Thursday, 10 May 2012

Review: The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

Title: The Summer My Life Began
Author: Shannon Greenland
Publisher: Penguin
Publication date: 10th May 2012
Source: NetGalley
My rating: 2 stars

The disappointing and/or abandoned reviews that I read before picking up this book should have been the biggest hint that maybe I should avoid this book. But I decided to give it a shot who knew maybe I would end up liking it?

Elizabeth Margaret or “Em” has her life planned out for her; she is a perfect student who will do an internship at her father’s law firm over the summer and then go to Harvard to study law. She does everything she is told by her parents and grandmother, but Em is given the chance to change all this when she receives a letter from an Aunt Tilly, an aunt that she didn’t even know existed until she received her letter. Her aunt wants her to spend the summer with her before she goes off to college. Em’s mother and grandmother you can say aren’t too happy about this letter out of the blue, they don’t want Em to go, Em has no clue why, but they come to a compromise, Em can stay a month at Aunt Tilly’s and then has to finish off the rest of the summer break at her dads law firm.

Em’s time at Aunt Tilly’s you can say is an invigorating experience for her; she can do things she’s been hiding from her parents for years like cook (Em’s mum used to shout at her if she ever saw her trying to help their housekeeper prepare a meal in the kitchen). She doesn’t have to feel as if she has to be careful about what she wants to say, she basically has the most care free and easy time of her life.

The reason this book didn’t work for me was because of a couple of issues; firstly the book took ages to get down to the nitty gritty of things. It’s like everyone was dancing around the issue of why Aunt Tilly and Em’s mum and grandmother didn’t speak to one another, every time we got close to discovering the truth Aunt Tilly would just brush the issue aside or would be like we don’t have time for this. I got to the point when I wanted to pull my hair out; it just felt like they were faffing around too much.

Em was also meant to be an intelligent individual, she was going to Harvard to study law, but so many times she came across as a bit clueless and immature, like she knew in the pit of her stomach that she had feelings for Cade but she still decided to go out with Jeremy because her parents may approve. And then she needed other people like Cade or her Aunt to tell her things before she clicked and realised they maybe on to something here. I wanted to say come on girl think for yourself sometimes and have a bit of spontaneity. Also I can’t deal with books which have an unexpected turn of events, but then everything’s hunky dory straight away. With this book I felt that things got resolved way too quickly for my liking. 

I really thought that The Summer My Life Began would be a great summery feel good book to start off with in preparation for the summer, but unfortunately I couldn’t be more wrong. Hopefully this book will work out a lot better for other readers than it did for me.

Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book.


  1. I, too, have read the not so glowing reviews and I decided to steer clear of this one.
    i am not a big contemporary fan and this just does not appeal to me. I don't want to read a book that is faffing around too much before getting down to the issues. ( I had to google faffing btw) so now I have a new word. Thanks, Jasprit!

  2. Interesting review, I read and really enjoyed this book. I felt like the suspense was great building and the outcome actually surprised me!

  3. I think I liked this one a little bit more than you did Jasprit! Though I'm with you in that I'd hoped this one would be more than it was. I agree it took a long time to get the family issue, and I guessed what the issue was long before Em did, but I read it quickly and and enjoyed the romance and that was enough for me:) Hopefully your next book knocks your socks off!

  4. Great review Jasprit. You clearly gave this book a chance. Sorry it didn't work out. :(

  5. I said this before and I'll say it again and I'll say it every single time you write an awesome review (which is every time!): Thanks so much for the honest review! Everyone seems to feel the same things about this book. I'd probably want to pull my hair out because of the faffing (haha: faffing! Love that word!) around, and complicated resolutions are always more realistic.

    I hope your next summer read impresses you more, J! :) <3

  6. I agree with you, Jasprit - most of the time I don't think that Em acts smart. She's more like a floating character for me. It was near to the end of this book when I finally feel some of her character. I also think that things got resolved way too easy. But there were some parts I did kind of enjoy in this book though, like the easy atmosphere. :D

    Amazing review still, Jasprit! I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy this book. :(

  7. I loved it, lol. Well 4/5 stars loved it. I did think it was a great summer read. It goes to show you that everyone likes different things in books sometimes. :) Loved the honest review!


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