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!