Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Publishing Date: June 26, 2012
Format: Audio book
Narrated by Erin Bennett


It's June 15th, the night of Nantucket High School graduation. Four juniors are driving home from a party when something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash. The drive of the car, Penny Alistair, is killed, and her twin brother, Hobby Alistair, is left in a coma. Penny's boyfriend, Jake Randolph, and Penny's friend Demeter Castle are unhurt - but suffer tremendous emotional damage. Jake and his family move to the other side of the globe - to the west coast of Australia - in order to escape the horrors of the accident. Demeter falls prey to alcohol abuse and other self-destructive behaviors that nearly lead to destroying her own life.

Summerland delves into the circumstances surrounding this accident, the roots of which lie deep in the past, with the first interactions between these four friends and their parents. It's a novel about how tragedy affects individuals, families, and the island community as a whole, and how healing can happen, in even the most devastating circumstances.

My Review

This is the first book I've ever listened to on audio. I wasn't really sure how I would like it, so I grabbed a book that I wasn't really wanting to read, that way, if I didn't like it, I could just shut it off and not worry about it affecting how I felt about the book if I were to actually read it. I have to admit, in the beginning, I wasn't too sure about listening to a book. I found myself not paying attention at times and thinking about other things. But it got much better as my travel time in the car went on, and it actually made the drive seem much faster. Overall, the book was pretty good. I didn't love it, but it was enjoyable. I think the reason I didn't like it more is because it reminds me a lot of Kristin Hannah's book Night Road. Its a very similar story line, and so I felt as though I was reading the same thing. Thankfully it was just different enough that I still liked the story line. I feel so bad for the kids and parents suffering in this novel. Tragedies are so hard for everyone involved, and everyone copes with it differently. Jake's family moves to Australia, where his mother is from, for the summer. Zoe, Penny's mom, ignores friends and tries to focus on getting her son better. And Demeter turns to alcohol to numb her pain and loneliness. This story is told from the point of view of many different characters, which I really like. We're able to delve into the minds of everyone involved without having to guess as to how they are feeling and coping with the accident. It's very uplifting to see everyone moving on and being happy at the end of the book. I'm a sucker for happy endings! (:

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