crush, Skylar is filled with guilt, Maddie has a secret still, and Jo is still the same tomboy daughter-of-the-camp-director that she's always been.
After several series of events and flashbacks, the girls lash out at each other and get into a huge fight in their cabin, after the boys try to steal all of their clothes. This is the part of the story that I felt like I could relate to the most. It's inevitable that girls are going to argue and fight and say mean things to each other that they later regret. Those four girls were so nasty and hurtful to each other but it was so believable because I've been there. You've probably been there too and it broke my heart that they were viciously trying to hurt each other with their words. You could suddenly see all of the cracks in the relationships and after a blow up like that, you wonder, can it be mended? Will they be able to forgive and move on?
Ultimately, the girls learn so much about themselves and about each other at that 3 day reunion. They realize that they can't go back in the past and change things.
I really liked this story. It was light and sweet and made me smile in many spots. The friendships were pure and reminded me of being young again. I think anyone who has ever been to summer camp and developed relationships with friends there would love reading about these girls and their "friendship pact" and all the rituals they come up with and continue with year after year. It's quite beautiful really. I'd definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for a quick read where they don't have to think too much or analyze everything. It's an easy read without being fluff and I like that about this novel.