When I Was Summer

When I Was Summer

A relatable novel about unrequited love, rock ’n’ roll, and what you find when you go searching for yourself.Sixteen-year-old Nora Wakelin has always felt like an outsider in her own family. Her parents and older sister love her, but they don’t understand anything about her: not her passion for music, not her all-encompassing crush on her bandmate Daniel (who is very much...

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Title:When I Was Summer
Author:J.B. Howard
Rating:

When I Was Summer Reviews

  • Katie

    Sweet and poignant. I see mixed feelings about the ending but I can’t imagine it ending any other way. Beautiful story about belonging and unrequited love.

  • Abby Wright

    Loved this book. Kept me entertained the whole time and had a nice upbeat feel the whole time while still tackling deep issues. The perfect summer read.

  • Kat

    * Thank you Penguin Teen Canada for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review *

    ACTUAL: 4.5/5 stars

    This story follows Nora, an adoptive daughter, a talented bass guitarist, and is currently in love with someone who is in love with someone else. Along with her fellow band mates, she's on a road trip across the state to not only play music (and maybe even get scouted), but to find out information on her biological mother. With three stops for three gigs, and three addresses of potential pa

    * Thank you Penguin Teen Canada for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review *

    ACTUAL: 4.5/5 stars

    This story follows Nora, an adoptive daughter, a talented bass guitarist, and is currently in love with someone who is in love with someone else. Along with her fellow band mates, she's on a road trip across the state to not only play music (and maybe even get scouted), but to find out information on her biological mother. With three stops for three gigs, and three addresses of potential parents, it's going to be a hectic week!

    In this contemporary adventure, Nora learns that love is not always a fairy tale, but also that she is stronger than she thought. Her development as a character was smooth but dynamic, and despite feeling more lost and confused than when she began, she never gave up. The writing style is easy to read, and the realistic challenges they face were well written too.

    Honestly, my favourite part of the book, beyond Nora's character, was the ending. While it could be bittersweet for some readers, I thought it was the perfect situation Nora needed to find herself, and her own perseverance to accomplish her dreams. Every contemporary novel does not need to have a 'happily ever after' ending, and I think this is a perfect example of how true friends will stick by you, no matter what.

  • Stephanie

    This is a solid read - well-written, compelling, and insightful. I'm glad I found it.

  • Jessica

    I love a good rock'n'roll book! Nora's love for music and her talent shine through this story about finding your place. This was also a very realistic portrayal of teens in crisis. All too often, YA books present kids with their shiz together, who know who they are and what they want, and have these mature, communicative relationships. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Nora and her friends have a fairly successful band, but they still have questions about what they really want, and who they really are.

  • Jessica

    This was a good book I really enjoyed it from page 1!!

    Lots of family problems but everything gets resolved. Really entertaining

  • malayna

    MY OPINION: ***

    I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    This book is set to release pretty soon and I'm excited to hear other opinions about it! I feel like I had fairly high expectations, which is unusual for me and ARCs because it's so close to its release.

    Nora lives by music. She's in a band called Blue Miles with her three friends, Daniel, Cameron, and Flynn. She has a crush on Daniel but he's madly in love with his on-again, off-again girlfriend Darcy (who was honestly AWFUL).

    MY OPINION: ***

    I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    This book is set to release pretty soon and I'm excited to hear other opinions about it! I feel like I had fairly high expectations, which is unusual for me and ARCs because it's so close to its release.

    Nora lives by music. She's in a band called Blue Miles with her three friends, Daniel, Cameron, and Flynn. She has a crush on Daniel but he's madly in love with his on-again, off-again girlfriend Darcy (who was honestly AWFUL). They embark on their first tour with the ultimate destination of the Magwitch, an amazing venue in good ol' San Francisco to sing with a HUGE band. Nora has received some clues about where her birth mother could be located and throughout the tour, they stop in places where she thinks she might find her mother (with the help of some fairly-deep and sorta-realistic sleuthing).

