Author: Kate Sands
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: DWS Photography
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Life at home has become awkward since Brendan told his parents he’s gay. Relief comes when his cousin gets him a job at a nearby lake resort for the summer. Happy to get away, he plans to give his parents space while saving money for his college fund and hanging out with his cousin Tracey, the only other person he’s out to. Turns out Tobin, a boy from school Brendan has a crush on, is also working there for the summer, and the two of them have been assigned to share a room. Brendan’s nervous reaction doesn’t get the summer off to the best start. Now, not only does Brendan have to fix his relationship with his parents, he has to figure out a way to make things right with Tobin too.
Kate Sands’ “An Unexpected Summer” is a little slip of a thing, carefully written to maintain an authentic teenaged voice. What particularly struck me is that both of the main characters, Brendan and Tobin, are slightly whiny and self-absorbed in exactly the same degree that my own high-school seniors were (and I myself probably was).
Brendan is heading off to a summer job rather than to hockey camp with his friends. He has also just come out to his parents, and it didn’t go well.
Except it actually did go pretty well, and he’s just too embarrassed and self-involved to have understood that.
Once at the resort where he and his best friend Tracy are to be working, he discovers to his dismay that he’ll be rooming with an acquaintance from school, Tobin. The problem is not that he doesn’t like Tobin, but quite the reverse. Tobin is openly gay, and Brendan has a crush. To admit anything to Tobin would be to shatter Brendan’s plan to keep his secret until he can graduate and go away to college.
That’s the set up. This isn’t any big heart-wrenching narrative; it is a gentle, delicately crafted story about the power of friendship to make us brave. When we’re alone, everything seems impossible; when we’re not alone, the impossible just might become the right thing to do.
The boys’ parents are very much secondary characters here, but crucial secondary characters. Sands’ light touch and spot-on understanding of teenagers make it work. It’s the sort of story that won’t change the world, but might possibly change one young person’s world.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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