The Summer of Everything

Interlude. Sept. 2020. 312p. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781945053917.
Gr 9 Up–Winters’ latest novel is a coming-of-age romance that follows Wes during the summer between high school and college. Wes has no idea what he wants to study or do in the future, but he knows that he likes his life as it is. He loves living in Santa Monica, CA, his job at a local indie bookstore, his diverse group of friends who work with him, and he (secretly) loves his best friend Nico. He knows that falling in love with your best friend is a bad idea, especially since he does not know if Nico is gay or bi/pan. When Wes finds out that his beloved bookstore is likely closing at the end of the summer, he and his friends rally all their efforts to save the store. This novel is full of bookish, geeky pop culture references. While the characters’ musical choices from the ‘90s and earlier may not be familiar to teen readers, the social media references place this book firmly in the present. The lovable cast of characters, their friendships, and their love for their bookstore make this a great choice. Discussions of race (Wes’s mom is white and his dad is Black), privilege, and stereotypes about gender and sexual orientation come up naturally in the story as the characters support each other through whatever happens.
VERDICT Hand this book to fans of realistic fiction looking for a quick, mostly light read that is full of heart.

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