Boys of Summer

352p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Apr. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481463492; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781481463485.
Gr 9 Up—In this engrossing novel about friendship and tough transitions, three 18-year-olds are spending what might be their last summer together on Winlock Harbor, the island where they met building sand castles as six-year-old boys. The breezy setting of beaches and boardwalks belies the struggles each one faces in the passage between high school and adulthood. Wealthy Grayson has a way with girls and a future as a quarterback at Vanderbilt. No one suspects that his mother walked out on the family or that the supposedly healed injury to his arm threatens to end his college football career before it begins. Mike, born and raised on the island, works two jobs to help support his family and is devoted to his first love, who can't seem to make up her mind about their future. Ian is a wry songwriter and musician grieving the loss of his father while avoiding the clutches of his alcoholic mother. To complicate everything, the usual summer romances take a forbidden twist this year as the pals seem to fall for all the wrong people, and the resulting subterfuge threatens their bonds. Likable, complex characters and believable scenarios make this a juicy and satisfying read. Brody doesn't talk down to teens or resort to pat endings.
VERDICT A worthy addition with engaging, well-developed male characters grappling with classic coming-of-age issues.

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