“Summer by Summer” by Heather Burch

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Heather Burch’s new novel Summer by Summer tells the story of two teens who get trapped on a deserted island somewhere near Belize. Summer is the consummate good girl, intent honoring her purity promise. Bray is a rich kid with a bad reputation. Together they face the elements–and their past.

(*Warning* The rest of this review is spoiler-ish.)

When I originally finished Summer by Summer I had a very strong reaction to it, that has been tempered by a thoughtful discussion from followers of my YA Gal Facebook page. There are many instances in the book where eighteen-year-old Summer fantasizes about getting married, right down to what the fabric of her wedding dress would be.

I’m not against marrying young. (I myself got married at twenty-two.) But I’d rather give teen girls the message that they should focus on completing their education instead of planning what their fictional bridesmaids will wear.

On the other hand, abstinence without marriage is especially a good idea if you are trapped on a deserted island without access to birth control or medical care. What would happen if you got pregnant? Giving birth in the jungle sounds like death waiting to happen. But that type of reasoning wasn’t what drove Summer’s decision making. She thought along the lines of “If I have sex with this guy who I’m in love with, I will tarnish my soul forever.” There was also a scene when Summer’s dad questioned her about the sleeping arrangements and it was one of those “father guard’s his daughters virginity” moments that creeps me out.

I’m all for promoting honest dialogue about sexual purity with youth, but I felt like there were some missing elements from the conversations Summer and Bray had in this book.

P.S. I received a free copy of Summer by Summer from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions and review.
I review for BookLook Bloggers

2 Comments

  1. I haven’t read this one by Heather, but I was a huge fan of her Halflings series. I’m not sure if she is still with Zondervan or not, but they are a Christian publisher which might have something to do with the ‘theme’ of the book. As for girls thinking of marrying, I thought about my marriage since I was six years old. I knew I wanted a garden wedding with a white dress and long train. I knew how I wanted my hair, etc. I think all little girls think of their wedding day. Some even play dress up (I know I did). Do you remember the scene from Friends when Monica, Phoebe and Rachel all dressed up in wedding gowns when Phoebe was pregnant? And when Ross married the British girl, Monica had to explain that even though Ross had been planning the wedding for only a few weeks, Emily had been planning it her whole life. Yes, I think there is a time girls need to think about education and moving on with their own independence, etc., but there is something romantic and super girly girl feminine about planning the dream wedding and trying to picture who the groom is going to be.

    This one is on my TBR list just because I love Heather as a person and an author. Thank you for your review.

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    1. Those are really good points. SUMMER BY SUMMER was published by BlinkYA, which is related to Zondervan and Harper Collins Christian. I felt really bad for Heather when I read a couple of the Amazon reviews. Some people slammed her for the book not being “clean” enough and said it was too racy. Egad! The poor author can’t catch a break. I’m going to down-vote those one-stars because I think that’s ridiculous.

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