“Summer by Summer” offers unconventional love story

Sabrina Kenoun, Assistant Entertainment Editor

Most romantic fiction books seem to have the same, stereotypical outline: two people from two different worlds coming together in the form of unrequited love or friendship. Fortunately, the same cannot be said for the latest novel by Heather Burch, “Summer by Summer,” released on April 7.

The protagonist, Summer Mathers, is just like any other 18–year–old girl, aside from the fact that she is still learning to cope with the loss of her boyfriend who had passed away nearly a year ago. Desperate for a fresh start and a way to escape her grief, Mathers accepts a summer job as a nanny for the Garrison family and joins them as they vacation in Belize.

Fortunately for Summer, the 10–year–old boy she is in charge of, Joshie, is an absolute delight. However, the same cannot be said for his 19–year–old brother Bray.

A sophomore in college, Bray is one of the biggest party boys around. He makes the trip out to Belize with his family so that his little brother can have one last memorable family vacation. An uptight nanny like Summer was certainly not someone he anticipated having to deal with, so when a diving trip shared between them goes awry and the two are stranded on an island, the tension seems to skyrocket.

Before I had even opened the book, I read the back cover summary. As I looked it over I couldn’t help but think that it would be just like every other cliche young adult romance.

For once in my life, I am happy that I was wrong— Heather Burch brings so much more to the story than typical teenage love. There is a certain depth to Summer and Bray’s story that does not exist in other novels. The story shows someone healing from loss with the help of another and finding a way to be happy again. That may sound like the ending to every sappy movie in history, but it is done in such a graceful way that it would be shameful for one not to believe in the miracles of love after reading this book.

Most authors who write novels that stand alone leave it to the reader to determine the fate of the characters, but Burch is not like them. She brings the story to a close with an amazing epilogue that is sure to stay with the reader for days on end.

This book, though overwhelming with feelings of happiness, only weighs in at an all–too–short 282 pages. It’s one of those books that makes you want to go sit on the sand somewhere, lie back and read, making it a prime summer read.

I am not exaggerating when I say I loved this book so much, I wished it would have gone on forever. Burch has also written many other compelling stories. For such an amazing author, Burch seems to fly under the radar and most certainly does not get the respect she deserves. “Summer by Summer” deserves the highest of praise, and if Burch wasn’t widely known before, she certainly will attain such recognition once readers find this beautiful read.