Saturday, 15 June 2013

Review: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How My Summer Went Up in Flames
How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: May 7th 2013
My rating: 4 stars


 First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…


How My Summer Went Up in Flames is a perfect summer read: light, funny and with a touch of romance.

After finding out that her boyfriend, Joey cheated on her, Rosie does what most of us only fantasize about doing, she sets his car on fire.  She didn’t mean to do it, she was only burning her mementos from their relationship in his driveway when things somehow got out of control and his car became causality. But this doesn’t matter because that “minor” incident results in a Temporary Restraining Order.  Unfortunately, Rosie doesn’t grasp the importance of staying away and is caught by her parents not once, but twice violating the TRO!  They decide to send her on a nine-day road trip with her best friend, Matty, and his friends, Spencer and Logan, to keep her out of trouble.  The boys, especially Logan, are not too happy that Rosie is crashing their party.  Rosie lays eyes on Logan, and thinks the trip may not be so bad after all, but then he opens his mouth!  

This story had me cracking up throughout.  Matty and Spencer are both longtime members of the geek-squad.  They have a to-the-hour-itinerary and ridiculous conversations on things like dissecting the Star Wars movies (okay, I admit, I’ve done this too, but still, they are way geekier!).  Rosie’s reactions and inner commentary was hilarious too:

My parents thought it was best for me to attend an all-girls Catholic high school because it’s every teenage girl’s dream to dress like a Scottish bagpipe player.  All because I got busted at an eighth-grade graduation party playing seven minutes with Armand DelVecchio, who, by the way, kisses like a seal. It wasn’t’ even worth it.*

I was worried Rosie’s obsession and actions would bother me, but she was a perfect example of a character in progress.  In the beginning she’s only thinking about herself without considering the impact of her decisions on others, and I wanted to shake her a few times.  Being a passionate person, Rosie’s actions are sometimes misguided and immature.  Rosie finally gets the gravity of her actions and starts to feel sorry for how she acted.  The road trip was a perfect way to chase away her heartbreak induced fog, and wake up and smell the coffee.  She really grew on me, because underneath it all she did have a big heart. 

Logan was a little prickly and sarcastic at first, but I love how his honest comments get Rosie thinking about her life, direction and choices. 

I loved the gradual attraction and romance built in this story.  It felt realistic in the face of Rosie’s situation. I will say that a romance with any one of these boys would’ve worked for me for different reasons; all three were special and adorable in their own right. 

How My Summer Went Up in Flames was an enjoyable journey of heartbreak, self-discovery, friendships, and romance.  I can’t believe this was Jennifer Salvato Doktorski’s debut, and I expect great things to come from her in the future!

*Quote taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.




34 comments:

  1. I love books with humour so I will def. be checking this one out. And the romance for once seems promising! I've been feeling rather distant with romance side of things these days oddly.

    Brilliant review, Rachel! <33

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  2. This looks like a really cute read, Rachel! I've been wanting to read it ever since I saw the cover. The character seem like the kind I like in my YA contemporary reads!
    Lovely review, Rachel!

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  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this so much more than I did! I couldn't even finish it. I couldn't stand Rosie, but it makes me happy to see that you enjoyed her character development!

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry this didn't work for you, Amber. Rosie was a little annoying to begin with for me, too, but that was pretty short lived, IMO. :)

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  4. I've seen so many mixed reviews of this but it really just sounds so cute! I'll have to give it a shot for sure. Plus, I want to meet Logan now! ;)

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  5. Oh! I'm so glad I came across your review! This book sounds like a good read and cute! Can't wait to read about Rosie.

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  6. Rachel, you just bumped this book a few places up my TBR pile! A light summer read is just what I need right now and I'd forgotten about this sitting patiently in my Kindle! Rosie does sound absolutely hilarious; I adore witty narration <3 And I am a sucker for books about self-discovery so I must get started soon!

    Thank you for the fabulous review, Rachel <3

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    1. Thank you, Beverly. It's a pretty quick read and very entertaining read. I hope you like it. :)

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  7. I've read mixed reviews on this one so I've been pretty hesitant about picking it up, but woah- this sounds like a book I should get my hands on!

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

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  8. Eep Rachel, I've been seeing this book around a lot lately and now I'm itching to get my hands on a copy! The perfect summer read, eh? It certainly sounds like it! A road trip, a girl who has to find herself, and BOYS? That sounds exactly like my type of read. I love characters that progress and turn into good people. I think it's interesting that any boy would've worked out well in the relationship! I need this book now, thanks for the wonderful review, Rachel!

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  9. I want a fun summer read and this book has been making the rounds in a lot of blogs :D fab review Rachel I loove that it's all about summer, a road trip and BOYS !

