Thursday, 2 July 2015

Review: Song of Summer by Laura Lee Anderson

Song of Summer by Laura Lee Anderson
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Publication date: July 7th 2015
My rating: 2.5 stars 
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The thirteen qualities of Robin’s Perfect Man range from the mildly important “Handsome” to the all-important “Great taste in music.” After all, Westfield’s best high school folk musician can’t go out with some shmuck who only listens to top 40 crap. When hot Carter Paulson walks in the door of Robin’s diner, it looks like the list may have come to life. It’s not until the end of the meal that she realizes he’s profoundly deaf.

Carter isn’t looking for a girlfriend. Especially not a hearing one. Not that he has anything against hearing girls, they just don’t speak the same language. But when the cute waitress at Grape Country Dairy makes an effort to talk with him, he takes her out on his yellow Ducati motorcycle.

Told in first person alternating perspectives, language, music, and culture go along for the ride as Carter and Robin find their song.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed parts Song of Summer. Ms. Anderson was able to stir up dreamy feelings, and at times it was as if I was under a delicious, swoony spell.  Unfortunately, other parts were very angsty, and a few things just didn’t sit well with me.

Robin’s whole life revolves around music. She sings and plays several instruments and working at the Grape Country Dairy diner is helping her save for a coveted guitar. Even her ex-boyfriend, Trent, is all about music which made his dumping of her hard to take. She is still smarting over that, but that soon changes when Carter walks into the diner, and Robin goes into deep crush mode. He’s gorgeous and apparently smitten with Robin, too, the only drawback is Carter is deaf.  Still, they share an immediate and intense attraction.

Both Robin and Carter make attempts to fit into each other’s world, but as they soon come to discover that is no easy feat. Add in both Carter and Robin’s past love interests showing up and causing divisions, and you have a heck of a lot to overcome.

Robin’s life and happiness is so wrapped up in music, that is was ironic, and at times painful that she fell so hard for a person who was unable to share that important part of her life. 

Carter is comfortable in his life in the close-knit Deaf community back home, and he thoroughly detested any who looked at him as deficient, and I can understand where he was coming from. Having a hearing girlfriend was never on the agenda.

I really wanted to love this story. I read the synopsis and fell in love with the premise, but there were just too many things that didn’t work for me.

Trying to get along in the hearing world seemed like trying to get by in another country where you don’t speak the language.  It would be hard not to feel completely left out.  The same applied to Robin when she tried to hang out with Carter’s sister, and his ex-girlfriend, Jolene.  The awkwardness was amplified by the difference in their home base. Carter is a city guy and Robin is a small town girl. And, boy did Jolene jump on those insecurities! I couldn’t stand the drama caused by their exes; more so with Jolene, because Carter allowed it. I was NOT okay with that at all, one instance in particular. But that could just be me. I am a jealous sort of person, and some things that would bug me may not bother others.

I’m not a fan of insta-love romances, but sometimes they can work.  Robin and Carter had really amazing chemistry at the start, so I could’ve been on board had I felt the emotions to support it.  However, I never felt they shared their innermost thoughts; in fact Robin downplayed her absolute love of music whenever she was with Carter. She didn’t really share just how important and vital it was to her until the end.  They both felt like supreme outsiders in each other’s world at different times in the story, but never shared about that! How can you be close, be “in love” with someone when you don’t share what you’re thinking and feeling?  Also, Robin flies off the handle after making an assumption, and she blocks all attempts at explanation from Carter. If you love someone, you let them have the chance to explain! It was completely frustrating. 

Another big ding against this story is the open ending. I know some feel that an open ending is more realistic, especially in view of this being a YA, but that’s not me.  I am definitely not a fan, even if there is a little hope left there in the end.  I was not thrilled with how we got so little after everything. But hey, that’s me, and readers who don’t mind imagining their own HEA based of a little thread of hope thrown out there probably won’t have an issue. I like my endings nice and tightly wrapped up, realistic or not.  I read that the author has a Christmas novella possibly in the works.  I hope that’s true. I would like to read it for closure.


  1. There's lots about this book that I'm sure would not work for me. The insta-love, the angst, the exes showing up and the open ending would all drive me crazy. It's really too bad that this didn't work for you, Rachel, since it sounded like it could have been a good one.
    I hope you read a better YA book next.
    Lovely review!

  2. The older I get, the more difficult it is for me to deal with angst. And when characters make frustratingly stupid decisions, I tend to just give up instead of giving them a chance. I guess my patience is pretty thin these days, so I think I'll skip this one, But I'm glad there were parts you enjoyed at least.

  3. Aw, hugs :( Gorgeous review Rachel. <3 I'm glad you sort of liked this one, but so sorry it was disappointing. I could never read this one. So so so much drama. Ugh. Not for me at all :( And open ending? I can't stand those, lol :) Thank you for sharing about it. <3

  4. Oh that is such a shame that it didn't live up to its premise. I can see that the drama really overwhelmed this book for you and too many past drama coming in contact with the current storyline. It's disappointing to see that Robin has to change a bit and to stop her music for Carter, if it's such a passion of hers then she should embrace and it's a part of her as well. It's sad to see that especially with someone you love. Lovely review, Rachel! :)

  5. Open-ending stories are definitely an acquired taste :) Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. The premise is interesting, too bad it didn't live up to it... Cover is gorgeous though!

  6. No to drama, insta love, exes and open endings. This is a pass for me.

  7. I'm sorry this one was a letdown Rachel! But, if it's any consolation, you saved me the trouble, LOL. I just know I would have been super frustrated, especially with the whole jealousy story line. And an open ending? Can't do that.
    Lovely review!

  8. I feel like this is a book I could like. I like reading books where characters are impaired. However, I'm not a fan of that open ending. They're so over rated! Anyway, I'm still intrigued tho.

  9. If the story is good I could deal with the open ending, as the matter of fact some of my favorite books ever have that type of ending, but I have really low tolerance for insta love relationships and (melo)drama. That's why I don't think this is the right type of a read for me. Great honest review, Rachel! I hope the possible Christmas novella makes it up for you.

  10. Eeeeeeeeeek. Bringing back one ex would be too much for me never mind bringing in two! That sounds painful! I also don't like the sound of the distance between them. Sure they have great chemistry but the fact that they cannot really be personal around each other and have to play down important aspects of their life (music), then how is that really romantic?

    Blegh teen angst :P

    I am glad though that you managed to find parts of the novel dreamy and enjoyable :)

    Lovely review, Rachel!

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  11. I got excited when I read the blurb but...then I saw your rating and read your review. At least some of it was good!

  12. Lovely review, Rachel! Two exes? I think it is too much. I’m not a big fan of open endings too. Sometimes they work for me, though it looks like not in this case.


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