Tuesday, July 14, 2015

ARC Review: Song of Summer

Title: Song of Summer*
Author: Laura Lee Anderson
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Goodreads / Amazon

"The thirteen qualities of Robin's Perfect Man range from the mildly important "Handsome?" to the all-important "Good taste in music?" After all, Westfield's best high school folk musician can't go out with some schmuck who only listens to top 40 crap. So when hot Carter Paulson walks int he door of Robin's diner, it looks like the list may have come to light after all...until 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. Music, language, and culture all take a backseat as love drives the bike. But long long can this summer really last?"

Full disclosure: I very nearly DNF this book. In fact, I actually put it down for about a week before forcing myself to finish reading. I also did something I very rarely do - I gave this book 1 star on Goodreads. I seem to have pretty bad luck with ARCs lately.

I was originally intrigued by this premise because I want to read more diverse books, and a profoundly deaf main character really drew me in. I went into this reading experience with high hopes for Carter and his relationship with Robin, but was ultimately disappointed. Song of Summer was yet another example of the overly cliché contemporary that causes me to distrust this genre on the whole (my faves Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Dessen withstanding). The characters all felt one-dimensional, and conversations and interactions read so unrealistically. Those are probably my biggest pet peeves with books - people aren't really like that! Everything just came across as forced and fake, and I felt no connection with any characters.

I also wasn't rooting for Robin and Carter - I never understood why they liked each other, or why I should care. Because this was the most cliché of contemporary tropes, of course the time came for them to have some sort of confrontation and break up, so they could miraculously get back together right at the very end. Their big "fight" was honestly ridiculous - do authors intentionally refuse to write characters who know how to communicate? (and no, that has nothing to do with Carter being deaf since he's actually the more mature of them) Ultimately, rather than accepting Carter as he is, Robin wants him to change (for a girl he's known a month, mind you), and when she thinks he's willfully refusing to (which is his right), she loses it. Robin was beyond annoying, and that scene made me want Carter to pack up his Ducati and leave her behind.

Song of Summer is only available as an ebook through Bloomsbury Spark for $4, which is pretty cheap for an ebook. If you love cheesy contemporary romance, then you might enjoy this. But if you want a genuinely good contemporary read, you should pass on this.

Recommended Reading:
Stephanie Perkins (the Anna/Lola/Isla trilogy is the best contemporary, ever)
Robin Benway (read about my love for Emmy and Oliver)
Huntley Fitzpatrick (I can't wait for The Boy Most Likely To!)
Sarah Dessen (THE QUEEN)

*I received this an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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