Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Review: The Summertime Girls

By Sara Steven

I’ve never believed in the old adage, “blood is thicker than water”. For me, friends are family. Sometimes you can form a very close bond with someone who doesn’t come from the same gene pool as you, just like the relationship Ally and Beth share in The Summertime Girls.

Ally Morris and Beth Abbott were beyond inseparable. From the very first time they met, the girls knew they’d found a once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But sometimes, life can’t help but get in the way.

As time goes by, disappointments and petty resentments begin to alter what they once thought was forever. Ally’s boho lifestyle leaves her drowning in confusion and cheap whisky, while a terrible secret threatens to shatter Beth’s carefully controlled world. By the time they need each other most, Ally and Beth are nearly strangers to each other.

When a family crisis prompts Beth to contact Ally for help out of the blue, the girls reunite in Maine. But the distance between them is overwhelming. To save their friendship, Ally and Beth will have to confront painful moments in their past and redefine who they are—before their incredible connection fades away for good… (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Opposites attract. Case in point: Ally and Beth. Two completely different personality types who have forged a friendship since childhood. Where Ally is wild and reckless, Beth is controlled and disciplined. They are closer than most sister relationships I’ve witnessed in life, lending to the potential for chaotic moments and resentment. It’s not hard to see that deep down, both women wish they were a little more like the other. Ally wants to be more grounded, have more of a level head, while Beth wishes she could throw caution to the wind and not care so much about what others think of her.

It’s hard to believe that this is Laura Hankin’s debut novel. Once I delved in, I had a really hard time putting it down. I wanted to know if Ally and Beth’s friendship, their sisterhood would survive the exterior forces and elements that threaten to destroy them. It was well-written and perfected, characters that feel real and are dealing with real problems and issues that most of us have faced at one time or another.

Your family, the people you surround yourself with is what you choose to make of it. It can take a lot of effort and trust, but friendships with this deep of roots are the ones meant to last a lifetime. I’ve been fortunate to have friendships with women who I’ve known since childhood, and I know for us, we’re nothing short of sisters, even with the ever-changing ups and down that life has a tendency to dish out. Will that be the case for Ally and Beth, or will their story, their sisterhood come to an end?

Thanks to Berkley/NAL for the book in exchange for an honest review.


Janine said...

Great review. I can totally relate to how a friend can be considered family. I have friends who I am closer to than my own family.

Carol Fragale Brill said...

This sounds like my kind of story. And, the cover definitely draws me in and entices me to see what's inside.
All the best with your debut.