I read The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland on the bus ride to BEA and I have to say, it is a great read while traveling or a beach book. I found it to be absorbing, but not to require a whole lot from me on my end, except a bit of attention. To further define what I mean, a travel or beach read, to me, is a light book that entertains you while making the ride pass by rather quickly. It’s not exactly a life changer of a book.
The Summer My Life Began is a contemporary young adult book about Elizabeth Margaret whose whole entire life has been prey to helicopter parenting. Seriously, her family decides her entire future – Harvard, then working for dad and her mom still buys her clothes. When Em gets a graduation card from her mysterious Aunt Tilly inviting her to stay on the Outer Banks for summer, she immediately seizes the opportunity to break the mold and get the eff out of Dodge. I can’t blame her.
Friends, I actually really liked Shannon Greenland’s book. I liked Em as a character even though our worlds are very far removed from each other. You see, Em’s mom won’t let her cook because that’s what the help does. Yeah that’s right THEY HAVE SERVANTS. I have never ever met anyone with servants ever. Em, however, is a bit awkward. She kisses some boys and also really defers to authority, much like me. I can relate to that. Then, like Bria in Wanderlove, she meets a boy, Cade, and begins to loosen up and embrace change. I mean, Cade is the catalyst, but not the entire reason for the change.
Plus, there are family secrets! Actually, I liked all of the family dynamics at play here from the arm’s length distance between Em and her mother and Grandma. That relationship is so prim and proper and reminds me of the Gilmores on Gilmore Girls. I liked reading about the immediate closeness between Em and Tilly and her cousin Frederick, whom FYI she did not meet until going to the Outer Banks. It was nice to see Em going from being ill at ease to comfortable in her own skin. And I also just loved how tight Em was with her sister and how they would tell each other everything over gossipy texts.
The Summer My Life Began is not a bad way to kick off your summer reading. If you are looking to get through a flight or to just relax by the pool and shut your brain off for a few ours, check this book out. It’s adorable, has secrets, and character growth.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley.
Other reviews of The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland:
Rather Be Reading – “The Summer My Life Began was about discovery”
365 Days Of Reading – “Think afterschool special with some decent romance thrown in”
I Read Banned Books – “This is a perfect beach read book for teens!”