Book Review: Something Like Summer by Jay Bell

110102 Something Like Summer Cover wB.cdrEveryone might remember their first crush, mine was Matthew Lawrence from Boy Meets World, but everyone always remembers their first love. Something Like Summer is a story of first love, told by Ben. Ben came out when he was 14. Since then, high school has been rough, but he’s got a great family and a fantastic best friend. The summer after turning 16, Ben develops a crush on a guy he sees run past his block every single week. After chance discoveries and careful “stalking,” he finds out the boys name, Tim. Ben’s persistence pays off, and the boys eventually get to know each other. Their friendship soon blossoms into love, but high school romances are almost always flawed.

The real issue in their relationship is Tim. Tim comes from a rich and religious family so he is ashamed of his feelings for Ben. His cowardliness forces them to keep their relationship secret. Ben, blinded by his love, agrees to Tim’s every demand. The strain of keeping their relationship hidden dooms it to failure and the two split before the end of senior year. You will grow to hate Tim in the book, I’m just warning you now. Like hate him. To the point where you are either yelling at Ben for being dumb or Tim for the same reason.

The story jumps forwards three years and Ben has met an attractive flight attendant, Jace. Jace is 6 years older than him, but the maturity of his age is a blessing. Jace is honest, loving, forgiving, and simply perfect. He’s too good to be true really. With the help of Jace, Ben experiences what a real relationship is suppose to be like. Sure they had a few rough patches, but nothing like Tim. Team Jace all the way. But uh oh, who’s that suddenly jumping back into the picture when everything is going perfect for Ben? Why it’s none other than Tim and he wants Ben back. Of course he does.

The story gets really frustrating at this point. Soooo frustrating. You are once again going to be screaming at Ben and Tim, while trying to reassure Jace that it will all work out. I get that you never forget your first love, but Ben’s recurring feelings for Tim and his inability not let go was maddening. And poor Jace, who is overly understanding on Ben’s trouble staying true to him because of Tim. You will ache for Jace for being able to love Ben despite all the crap. You might even yell at him to grow a pair and fight for his man, but if you do, you will regret it later.

While the story starts about a simple crush, the complexity of it (just like relationships) grows as the story unfolds. I won’t ruin any of the big spoilers for you, just be prepared to be angry, frustrated, sad, and super sad. And if you happen to enjoy the story, there’s two more in the series. One told from Tim’s point of view, and one from Jace’s. Spoiler Alert: Tim’s is still frustrating and Jace’s will make you cry.

Only 4.5 stars because the ending really pissed me off.

4.5/5 stars

~Eddie

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