Published by Createspace Independent Pub on January 24, 2014
Source: ecopy from Author
Reading Challenges: 2014 Summer Reading Challenge
In this coming-of-age novel, Melanie Collier is learning how to survive the college experience with few friends and a loner tendency.
She never imagined herself going to such a large university because it seemed just too impossible - too many people and too far from home.
Melanie's freshman year is full of social anxieties, the discovery of Creative Writing courses, and the chance meeting with a charming yet secretive Australian tennis player, Lleyton Harris. The culmination of which have drawn Melanie out of her shell and helped her open up to her new life at Indiana University.
Melanie becomes mildly addicted to the blossoming relationship with Lleyton, and she hopes that their banter and love of music can survive the summer.
The Other Summer Girl is the first book in the Melanie Collier Series. Stay tuned for The Fall of Us coming out late summer 2014.
The Other Summer Girl is listed as a new adult contemporary romance. I would categorize it more as a Young Adult realistic fiction. There was romance, and it certainly took up a lot of the book, at least in the main characters eyes, but I think a much bigger focus of the book was watching Melanie adjust to college life during her freshman year. The Other Summer Girl is a difficult book for me to review, and I am going to attempt to explain why.
On one hand The Other Summer Girl is excellent. Sarah D. Towne’s writing has this incredibly engaging and honest voice. I felt like I was sitting down talking to someone explain their freshman year of college. It felt so real. This book does an excellent job portraying the college experience for so many people. From dorm life to sororities to roommate issues, to parties. Everything was just like I remembered it. From a realistic fiction standpoint, The Other Summer Girl is fantastic. But… (yes, you knew that was coming)
The romance was just not what I was expecting. Melanie is so inexperienced when it comes to guys, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it made her become all about Lleyton. It seemed like every moment of every day was Lleyton, Lleyton, Lleyton. Which would have been fine if I thought he was this amazing guy. But he just gave me an uneasy feeling every time I saw him. I wanted so badly to believe that he is this great guy, but all of these things kept happening that would make me just not trust him. I trusted that he liked Melanie, but I just didn’t trust that she was the only one he “liked”. And because Mel was just so young and fresh faced with everything, I just wanted to protect her from scummy guys.
But then again, I would remind myself that even though Lleyton might be a scumbag (or maybe not, but even if I thought he was.) that he was oh so very realistic. Not every book can be all sunshine and butterflies when it comes to romance. Not every guy is going to be into grand gestures, and sappy romance. Lleyton was like countless college guys. Some could even say that he didn’t do a thing wrong. He was just “hanging out” with Melanie. He didn’t put labels on anything, but you could tell that Melanie thought it was more than that.
Once I finished the book, I sat back and thought about it. Even though I disliked Lleyton most of the time, my realistic side won out. Sarah D. Towne wrote a great realistic fiction book. Not every romantic contemporary ends with the love of your life HEA, especially during your freshman year in college. But if you look at the book from the perspective of Melanie’s coming of age college experiences, this honestly can’t be beaten. It is just so earnest, that you can’t help me moved by it. Am I going to continue the series? Heck yes! I want to know exactly what is going on with Lleyton, and what it means for Melanie. Plus, I want Melanie to grow a bit of a backbone and I feel like we were just starting to see that side of her at the end of this book. If you are looking for something that reads like a peak into a girl’s diaries, The Other Summer Girl is the book for you.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: