Author: Melissa Chambers
Rating: 4 - 4.5/5
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
Chloe Stone’s life is a hot mess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs.
Landon’s mom will throttle him if he even looks at his future stepsister the wrong way. Problem is, Chloe is everything he didn’t know he wanted, and that’s…inconvenient. Watching her tear it up on a karaoke stage, stand up to his asshole friend, and rock her first string bikini destroys his sanity.
But there’s more than their future family on the line. Landon is hiding something—something he knows will change how she feels about him—and she’s hiding something from him, too. And when the secrets come out, there’s a good chance neither will look at the other the same way again...
I'll admit, I took my time to start reading this book. I have no idea why. Maybe its length intimidated me. I was busy, I knew I couldn't read it fast and sometimes, I just happen to like quick reads better than thick books. But... When I finally decided to read it, I couldn't put it down and so I was done pretty fast, too. What a shame, because The Summer Before Forever is definitely one of my favourite books this year. It's everything you want for a young adult book.
Of course, it's no big surprise you'll fall in love with Chloe and Landon if you're already a fan of stepbrother/stepsister romance. Do we even know what's so fascinating about it? There's just something about these kind of romances that's thrilling. At least in books. Not sure what I'd think of it in real life. But real life is hardly ever as beautiful as books or it's hard to look at it that way. Written words can be much more powerful than what you see with the eye, so maybe all love stories have its charm because of that.
There are a lot of young adult books that try too hard, some focus on the wrong things, some are too light. While light YA books can be enjoyable, I think they desperately need a depth too. Or maybe it depends on the reader's mood. The topics in The Summer Before Forever aren't too dramatic, it's nothing the reader won't be able to deal with. I can't stop gushing about this book since I loved it so much. And whenever that happens, it's so hard finding the right words to describe it, to tell what it's about without sounding too childish. I'm always afraid to give away any spoilers, so I hardly ever discuss the characters themselves. The temptation of revealing too much is very strong.
What I can tell is that Chloe and Landon are some of the cutest characters I have ever read about. I especially loved a certain music scene you'll grow to love too. I smiled so much during that scene. The two made me smile so much in general. Also, I wasn't as annoyed with Chloe's best friend as I usually am with the heorine's friend. Her being part of a talent show on TV was also something different. Can't say I'm a fan of those in real life and enjoy reading about these, but luckily, the focus is on Chloe. And Landon. Don't forget Landon.
He's like this super character. He's definitely not bad boy, but he isn't exactly a nerd either. And yes, that works. He's something in between, just a regular nice guy. And boy, that doesn't happen too often, right?! Most of the time, the guy is either super bad, screwing his way around town, campus or whatever, or he's a nerd who might have had a girlfriend in the past but is super shy now, rather drawing comics or playing video games. Since it's so hard to find these regular nice guys in real life, it might explain why we're not reading about these guys in books more often. But we need those! I need more Landons in books. All you authors out there - read The Summer Before Forever and create a guy like him. Teenage girls need to read about them all, not just the bad boys (though they are described quite yummy too).
Also, I thought the relationship between Chloe and her dad was rather interesting. It's not the first time a girl and her dad don't really get along, but I liked the way the author dealt with it. Their story was present, but not too much, not dragged or anything like that. It made sense. It made me sad... Some things aren't just always sunny, right?
So, coming to think of it, there are tons of reasons I loved this book that I can't name. If this review hasn't made you curious about it by now, I am sorry. I can guarantee that it's one of my favourite young adult books this year. The writing is so good, so realistic. The story isn't unusual and yet it felt so different from everything else out there. I think an author needs to be really talented in order to achieve that.