Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

From Goodreads: Elizabeth Margaret - better known as Em - has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time. 

My Rating: 2 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: When I got The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland, I wanted a nice, fluffy read. I didn’t think my expectations were high – and yet I was still left disappointed.

Although the writing isn’t bad, if I could use one word to describe everything about The Summer My Life Began, it would be “blah.” Since a one word review isn’t going to cut it, here’s why The Summer My Life Began wasn’t my ideal beach read:
  • The main character barely goes through any adversity. It’s obvious that Em is going to end up happy at the end of the novel, but couldn’t she have some obstacles thrown in her way? She’s got a great life at the beginning of the book, and when she goes to her aunt’s bed-and-breakfast, it gets even more perfect because now she doesn’t have to hide her culinary skills and has a hot guy fall for her. There’s so little opportunity for her character to grow!   
  • The secondary characters are way too stereotypical and have no depth. You’ve got the prim and proper grandma, the bubbly younger sister who can get away with things, the surfer boy who looks like a loser but isn’t, etc.
  • The romance lacked chemistry.
  • There was barely any drama. Em got over the big family secret in, like, two seconds. If she can’t bother to make a big fuss about it, why the hell should I care?!
A book that could have been so much better, The Summer My Life Began will be released on May 10 by Speak.

Comments About the Cover: I think it does a good job of portraying that The Summer My Life Began is a light contemporary. 

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Penguin) for free via NetGalley.


  1. The word "blah" is never one that you want to hear about a book. In some ways, I would be more likely to read a book that inspires anger than one that inspires boredom, just for interest's sake. Lacklustre chemistry and drama is no good. Too bad.

  2. Wow, it sounds like this one really doesn't have anything going for it :( I think I'll steer clear! Thanks for the honest review :)

  3. Ugh stereotypical cast. Bleh. I've been seeing mostly mediocre reviews on this one so I think I'll be passing on it. Thanks for taking one for the team! :P

  4. Oh shoot, I have to review this one for a blog tour! I really hope I like it more than you. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. I second Rummanah's commet, I have this one for tour too and I was hoping it would just be one of those cute, fast reads that entertain but don't necessarily leave a lasting impression. I'm disappointed that you think the romance lacked chemistry, that was the part I'm most looking forward too! Thanks for your honest Z, I'll keep all your issues in mind when I pick it up:)

  6. "I didn’t think my expectations were high – and yet I was still left disappointed."

    LMAO!!! Why is it that I almost hear that dry tone in your voice as I read this review? Yeah, those hardships Em goes through, not too earth shattering.

  7. Aww, a "blah" book is never a good sign! I always think of fun and summer whenever I imagine a beach read, so I'm really sorry that this was more of a throw-it-in-the-ocean book to you than not. I can never get into a romance without chemistry either because to me, the chemistry and sparks and butterflies are the sweetest part of reading a romance!

    Still, thanks so much for the awesome honest review, Z! I'll be sure to go into this one with lower expectations if I pick it up :) <3

  8. Ah, darn! I'm sorry this book was so blah. I guess I'm glad that I didn't request this book on NetGalley. Contemporaries are always hit-or-miss for me, so I'm sorry to hear that this one's a miss. Character growth is definitely important, as well as a romance with chemistry, so I'm sorry that this book lacked both of those. Thanks for the fabulous and candid review, though! :)

  9. I completely agree with everything you said! I started this one but I just couldn't finish it. It was really boring and the romance was very blah. Great review! :)

  10. It does sound like it would be a good summer read but a story really has to have a bit more drama to appeal to me.

  11. I love a fluffy book between all those thought-provoking ones, but SOMETHING interesting has to happen! A character that doesn't go through change and adversity doesn't sound like an interesting one at all. Thanks for the honest review.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.