Heather Burch’s novel SUMMER BY SUMMER, has more layers than an onion. The job offer of a lifetime for Summer Mathers—to nanny for Joshie Garrison over the summer while in Belize for a family vacation—turns to tragedy when Summer and Joshie’s older brother Bray, who Summer can’t stand, find themselves stuck on a boat in the middle of a storm and stranded on a remote island with nothing but the clothes on their backs to survive. As enemies become allies, the two work together to stay alive on the unforgiving island, and their tensions grow in ways neither expected.
SUMMER BY SUMMER is a novel that had me turning every page, waiting in anticipation to see what would happen next. Though it starts out a bit boring, the ball gets rolling in chapter two. SUMMER BY SUMMER shows that everybody has ghosts in their past, but everybody is able to work through them; ghosts make us who we are. Summer lived through a tragedy, which is why she applied for the job in the first place, to leave her ghosts behind; but ghosts don’t stop haunting just because one gets on a plane.
SUMMER BY SUMMER is unique in its own way, reminding me of many different authors at many different times. There were points on the island when Summer and Bray were fighting for survival when I was reminded of Suzanne Collin’s MOCKING JAY. There were times in the beginning of the novel when I was reminded of THE DUFF because of the wild parties and how Summer felt like such an outsider.
Overall, it’s easy for me to say that I fell head over heels for SUMMER BY SUMMER. I spent an entire day doing nothing but reading this book and sipping tea. One thing that really struck me about this book was Summer’s love for writing and her faith, qualities I felt that mirrored my own.