Blind Reads Review: Fifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
Author: Michelle Dalton
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Format/Source: ARC/From Publisher
Love blossoms by the lake in this sweet summer romance, in the tradition of Seventeeth Summer and Sixteenth Summer.
Chelsea isn’t looking forward to her summer at the lake. It’s the first time her family has been there since her grandmother died, and she can’t break out of her funk. But her summer takes a turn for the better when she meets a boy who works in the bookstore. Josh is cute, sweet, funny…and best of all, seems to like her as much as she likes him. As the days pass by in a blur of boat rides, picnics, and stolen kisses, she can’t believe how lucky she is. No one has ever made her feel so special, or so beautiful.
But Chelsea knows her days with Josh are numbered. She’ll be heading home at the end of the summer—and he’ll be staying behind. Will this be Chelsea’s summer of love? Or will it be the summer of her broken heart? (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
**I read this book as a part of my Blind Reads feature. Go here to see my post from before I read the book, where I list the (very few) things I knew going in and my theories on what the book would entail.**
A Bit Different From My Previous Blind Read…
So this is only the second book I’ve read for my Blind Reads feature, and it already kind of changed the rules. I previously thought that I’d be getting all of my Blind Reads books from the library, by simply looking for a cover that caught my eye. But then last year I started getting books from publishers, and sometimes those books would be ones that I hadn’t heard of. And I’ve also won a few giveaways where the prize was a random box of books, and some of those books were ones that I hadn’t heard of.
So I figured that since I had these books, I might as well use them for my Blind Reads feature! So Fifteenth Summer became the first one of these for me to use for the feature.
Were Any of My Theories Correct?
Pretty much all of them. Fifteenth Summer is definitely a YA Contemporary Romance novel, set during the summer. The main characters, Chelsea and Josh, are fifteen. And Josh was Chelsea’s first love.
There were plenty of mentions of iced tea and lemonade (at least three mentions of each), and even one mention of iced tea and lemonade mixed together in one drink.
The story was set in Michigan, and I was right about it being set close to a river or lake or body of water–Chelsea and her family stay in a cabin close to Lake Michigan.
And while this book was definitely focused on the romance aspect, there were some other parts (her grandmother’s death, sisters bonding, an awesome book store, and her job at the diner) that kept me interested in the story enough to be okay with the fact that this is basically a romance book.
Back To My Regularly Scheduled Review…
I have to admit, that I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy Fifteenth Summer. Like I said in my Blind Reads post before I read this book, I’m not a fan of books that focus heavily on romance. I enjoy romance in books, and often find myself rooting for the characters to get together, but I need more than just romance to really enjoy a book.
But like I said in the section above, there were several things that I really did enjoy about this book, and the romance was actually one of them. I liked how Chelsea was a book nerd and Josh was an artist. I liked both of their characters a lot, and I thought the were good together.
I also loved the book store that Josh’s parents owned. It sounded like such an awesome place, and one day I’d love to own a book store just as awesome. (That’s my goal if the writing thing doesn’t pan out–owning a YA-only book store.) I also really liked the scenes with Chelsea in her job at the diner. I loved the interaction between the different employees, and I really loved Chelsea’s serial story that she wrote on the specials board.
It was also really nice to see a story about sisterly love. I don’t have any sisters myself, and I never really thought I wanted to, because most of the friends of mine who have sisters don’t really get along with them. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve read stories and heard of others with great bonds between their sisters, and this makes me kind of wish I had one. Then again, I have an awesome brother and wouldn’t trade him for the world. But it was nice to see that even though the sisters in Fifteenth Summer didn’t always see eye to eye, they had each other’s backs and were always there for each other.
But the part that I really enjoyed was the fact that Chelsea had just lost her grandmother in the past year, and how that affected not only Chelsea, but her parents and her sisters as well. I lost my grandmother in 2011, and she and I were pretty close. And all the things that Chelsea was feeling, all of her thoughts regarding losing her grandmother, were all things that I had felt and thought before. Chelsea still had her grandmother’s phone number saved in her phone, and I still have my grandmother’s number in my phone, too. The parts about her grandmother made me cry a lot, but I loved how realistic they were.
A Few Issues…
I did have a few issues with the book, but they were pretty minor. I didn’t like the fact that the book used exclamation points a lot in the narration. I use exclamation points all the time, on my blog and in texts and tweets and things, but it feels weird to have them in books. I also didn’t really like the fact that almost every time Chelsea put on clothes, there was a description of what she was wearing and how she did her hair. I realize that Chelsea’s hair is kind of a big thing for her character, and that she enjoys wearing vintage clothing, but I feel like if it isn’t important information to the plot or the character, we don’t need descriptions of every single outfit. Then again, I’m not really into fashion like some girls.
And this wasn’t really an issue, but I thought it was kind of weird that there were no chapters in this book. The book was split into three sections representing the three months of summer, and within those sections there were breaks in the writing, but not actual chapters. It didn’t necessarily make it harder to read, but it just kind of threw me off for a bit.
My rating for Fifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton:
Actually 3.5 stars. It was a quick read, and I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would, but it still didn’t wow me enough to garner 4 or 5 stars.