Title: When Summer Ends
Author: Jessica Pennington
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: April 9, 2019
Page Length: 288
Age Range: YA
Goodreads Synopsis: Aiden Emerson is an all-star pitcher and the all-around golden boy of Riverton. Or at least he was, before he quit the team the last day of junior year without any explanation. How could he tell people he’s losing his vision at seventeen?
Straight-laced Olivia thought she had life all figured out. But when her dream internship falls apart, her estranged mother comes back into her life, and her long-time boyfriend ghosts her right before summer break, she’s starting to think fate has a weird sense of humor.
Each struggling to find a new direction, Aiden and Olivia decide to live summer by chance. Every fleeting adventure and stolen kiss is as fragile as a coin flip in this heartfelt journey to love and self-discovery from the author of Love Songs & Other Lies.
This was another enjoyable fast read by Jessica Pennington. She has such a way with writing fun, realistic characters.
The town, Riverton, sounds cute and small. I loved that it had such a history to it. We didn’t learn a lot of its history, but what we did learn brought the town to life. It felt so scenic and full of beautiful scenery.
The duel perspectives added an extra element to the story that I really enjoyed and hadn’t fully expected. By having this duel perspective, we learned a little more about Aiden and Olivia that I felt we wouldn’t have learned if it was from just one or the other. Olivia felt like the typical “A” type main character at first, but because we got to see her from both sides, I think she grew into something more. Olivia was very into plans and when that went didn’t work out not once, but twice for her that summer, I was afraid her story was going to go differently. The added element of chance she put in her adventures was very outside her comfort zone and I loved that it was added without being unrealistic or over used.
Aiden was set out, at the beginning, to be a standard jock. In fact, I hadn’t expected to get his perspective at all. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him, but he definitely grew on me. I loved that he had a vulnerable side, but still fun and adventurous. He brought out the best in Olivia and challenged her in ways her other friends and ex didn’t.
One thing I wasn’t into was some of the conflict – very minor and the reason I didn’t give this a perfect score. I was upset that Olivia felt it was her place to give up Aiden’s secret. It was not up to her and caused unnecessary conflict between the two characters. Or maybe it’s just me, I hate when any character in any book tells a secret that isn’t theirs to tell.
One of the other character was Olivia’s ex, Zander. I personally didn’t like him. He seemed so aloof with Olivia, like she was always going to be there and he didn’t have to do anything. When Olivia described some of the dates, well I for one was ok with them, but it almost sounded like Olivia just went along with whatever Zander wanted. It felt like Olivia was more into the relationship than Zander and he was taking advantage of that. Mind you, Jessica didn’t write Zander as a bad person, and really he wasn’t. I just personally wasn’t fond of him.
We don’t get as much of Olivia’s mother as I might have hoped. I was hoping to see some growth, or even conflict, in that relationship. Really, Olivia’s mother was only in a handful of scenes in the book. I was really hoping for the relationship to be challenged – but I guess for that to happen the book would have to be much, much larger lol. Overall, the end result of the relationship between these two was fine.
Jessica brought in some nice representation for the visually impaired. I know little about those with visual impairments and it was interesting to get a glimpse into one type.
Overall, I really loved this story. It was a fun summer read that had you wondering what you would do if you were at that age and your plans just fell through or your life was upended. There are many things in this book that I loved that I didn’t talk about here – mainly because of spoilers! I was invested in Olivia and Aiden – I wanted a happy ending for them, both together and apart.
I would highly recommend this for anyone who enjoyed Jessica’s writing in the past. Also, if you enjoy Kasie West or Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – they have the same feeling to them.