Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Summer Remains by Seth King

Summary (from Goodreads):
Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may or may not end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.

As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app - and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.

Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.

Rating: 5 stars

My Review: 

Oh. My. God. This book destroyed me. 

Shattered me. 

Annihilated me.

 Then it built me back up again. 

I've already given you guys an idea of my ideal books and characters. From the books I've posted so far, you can tell I love action, amazing female leads and a hot guy wrapped around their fingers. But I also LOVE complicated situations, impossible odds and undying love. 

And The Summer Remains? Made me cry like a baby. 

There is so much I want to say about this book, I'm afraid I won't be able to get to it all. Oh goodness, the feelings coursing through me while I read this book...were incredible. I felt so much within the span of five hours. Seth King is a genius. If his goal was to rip out the heart of his readers...he got that on pat. 

Summer Johnson is a twenty-four-year old with a serious throat condition. It means that her throat is broken. She can't eat food like us and is forced to have a tube drilled in her stomach for the sustenance--milk--she needs to stay alive. Her divorced mother constantly hovers over her and her father has never given a crap about her. I know if it were me, I'd be wailing and sulking about my life, about how cruel the universe is for giving me this condition. 

Not Summer. Summer is strong, brave and I love everything about her. Sure, she doesn't know karate, tae kwon do or any of those other badass martial arts but she is nevertheless strong. She never lets her body's shortcomings get her down. She doesn't complain about her broken throat. She's humorous, sarcastic and amazing. She is quietly strong, always believing that she can survive this. 

So when Summer is told that her odds are near impossible right before the beginning of summer, she is shocked. And when her doctor tells her that her only chance of survival is a surgery that is extremely risky, Summer knows exactly what she wants to do with her may-be limited time. She wants to have an amazing summer. No trips to Macchu Picchu. No skiing in Alaska. Just a nice summer by the beach and maybe fall in love. 

She isn't expected Cooper Nichols. Cooper bursts into her world in a blaze of intensity, light and color. He is equally sarcastic, extremely funny and incredibly philosophical. He asks Summer these questions, questions about life, death and religion. But he's not perfect either. Cooper has scars and instantly, he sees Summer as something special. They have these long discussions and as a lover of philosophy myself, I almost squealed every time it happened. He and Summer are a match made in heaven. 

But what amazed me more about this book is that this is no ordinary romance book. A central part of it is Cooper and Summer but Seth King is also sending an important message. Like I said before, Summer has a throat condition and a tube in her stomach. This means she looks different. Not ugly but different. She has insecurities like every other girl but her condition makes it worse.It saddens me so much to see her degrade herself in her head. She knows she is funny but she never thinks she is beautiful. 

Summer doesn't post on Facebook, Twitter, etc. because she feels that she is ugly. And she knows it's stupid. She sees other girls are posting about their hair, boyfriends and marriage to their soul mate and she thinks it's shallow. But it doesn't stop her for longing for a simple life like that. For a life without an impending surgery and possible death. 

However, as the book goes on, Summer realizes the true importance of life. Facebook, Twitter and other social media? They don't matter. We, today, especially teenagers, post things about our picture-perfect life, our happiness and other bubbly things. But do they really exist? Are we living behind a facade of perfection? Is social media just a way to show that we are beautiful, happy people? 

The way Seth King interweaves this message throughout the entire book causes me to feel breathless. There is an echo of this question throughout Summer and Cooper's entire journey and it truly resonates with me. 

I'm not going to give away any more details because this book is magnificent and everyone has to read it but I'll say this: Summer and Cooper are forever. They are two parts of a whole and when they collide, I love the feelings they feel, the love they show each other and their impossible courage. 

This book is amazing. It's introspective, philosophical, romantic, hilarious and so, so beautiful. The strength that these two show in the face of the jaded world, divorced parents and the pretense of perfection, is inspiring. They bring something completely new to the scene and I am so thankful I found this book. It is a masterpiece. 

“But whatever happened, I knew I’d always have this summer, and that first night on the pier under the stars, with the waves surging around us, when we both glowed. And armed with that, I was not afraid. This summer, and this life, had been a privilege. I was sure of that.”

I've given this book a five star. It is the only rating it deserves. 

Hands down. The best book I've read in the last two years. 



“Life's supposed to be a little hard. If your life is too easy, you're doing it wrong.” 

“You’re beautiful, and beautiful things don’t demand attention. It just gravitates to them.”

“If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.”

Seth King is a twenty-five-year-old American author. He enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with his family.

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