Summary: Best friends Aubrey and Rae have been planning their graduation trip across Europe practically since they met. It’s the perfect way to spend their last summer together before everyone heads off to university. But Aubrey and Rose’s perfect trip is a little more complicated than their past selves could have imagined. Along for the trip is Jonah, Aubrey’s boyfriend, and Gabe, the boy Aubrey may have or may not have accidentally kissed. And don’t forget Clara, the friend Rae is hardcore crushing on, but Clara must like boys, right??
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Cecilia Vinesse’s The Summer of Us is one of my most enjoyable reads of 2018. It was among my most anticipated summer releases,so I was super excited when Little Brown was giving out ARCs at Book Expo. One of my first YA reads was Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and since then I’ve loved books with an emphasis on travel, especially in Europe. The premise of The Summer of Us immediately sold me, as five best friends travel through Europe before they head off to college in different directions. It’s also been compared to Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer E. Smith’s books, aka some of the best contemporary and travel-inspired books in the game.
I’ve had great luck reading multi-perspective books lately because I loved reading from both Aubrey and Rae’s POVs. I loved Rae’s relationship with Lucy and I want to be her travel buddy in Australia. This could be said about both Rae and Aubrey, but I think Rae experiences a lot of personal growth within their two week expedition. She gets to explore a new relationship and begins to realize that it’s okay not to have a set plan after high school. I admit that I could relate to Aubrey a little bit more (English majors reunite!) mostly because if I trekked around Europe for 2 weeks with my friends, I’d so be in charge of our itinerary and stress out about making trains. And I’d want to see every museum and book shop ever. I appreciate that as much as Aubrey’s personality might make her to be the most perfect person ever, she isn’t. In a lot of contemporaries, the main character is often a reader, but it was cool to see Aubrey ACTUALLY READ. Her emotion while reading Virginia Woolf’s The Waves made me want to check it out.
Even though The Summer of Us only gives us Aubrey and Rae’s perspectives, we really get to know all 5 friends. Honestly, I think if Cecilia tried to include all 5, it would be a bit choppy and repetitive. I think Jonah could have received a bit more resolution, but Gabe was immediately my favorite guy. I love his chemistry with a certain someone, and I appreciate all the music and literature inspired quotes:
“Here’s my real prediction: In your freshmen year, it’ll become clear that studying literature is perfect for you. Because you love to analyze and pick things apart and figure out what you like about them, and that’s basically what the entire major is. And the thing is, you already do that with books, too. It’s like music but without the instruments”
Overall, I really enjoyed The Summer of Us for being a story about friendship and love. This book completely refueled my wanderlust (I WILL get to you Europe, one day) and I wish I could go to so many of the same destinations as Aubrey, Rae and co.
This review is based on a galley. By no means did being provided this galley affect my thoughts or opinion.
Have you read The Summer of Us or Cecilia’s debut novel, Seven Days of You? What are some of your favorite travel-inspired books? Share in the comments!