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  10. I have so much love for this book! You have no idea!

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  11. It makes me laugh a little that the main character's parents thought a road trip with a bunch of guys would help their troubled daughter. lol But it sounds like it worked! This book sounds like a lot of fun. I'm glad you liked it!

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    1. I didn't think about it like that, but I guess that is a pretty funny solution. I think the parents were just desperate to remove Rosie from the situation before she could do anything else. It was quite hilarious. :)

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  12. This one looks really cute!! I'm all for a book where the character progresses and matures - and then the road trip with a few guys sounds fun!

    Great review!! I'm glad you enjoyed this one.

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    1. Same here, Tabitha. I can take an annoying character that changes, matures and sees the error in their ways. I like taking that journey with them. Thanks! :)

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  13. There are so many perfect summer reads out now! Where does one start??? This one features a road trip though, so I think it's close to the top of the list for me :) I'm really glad you enjoyed it!

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

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  14. I've been wanting to read this since the first time I saw it. I love the premise, and I love the character development for Rosie. You know I love a complicated girl, Rachel. ;-)
    Fabulous review!

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  15. Ah, I've had my eye on this one for a while now! It sounds SO hilarious and cute. I love the quote you shared, Rachel! It had me cracking up. Rosie sounds like a fantastic character, even if at first, she seems a bit self-centered. I love it when characters grow and develop. Logan sounds like a fantastic character as well. I always love a little sarcasm.

    I'm so glad this one's out! I'll have to pick it up ASAP! Fantastic review, Rachel! :) <3

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  16. This seems like the perfect book to kick-start my Summer holidays, Rachel! "light, funny and with a touch of romance" is EXACTLY what I need right now. :) Rosie is hilarious! She doesn't seem like the perfect MC, but I'm glad you ended up liking her. I personally prefer romances that are slowly developed and built up, not love at first sight relationships, which is the case more often than not. I really want to read this, after your fabulous review! Thanks for sharing, Rachel, and wonderfully-written review, as always. :D <3

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  17. I liked this too. Rose definitely had to grow on me, but I liked the way she matured. And yes all three of the guys were great. I liked that a romance didn't really take off just a hint of one.

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  18. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the charming review! I have this book on my kindle for quite sometime now. I shall read this soon. I love books with no insta-love :)

    -Dannielle

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  19. I love road trip books. This book sounds really cute and I love the way the geek-squad characters sound. Great review :)

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  20. I have seen this book around but haven't given it a second glance cause it seems to shallow for me. I mean I like light summer reads but I need some deeper feelings in it. I seems that this one was a nice read. I'll give maybe this summer. Great review :)

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  21. ROFL! The quote... I SO WANT TO GET MY HANDS ON A FUN book now! And this sounds perfect. Plus she set her ex's car on Fire! Respect!

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  22. I admit, when I read the cover, it looks a bit sappy, but when I read the synopsis, it piqued my interest. I agree with everything you said in the review. And I'm glad because if it wasn't for you I wouldn't even look at this book at all. Awesome job Rachel :D

    ~ Jules of Jules Bookshelf

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  23. I have heard amazeballs things about Logan and LOL I want to read a road-trip book so bad--these are the best kind. Humourous read is exactly what I need right now since all the books I've been reading lately have all been so serious. I can't wait to pick this up and I'm so happy you liked it Rachel:)

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  24. I love books about roadtrips and books with humour! This sounds like a fun summer read. Thanks for the review, Rachel! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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  25. Eeep. I was pretty reluctant to read this when I first saw this in goodreads but it seems like this is something I might enjoy a lot. Rosie sounds like a character you won't like at first but I'm glad to hear she's a character that develops and progresses as the story went on. The story seems like pretty hilarious! I really think I'd have a lot of fun reading this. Thanks for the lovely and convincing review, Rachel. :)

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  26. This one sounds like so much fun Rachel. I really hope to get around to reading it soon :)

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  27. I need a good summer read with good romance too. I need to add to tbr

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  28. To be honest, even though I wanted to read this, I've been worried I'd find her actions unacceptable, just like you did. But if it didn't bother you, chances are I'd enjoy the character growth too. So I'll bring it to the beach one day. Once I actually finish grading finals and get there.
    Great review! :)

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  29. I'm so in need of a humorous book right now, my last 2 were so disappointing and I'm so glad you reviewed this one! This is exactly the kind of book I was looking for. Plus, I love that she is on a road trip with 3 guys. How amazing does that sound! Fabulous review, Rachel. Can't wait to start this one :)

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  30. Great review, Rachel. I have this book on my pile but am a little hesitant to read it just because I couldn't warm up to the idea of a girl who's got a hang up for an ex. But, I'm convinced. :)

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