Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Summer of No Regrets (Review)

Title: The Summer of No Regrets
Author: Katherine Grace Bond
Publication Information: Sourcebooks, Trade Paperback, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4022-65044
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Plot: Teenage Brigitta lives in a small town in Washington State and is home schooled so has only one friend, Natalie, who is obsessed with celebrity gossip and always thinks she “sees” famous people in unexpected places. So when Natalie becomes convinced that Brigitta’s new neighbor Luke is really movie star Trent Yves, Brigitta is unconvinced. Sure, there is a resemblance but why would Hollywood’s bad boy be living in rural Washington and why would he be interested – as he seems to be – in an ordinary teenager like her? Rescuing, or trying to rescue, two cougar cubs brings this unlikely pair together, and Brigitta ignores all the clues that indicate Luke is not an ordinary boy next door with an ordinary mother. Luke does not confide in Brigitta, and Brigitta does not confide in Natalie, which results in disaster, at least temporarily. When Brigitta feels that everyone in her life has abandoned her, she runs away to the one place she has always felt comfortable, the farm in Indiana which once belonged to her grandparents. Along with Brigitta, the reader waits anxiously to see if anyone cares enough to follow her.
What I liked: This was an unusual and vivid story, with quirky characters. Isn’t it every girl’s fantasy that a gorgeous movie star will move in next door and fall for her? Or even just that a mysterious stranger will move in next door and fall for her? (I guess this is a natural progression from the genre of books where girl hopes for a girl her age to move in – Betsy-Tacy, Amy Moves In, Little Plum and many others) While Brigitta’s parents were too busy with their weird new-age healing center (I would have liked them more if they seemed more sincere about their beliefs but the father especially came across as an opportunist) to pay attention to her, I liked her relationship with her older sister Mallory. I also enjoyed Brigitta’s blog entries and the pseudo-gossip magazine articles, which were very funny.

What I disliked: The story started slowly yet there was an awful lot going on: lonely homeschooled teenager in the midst of her first crush; father whose personality has changed after the loss of Brigitta’s grandparents; living in a new-age enterprise with parents who have become unfamiliar gurus; an older sister involved with a repulsive college professor; and a mysterious cougar that Brigitta identifies with in an unhealthy but convincing way – and that is before the handsome stranger moves in next door! I felt at times there were just too many plot lines going on and the author’s transition from topic to topic was a bit awkward, and it took a while to draw me into the narrative. Also, Brigitta was awfully dim about the identity of her neighbor and dim to think that a blog about him would not be discovered; while her cluelessness was important to the plot, it was kind of annoying.

Source: I got this from the local library (after I suggested the purchase). This is the first book I have read from Sourcebooks’ new YA imprint, Fire.

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