Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz
Published: April 19th, 2011 (Simon Pulse)
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?
Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive....
Not your typical beach read.
A little bit of backstory: I’ve owned this book for well over two years and during that time, I had absolutely no urge to pick it up and read it. I always find that feeling odd, but this time it feels like my subconscious was trying to tell me to stay away. And I kind of wish I had.
The book covers four summers Chase and his family spend at the beach, together with the Hathaway family, who live next door while they are there on vacation. It’s a coming of age story, of a bunch of kids with no real guidance who try to make something of their lives.
I had several problems with this book. First of all, when I started reading, I wasn’t sure if the main character was a boy or a girl, which lead to some confusing scenes, followed by me flipping the pages back to find out if I had missed something. Chase does not feel like a boy to me. His voice didn’t feel distinctive and I had difficulties imagining him and what he went through during the story. Which leads me to my next problem; even the other members of both families, whether they were male or female, were hard to tell apart. I had no clue how many siblings there were, and how many siblings in the other family, because there were so many and they didn’t feel like real personalities to me, just people to fill the void. Which made trying to make sense of the story really hard. While I understand that these families are intertwined because of their shared (summer) history, I feel like I should be able to tell them apart by something. And I couldn’t. That annoyed me to no end.
There was no parental influence whatsoever. Basically, during the summer months, these kids were like loose cannonballs flying around, while their parents enjoyed a beer and a glass of wine with the other parents. Because they were there, but they didn’t do anything. Now I understand that it’s their vacation as well, but come on, as if you’d let one year-olds and eight year-olds running around on a beach without parental supervision while neither of them could swim. They’d let the older kids supervise, aware that they were busy with other stuff. Not okay. Also completely unbelievable.
My next, and possibly biggest, problem was the way Chase and his brother Noah treated Melinda. They were rude, they used her and on top of that they were being general greedy arseholes. Sure, they were both teenage boys but this was bordering on ridiculousness – if they didn’t already cross it. The whole sharing thing made me want to barf and I failed to see how this was realistic in any way.
For a contemporary novel, this sure does feel like some sort of fantasy. It was unbelievable and unrealistic. It’s one giant mess and it felt like it was up to me to figure the whole thing out. Needless to say, I didn’t want to do any of that. While I read Invincible Summer relatively quickly, I wasn’t enjoying this book and to be honest, the more I think about it, the more I hate it.
Don’t be misled by the ‘not your typical beach read’ tagline. It’s not a beach read. The fact that the story mostly takes place on a beach shouldn’t result in the term beach read. It’s a harsh, gritting story packed into a fluffy beachy looking book. Because if I’m being honest, the latter was what I was expecting from both the cover and the synopsis. Both failed to capture the true feeling of this book, so on top of not enjoying the story, I feel kind of misled.
I wouldn't recommend this book.