Three Summers: A Memoir of Sisterhood, Summer Crushes, and Growing Up on the Eve of War

Farrar. Apr. 2024. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780374390815.
Gr 3-7–Sabic-El-Rayess’s memoir captures the lives of five cousins and the adventures they encounter over the course of three summers in 1980s Bosnia. Suffering the loss of her older brother, Amra slips into a womb of depression only to be revived by these glorious summers with Zana her sister-cousin; after all, cousins make the best sisters, according to Amra’s mom. The turmoil of life in war-torn Bosnia is dismal enough compounded with memories of Amar, the brother who passed away from complications due to Marfan syndrome. Sabic-El-Rayess’s prose transforms teenage memories into a unique multisensory experience filled with the awkwardness of first love, beach wake-ups, breakups, family indifference, and all the comfort of Bosnian food. The text leads readers over hills and mountains filled with loss, joy, and haunting tragedies that sought to destroy but only prove the resilience of hope and family. The author’s note and time line of events documenting the history of war and genocide in Bosnia provide readers with background on the life and musings of a young girl.
VERDICT An insightful and solemn yet hopeful memoir that will hook readers. Fans of Ji-Li Jiang’s Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution will find this memoir just as remarkable.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing