Wednesday, July 21, 2021

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner


Last year's Big Summer was the first Jennifer Weiner book I'd read and I enjoyed it very much. That Summer has completely different characters, but Cape Cod plays a big role in this novel, too. 

Diana Scalzi is fifteen years old and has the world ahead of her the summer she spends on Cape Cod, nannying for her mom's friend Dr. Levy. She even meets a boy named Poe who just graduated from Emlen, a private boy's school that is the place to send the sons of the wealthy and powerful. They spend time on the beaches, getting to know one another. Diana is smitten, and believes Poe is, too. 

Until one night, at the end of the summer, when Poe gets her drunk, and rapes her. It changes Diana forever. Revenge comes back years later, just when she thinks she's able to let go and move on. However, Diana finds out revenge isn't that easy.

Diana "Daisy" Shoemaker is married to Hal, an older, handsome lawyer. Their daughter Beatrice is a teenager who recently was kicked out of Hal's alma mater, Emlen. Daisy is the woman who keeps the family running--always putting Hal's needs before her own. She keeps getting the wrong emails-emails for another Diana. Soon they form a friendship and begin meeting each other for lunch and dinner. Who is this new friend, and what does she want from Daisy?

Yes, you guessed it--Daisy's friend is none other than Diana Scalzi. Whatever Diana has planned, she never planned on actually liking Daisy and Beatrice. Does she continue on her path of revenge, or walk away before confronting Hal?

So I've got to admit I was not expecting a story about a teenage rape and the drive to avenge. I didn't really read any blurbs about the novel, so that was surprising. I much preferred Big Summer--it was a much more solid plot This plot seemed a bit thin and there wasn't much driving it forward. I was hoping Daisy would stand up to Hal in a really big way, but had to wait a long time for any kind of tough Daisy. 

It wasn't a bad story; I was just underwhelmed and had hoped for more. Warning there is a rape scene in this novel (it is not graphic) so if this is a sensitive subject for you this may be a tough read. 

I'll keep reading Jennifer Weiner and hope her next novel is a bit different than That Summer. 

Rating: 3/6 for a novel about a woman who is haunted by her tragic past and cannot move forward until she confronts her rapist. In doing so, she finds innocent casualties in her drive for revenge. 

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

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