“The rhythm of a summer season was so set, it was already hard to distinguish the days of this summer from the chime and dissolve of years before.”
-Adele Griffin, Be True to Me
Hey guys! How are you all? I’m thinking of writing a blog post about my top ten books that are perfect for summer, what do you think?
I’m feeling inspired to write a summer books post by Be True to Me, which gave me gorgeous summery vibes! Written by Adele Griffin, I was very lucky to receive this ARC from the lovely people at Algonquin Books.
Set during the summer of 1976 on Fire Island, this is a heady, atmospheric YA contemporary that perfectly captures a hot summer of parties, sunbathing and first love. Set among the privileged beach houses of Sunken Haven, a glamorous and exclusive little enclave on the east coast of the US, this is a riveting story of two girls who are competing for the same guy.
Alternating between the POVs of Jean and Fritz, we get to see two very different characters and how they each interpret the events of that one, pivotal summer. Jean is spending her first summer out from beneath her older sister’s shadow, trying to shake off old insecurities and settle into herself a little better. She’s from one of the oldest, most powerful families in Sunken Haven, but despite this, she turns easily to envy and can even be cruel sometimes in her desperation to be noticed in her own right. Jean’s character is a sharp contrast to Fritz, a girl who visits a friend each summer and doesn’t feel as if she truly belongs among the snobbish elite of Sunken Haven-and nor does she want to. That is, until she meets Gil Burke, a newcomer that is part of a family in the upper echelons of Sunken Haven. They quickly fall in love, united by their joint “otherness”. But Jean and Gil met first, and Jean can’t shake off her attraction to him.
More than just a love triangle, Be True to Me, displays the growing darkness between Jean and Fritz as their competition for Gil escalates into something neither of them could have predicted. I loved how the alternating perspectives of Jean and Fritz play against each other as the girls are driven to compete against each other. Both characters have strong voices and personalities and their development throughout the book is great. I particularly liked how each girl had her own set of strengths and weaknesses-both have very different flaws and issues that they’re dealing with, yet they’re both experiencing the same angst of feeling like they don’t belong/are not noticed, and their first love. The book does a great job at showing how Jean and Fritz deal with these events in very different ways.
Aside from the characters, the 70s, beachy, summery setting was one of my favourite things about this book. It is gorgeously evocative and perfect summer reading! Adele Griffin writes beautifully and I adored her descriptions of the era; the clothes, the houses, the setting, all of it. This was a 5/5 star read for me as I just enjoyed it so much and didn’t want to finish it! I recommend Be True to Me for all YA contemporary fans, and people looking for a good, summery read.
Has anyone else read this? What did you think? Which summery books would you recommend to read beach-side?
“I didn’t know everything about Gil Burke, but I knew right then we were magnetic as the tide.”
-Adele Griffin, Be True to Me