Title: The Summer Remains
Author: Seth King
Release Date: February 14th 2015
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may or may not end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.
As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app – and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.
Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.
One of the main reasons I read is to escape, but knowing the circumstances in which Seth King wrote The Summer Remains I had to mentally prepare myself. This is not a story which provides distraction. Instead, it punches the reader right in the face with reality. So, why did I love it so much? For one, Seth King’s writing is intense and at times, heart-stoppingly beautiful. Not only has he been able to place himself in the position of a very ill young woman, but one who is falling in love for the very first time. Everything about Summer is believable; her strength, her sassiness, her highs and her lows. This is a young woman who gives other people who gives other people with illnesses and disabilities a chance to actually bitch about their lives at her Anti-Support group. She refuses to be beaten by the Esophageal Intresia which limits her, asking to enjoy one summer before she undergoes an unguaranteed surgical procedure.
Although self-pity is not Summer’s style, she is reminded of her illness every time she looks at her friends’ engagement pictures on Facebook. Using this form of social media is a stroke of genius on Seth King’s part, not only connecting us to Summer through the invisible thread we have with so many of our internet friends, but I expect the majority of us have also wanted to click a dislike button when reading someone’s status or seeing their photos.
Ironically it is through a dating app that Cooper and Summer meet. Seth King creates two characters who bring out the best in each other and though in their little bubble life isn’t perfect, they are happy. Cooper has his own issues and is flawed, but I think this also gives him a certain vulnerability and allows us to connect emotionally with him too.
The Summer Remains is not a fairytale and Seth King reminds us sometimes that living can be painful. I’m undecided whether the book is more powerful because of the author’s reason for writing it or whether he is just extremely talented, but Summer’s story stayed with me long after I turned by kindle off – and I feel grateful that I’ve had an opportunity to read the novel.