The perfect book to get you ready for summer — or for reading poolside/in a hammock/lounging on a picnic blanket/etc. — arrives in the form of Two Summers by Aimee Friedman. With a Sliding Doors-esque premise, Two Summers follows the aptly named Summer through two possibilities for a summer that will change her life.
ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . .
ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . .
When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds. In one, she travels to France, where she’s dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue — but nothing is as it seems.
In both summers, she will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. What may break her, though, is a terrible family secret, one she can’t hide from anywhere. In the end, it may just be the truth she needs the most.
From New York Times bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.
I loved following Summer through these two “what if” scenarios — and seeing how each different experience impacts her in various ways, and witnessing the differences, similarities, and inevitabilities of each possible summer.
Friedman does an excellent job of balancing the two possibilities — with Summer’s life going in drastically different directions in each possible version, but bringing everything full circle to show that some outcomes will be the same regardless of how you get there. In each case, Summer works through different challenges, faces unexpected twists, finds romance, and matures as a character. She has a lot of growing to do, and Two Summers proves that there are different ways for her to get there — but that she’ll get there either way.
Two Summers is also just a perfect seasonal read. I found things to love in both summers — not just the romantic getaway in France, but also the nostalgic feeling I got from reading about the summer in upstate New York. There was something dreamy and magical about both summers, and both of them were intoxicating. (It didn’t hurt that I was reading this book during a bizarre April heat wave here in Portland, so it felt like summer — and this book made me ready for summer all the more.)
With sunny, warm days ahead wherever you live, Two Summers is the perfect read to get you ready for the season. It’s a great escape you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Look for it in stores on Tuesday.