Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ARC Review: Summer of Sloane

Title: Summer of Sloane
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Source: eARC from Disney-Hyperion

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

My Review

If you're looking for a beachy read this summer, look no further than Erin L. Schneider's debut novel, Summer of Sloane. This novel has just about everything that you could want from a beach read - a tropical setting, summer parties,  and romance that is sure to sweep readers off their feet. Schneider's debut is emotional, fierce, and sticky sweet just like its setting, Hawaii.

Sloane McIntyre has just finished her junior year of high school, and she's all set to take her annual summer trip to Hawaii to visit and stay with her mom. The day before her flight, Sloane's best friend reveals a terrible secret about herself and Sloane's boyfriend, Tyler. Sloane is so angry that she takes out all her aggression on Tyler's nose when he tries to explain, leading her with a busted hand and a huge black cast. She's overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions, but goes to Hawaii anyway, hoping that the summer sun will cure her case of the blues. She soon finds out that the summer heat, surf, and a crowd of old and new friends is the cure that she needs to get her life back in order.

If you're guessing from the synopsis that this book is about cheating, you're correct. Cheating is one of those topics that seem to steer people away from reading books, but not me. As a reader, I often find myself curious to see how authors handle topics like this. And let's face it, cheating happens in real life, so why not read about it? Ms. Schneider did a wonderful job at portraying how cheating, especially being on the receiving end, can make a person question everything about himself/herself. Readers are there with Sloane as she deals with the betrayal and pieces herself back together. It's truly something beautiful to see, and I loved seeing how Sloane went from being so angry to truly finding herself.

On top of the cheating plotline, there's also a romance in the novel. Sloane quickly discovers that she's attracted to island newcomer, Finn, and even after a terrible first impression, the two hit it off and start a beautiful relationship. I loved seeing Sloane and Finn together. I thought that they were a very well balanced couple, and they really brought out the best in one another.

Now the characters in this book aren't perfect, but who wants that in a YA novel anyway? I loved that Erin created a core group of such flawed characters. Obviously Sloane isn't perfect, and she even goes as far as blaming herself for being cheated on. She has so much to think about, and eventually realizes that she can change for the better, even if she was happy with herself before everything with Tyler and Mick happened. Sloane's twin brother isn't perfect, either, and he finds himself in a not-so-great situation that mirrors what his sister is going through. The supporting characters from the mainland (Mick and Tyler) and the island (Finn, Mia, Shep) aren't perfect either, and I really just liked seeing how everyone was able to overcome their flaws or live with them. I really enjoyed reading about all of these teenage characters, and I think that a lot of readers will appreciate Erin's character's, flaws and all.

Erin's writing is pretty good in Summer of Sloane. It's not too cheesy or full of prose. It's exactly what it needs to be for an emotional and fun contemporary. I really enjoyed reading her writing and Sloane's point of view. I was also really glad to see little aspects of Erin's heritage and life history come out in Sloane.

All in all, Erin L. Schneider's Summer of Sloane, is one of my favorite books so far this year. It's fun, sweet, and can really be a book that many people can relate to. I like how Ms. Schneider blended so many different plots and subplots, characters, and situations into a story that really helps one character overcome a horrible event in her life. I would recommend Summer of Sloane to anyone looking for a book with a dreamy setting or to fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu, and - although Hawaiian - should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal; their baby boy, Kellan; a rowdy German shepherd named Ronin; and two crazy cats, Ono and Poke. She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers.

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