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.
The Summer Remains first appeared on my radar when one of my favourite authors raved about it. I dove headfirst without realizing that it would give me all the feels and leave a bit of a hole inside me. It's taken me a while to write this review because I've had such a difficult coming up with the right words to encapsulate how this book has affected me. So please bear with me as I attempt to do it justice.
Summer Johnson wants what most anyone wants, to fall in love and be loved. Summer’s life hasn’t been easy. She was born with an extremely rare and debilitating medical condition that inhibits her ability to digest foods. As a result, she has to use a feeding tube. She also has a visible scar on her face that she tries to hide. Her dad left their family, leaving her mother alone to take care of her and her brother. With all these strikes against her you’d expect Summer to be one maladjusted young woman. While she does have a bite to her personality that took me some getting used to, she’s also spunky and straightforward. Her disability may be a hindrance but she’s managed to thrive so far. Upon agreeing to undergo that risky surgery, she promises herself that she will finally fall in love. Opening her heart might actually be riskier than the surgery but it’s a risk worth taking if she wants to feel that she has lived a full life.
Someone like Cooper with his insight and frankness is not what she expected. He is unfazed by her appearance or condition. He’s incredibly kind and sweet towards her that sometimes she wonders if there’s a catch. Falling in love is her deepest wish come true. They’re so good for each other that it’s gratifying to see them come alive.
This is about two young people who believe in love and feel the heavy weight of it. Loving someone through the turmoil of illness and a myriad of emotions isn't easy. It’s when Cooper tells the story from his perspective that I completely lost it. I was barely keeping it together up until then!
Seth King wrote this story in memory of his brother Martin, and you can feel the love through every page. There's no sugarcoating it - The Summer Remains is simply a beautiful heartbreak of a read. You'll have a good cry after which you’re going to need a box of tissues and someone to hug afterwards. Trust me.
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