    The ending of this book is bittersweet and may not please readers (I was not entirely happy with it). However, the book sends readers on a wild ride with characters, romance, music, and the question of family and finding those who you belong to. I feel as if everybody has had some experience with not fitting in: Nora has never fit in with her Stanford-headed adopted family, which I think really helps her want to find her birth mother. Although her family is really good to her and helps her, she constantly talks about the fact that nobody understands her musical language.

    Her actual family is honestly a mess with fathers all over the place. It's a little bit crazy but I mean, I guess all families have a little mess in them. Nora learns that her mother initially called her Summer and I think that after a while, we understand that Nora and Summer are basically two different people, hence the title.

    I would recommend this book to readers looking for a middle-grade/young-adult novel about finding friends, love, and family.

    Main Character: Nora

    Sidekick(s): Daniel, Flynn, Cameron, etc

    Villain(s): Misunderstandings, family, etc

    Realistic Fiction Elements: This book is all very real to life.

  • Chelsa

    Picked this up looking for something easy and breezy. Not sure this book scratched that itch since it gets into some heavier subject matter but it was still a pretty decent read.

  • Wren (WhatWrenReads)

    2/5 Stars

    I have so many questions...

    This started out really well, I was set to give it a solid 3/3.5 stars. It was never incredible, but I enjoyed reading it and was interested in the future of these characters' band. But then it took a drastic turn...

    The main character, Nora, clearly had a very strong love for music, which was incredibly interesting to me, I wanted to see her thrive in her musica

    2/5 Stars

    I have so many questions...

    This started out really well, I was set to give it a solid 3/3.5 stars. It was never incredible, but I enjoyed reading it and was interested in the future of these characters' band. But then it took a drastic turn...

    The main character, Nora, clearly had a very strong love for music, which was incredibly interesting to me, I wanted to see her thrive in her musical career, but that was all overshadowed by the decisions she made. Nora seemingly spent the entire book lying to everyone around her that cares for her. She misled her bandmates and strung them along on a journey that they never agreed to. Every time it was revealed that she did something behind their backs, her friends were never angry but instead supported her no matter what. Kudos to those friends, because I would be sick of her behaviour real quick.

    This was a bit of a theme throughout the book, her friends

    did nothing but support and help her. Yet, she did nothing in return for these people. Over and over again her friends took risks for her and went along with her lies, and Nora never once returned any favours for them, not once. It really feels like she took all of their support and love for granted.

    And then, to top it all off, she lies to her family about a MAJOR decision: to search for her birth parents. A 16-year-old took advantage of her bandmates to use their trip to a VERY good opportunity for the future of their band (a major gig), to make extra stops along the way (under the ruse that they could play more gigs in smaller cities) to check out whether her online research for her birth parents would lead to her finding them, and she did not inform anyone in her family about this.

    I got very frustrated with Nora when

    When she planned this "excursion", she spoke that maybe she wouldn't come back, and then booked a one-way ticket. I cannot imagine someone, who has a positive relationship with their family, would think to go all that way, cut off communication with their parents, just to search for women who never knew her, and THEN say that maybe she just won't go back home??? And the cherry on top? Her leaving meant she missed her final exams.

    More times than once she took a lot of money from one of her friends (but to her it's okay because her friend has parents that don't seem to care about him, even though this fact is something that causes her friend to fall into a depression, so she takes the money with no regrets??) I just don't understand how anyone around her can deal with her.

    This turned into a rant review really quickly, and I'm sorry for that, I really wanted to enjoy this. I wanted to root for this band and for this group of friends to succeed, but instead, I spent the whole book hating Nora and everything she did to the people around her. The audacity she had to just completely abandon her family to go find someone she had no info about, no idea where she really was and no clue if what she was walking into was going to be safe, I just can't get over that. The fact that she wanted to look for her birth parents to know who she really is biologically is understandable, but she should have included her family in this decision and done it properly.

    Before this gets WAY too long, I'm going to stop there. I'll probably have a bit of an extended review up on whatwrenreads.com, so head over there if you are interested in my full thoughts.

  • Cas

    Very happy for my former teacher and very excited to get my hands on this :)

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