The Summer My Life Began Shannon Greenland Book Review

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 Shannon Greenland Book Cover

The Summer My Life Began

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:

Galleysmith – “Though predictable The Summer My Life Began does bring the chick lit vibe.

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!

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. This sounds like an interesting read, perfect for summer!

  2. Lovely review, April, and I am so glad you enjoyed this. I remember seeing it on a lot of blogs when it was avail. on NG and then reading reviews by people who were really disappointed so I’m glad it’s not all bad! It actually sounds quite fun and I like the Gilmore Girls reference!

    • See, I think I am a lot more open minded or less discerning or something than other bloggers. Like, I read this and wasn’t like expecting my mind to be blown. I was expecting a light summer read that’s not going to change my life. I got exactly what I came in for.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! I agree it’s a great summer read that’s pretty light.

  4. Sounds intriguing! I always like stories where the family drama is done well! Thanks for the review! 😉

  5. I started reading this and got really bored very quickly. Maybe I abandoned ship too soon? It just seemed like one big cliche to me. Glad it sounds like it got better farther in.

  6. I do love character development…

  7. I liked this book, too … The thing I liked most was the fact that it didn’t demand too much of me. It was a nice, light, easy read. And I totally thought of Gilmore Girls when the grandma came into a scene!

    Great review!

  8. I love the Gilmore Girls! Thanks for the review 🙂

  9. I do love a sweet and relatively simple summer read–adding this one to my list.

  10. I like the idea of a Gilmore Girls like book, but the last time I heard that I ended quite disappointed.

    Still, I do have this in my review pile so I’ll try to give it a go sinc eyou liked it 😀

  11. Ohh, sounds like a good book. I loved the Gilmore Girls 🙂 I’ve been looking for more summer reads too so I’ll def check this one out.

  12. I kind of have these exact expectations for this book: good but not anything that’ll make me clutch my pearls (which I don’t actually wear, but you know…). Sometimes you just need this exact sort of easy read. Glad that it was good!

  13. While I think the cover is very summery, I could barely stand Elizabeth Margaret; I did not find her character very compelling and in fact I find her more annoying with her arc unbearably predictable. I loathe her even more now than I did when I first read this.

    • Ha ha, you definitely do feel strongly about The Summer My Life Began, I see. I’m sorry you didn’t find her compelling. I thought her arc was predictable yes, but I kind of expected that going in.

  14. YES. Your review sums up my thoughts exactly. It was fun and surprisingly moving at some points and with good romance and character growth and interesting family dynamics! Yes, fairly predictable in some spots, but that didn’t bother me at all.

    • Right, like I go into these books expecting a certain degree of predictability based on the packaging so to speak and this is packaged as a summer beach read, so there’s a lot you can guess from that.

  15. I read this one a while back. I really enjoyed it. It is very light, and def not a life changer, but who wants to read deep stuff all the time. I flew threw it because I didn’t have to think to much. It was relaxing for once. :o)

  16. Sounds cute. I’ve been meaning to read some fluff since I haven’t really read much contemp this year that doesn’t bring the dramz 🙂

  17. I don’t know if I’ll be reading this book because while I’m totally down for a light read, I’m just not dying to read this one with the gajillion that I already own or want to own. Buttt I had to comment and say YESSSS GILMORE GIRLS. I like you even more now that I did before – and I already liked you quite a lot because a) your blog is fantastic b) you have great taste in books and c) you leave some of the world’s BEST comments. xoxo


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