The Melancholy of Summer

Feiwel & Friends. May 2023. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250823564.
Gr 9 Up–Summer has spent the last year living with friends, evading social services, and struggling to support herself after the sudden disappearance of her parents. The only information she has about where they could be and why they disappeared comes from brief television and Internet news reports calling the community to turn them into law enforcement. About two months before Summer’s 18th birthday, social services relocates her to a family member’s penthouse. Her wealthy, 20-year-old cousin Olu has put her pop-singing career on hold and moved to Canada from Japan. Despite Summer’s reservations about the arrangement, Olu’s intentions seem genuine. However, Summer is struggling internally with her anger and abandonment issues, which threaten to jeopardize her friendships, mental health, and her future at the college where she has been accepted. Ultimately, Summer hits bottom when she runs into her mother, flees to her old house, and is surprisingly taken in for the night by the new owners. The plot moves at an even pace but will require some suspension of disbelief. Summer’s ability to evade social services for a year as well as a couple other scenarios stretch credibility. The characters are diverse and relatable, representing different ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Readers will identify with Summer’s struggle to decide on college while supporting her friends’ decisions to move away for university.
VERDICT A general purchase that will resonate with students who identify with the struggles associated with the transition to adulthood.

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