Review: The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan

by Heather Caliendo
The Summer List Review - Book Club Chat

The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan is a moving story about childhood friends reuniting. It will make you want to give a hug to your high school besties.

Some of the best stories are about female friendships. For many, friends are their family and it becomes even more apparent as one ages. As soon as I saw that The Summer List is about two childhood friends reconnecting, I immediately knew I had to read it.

The story is about two friends, Laura and Casey, who were inseparable in high school. But one summer night, everything fell apart. After not speaking for 17 years, they are brought back together and throughout the story we find out what drove them apart, along with some other revelations as well. We read the story from Laura’s first-person perspective. Both her and Casey are very likable and also relatable. You’ll probably recognize aspects of your own friendships in their dynamics (at least I did).

The setting

The Summer List is told in the present (technically 2016) and the past when the girls are in high school. There’s also several smaller sections of other characters from even further in the past, which all gets revealed how it connects later in the book. I loved the setting of a small California lakeside town during the summers. There’s vivid descriptions of living on the lake and it definitely made me miss the carefree summer days of high school. Sometimes when stories go back and forth from the past to the present, it can be hard to follow. It’s not in this case. The author did a great job of managing the several different time periods with the various storylines.

Also, I felt the characters acted and talked appropriate for their ages—when they’re in high school, they think and sound like high schoolers and when they’re adults, they sound like the adult version of their high school selves.

More complicated than expected

With the word ‘summer’ in the title, you might think a light, summer read. But this one is more serious than expected as it deals with illness, death, betrayal and more. Those serious topics are handled delicately. There is also first love and a romance so there are lighter aspects as well.

And there is a bit of a mystery with this one!  I don’t want to give anything away but the big questions are wondering what happened for these girls to stop talking? Why are they reconnecting now? And there are some other surprises that will come out too.

This one is well worth your time. It will make you long for lazy summer days and think about your own childhood friendships and how they have evolved in adulthood.

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