Summer Hours by Amy Mason Doan is a novel about the idealism of youth and the first taste of independence. The following book club questions for Summer Hours will have spoilers so check out my spoiler-free review first.
Becc was the good girl. A dedicated student. Aspiring reporter. Always where she was supposed to be. Until a secret affair with the charming Cal one summer in college cost her everything she held dear: her journalism dreams; her relationship with her best friend, Eric; and her carefully imagined future.
Now, Becc’s past is back front and center as she travels up the scenic California coast to a wedding—with a man she hasn’t seen in a decade. As each mile flies by, Becc can’t help but feel the thrilling push and pull of memories, from infinite nights at beach bonfires and lavish boat parties to secret movie sessions. But the man beside her is not so eager to re-create history. And as the events of that heartbreaking summer come into view, Becc must decide if those dazzling hours they once shared are worth fighting for or if they’re lost forever.
Book club questions for Summer Hours
- The story alternates between the mid ’90s and 2008. What did you think about how the story covered those two different eras?
- Becc is a good girl and she’s so focused on her future journalism career, she’s a bit blinded to the fact that Eric is in love with her. Were you surprised when Eric stopped talking to her for the most part? Do you think she would have started that affair with Cal if she was still close to Eric?
- Alright, let’s get into it: what did you think about her relationship with Cal?? Were you surprised, did you understand why, were you confused? Let’s talk all about it!
- Something that stuck out was that Becc definitely wanted to hide the affair but Cal seemed more relax about it. When you think about that he was in his lower 30s and Becc wasn’t even 21 yet, why do you think he wasn’t more concerned about getting caught?
- So Becc definitely embraces her sensuality while being with Cal. But Cal was also super into her emotionally. What did Becc learn from her relationship with Cal?
- The book flashes forwarded to the fateful road trip and we find out that Becc is with Eric and they’re on their way to Serra’s wedding. Becc and Eric haven’t seen each other for over a decade. Did you know all along she was with Eric or did you think she might have been with Cal? What was Becc’s goal with the road trip?
- Back to the ’90s. Becc breaks off the affair with Cal and eventually Eric returns to her life. What did you think about their scenes together where they played hooky off work?
- While Becc realizes her feelings for Eric, she feels it can’t happen because of Cal. What would you have done if you were Becc? Would you have told Eric about Cal?
- Much of the novel is about having big career dreams but sometimes reality has other plans. Can you relate to those sections?
- Let’s talk about how Eric is still so mad at Becc when they’re on the road trip. What do you think caused him to start to thaw?
- And they eventually get back together! Do you think they are in it for the long haul?
What to read next
There’s so many fantastic women’s fiction reads out there! If you enjoyed the book club questions for Summer Hours, here are some recommendations for your book club on what to read next.
The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr is full of heartbreak, healing and hope.
It’s Sophie Bloom’s forty-second birthday, and she’s ready for a night of celebration with Gabe, her longtime, devoted husband, and her two besties and their spouses. Dinner is served with a side of delicious gossip, including which North Grove residents were caught with their pants down on Ashley Madison after the secret on-line dating site for married and committed couples was hacked. Thirty-two million cheaters worldwide have been exposed…including Sophie’s “perfect” husband. To add insult to injury, she learns Gabe is the top cheater in their town.
Humiliated and directionless, Sophie jumps into the unknown and flees to France to meet up with her teenage daughter who is studying abroad and nursing her own heartbreak. After a brief visit to Paris, Sophie heads out to the artist enclave of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. There, for the first time in a long time, Sophie acknowledges her own desires—not her husband’s, not her daughter’s—and rediscovers her essence with painful honesty and humor, reawakening both her sensuality and ambitions as a sculptor.
As she sheds her past and travels the obstacle-filled off beaten path, Sophie Bloom is determined to blossom. Allowing her true self to emerge in the postcard beauty of Provence, Sophie must decide what is broken forever…and what it means to be truly unbreakable.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman is a love letter to bookworms everywhere!
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.