Monday, July 27, 2015

New Review: The Summer Remains by Seth King

The Summer Remains (The Summer Remains, #1)The Summer Remains by Seth King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may or may not end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.

As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app - and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.

Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.

My Review


Have you ever wanted so badly to love a book that it’s almost physically painful when you find imperfections? When you know, you know that it deserves to be loved, but you still see its faults. You agonize over the parts that you thought were amazing compared with the parts you tried to overlook, but couldn’t.

On one hand, I had raw emotion. The final 20% wrecked me. The final 20% is what connected me with Cooper. I felt. I cried. I ached; that deep ache right at the base of your throat. I felt everything. However, on the other hand, I had the parts of the book I tried to overlook, the parts that distracted me from everything this book could be.

I feel like these two hands were constantly smacking me in the face…repeatedly.

There is a part in The Summer Remains where Cooper decides to let Summer read his book, a rough draft, something he’s never shown to anyone else. Her thoughts about Cooper’s book perfectly parallel my own.

“The book wasn’t totally perfect, and there were some typos and clunky paragraphs he could have smoothed out, but the bones of greatness were absolutely there.”

I’m pretty sure Seth King didn’t intend for me to use his quoted words to express my very own thoughts about his book, but ironically I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I had a very hard time connecting with the main character. I’m not sure if it was the immaturity of her voice, the constant “likes” or “whatevers”; I just didn’t feel like I was reading the POV of a twenty-four year old woman...girl? Girl woman? Her dialogue was very repetitive and certain phrases were used repeatedly. I felt like I was reading a rough draft and it ultimately distracted me from developing the feelings and emotion I think I was suppose to. It was a definite struggle in the beginning.

Then enters Cooper.

Copper highlighted the amazing writing that Seth King is capable of. If it wasn’t for his character, I may not have made it trough to the emotional hailstorm of part two. His dialogue possessed such an infectious quality. It was clever, witty, and added such a tangible eminence to the plot; I couldn’t help but want more. I think if the beginning would have had more dialogue and character interaction, and less monologue, I would have made the connection I was craving, and experienced the emotion that didn’t explode until the very end. Unfortunately the first 80% of the book just wasn’t for me.

Once we get to Cooper’s POV, everything changes. The author tapped into something genuine and so heart catching that it physically hurt to read. That is the type of writing that deserves to be praised. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until the end to get it. I bled so much emotion in that last 20% that I was overwhelmed. Those are “the bones of greatness”.

The rest of the story just needed some editing, structure and a little more cohesion; things I feel will develop with more experience. However, based on some of the beautiful quotes I read throughout the book and the emotional response torn out of me in the end, Seth King has the type of creativity and talent that can’t be taught. With that much potential, I can’t wait to see what comes next.


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  1.'s hard when you are only drawn to one of the characters, but it sounds like you appreciated at lease some of the book. Great review!

    Kate @ Ex Libris