Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Summer I Wasn't Me

I read this book in one sitting.  Granted, I read it in the backseat of a car heading 4 hours back home from PLA in Indianapolis...there wasn't anywhere else for me to go.  But!  This made the time go by much faster, and pretty enjoyably minus a brief bout of car queasiness.  

The Summer I Wasn't Me is a YA novel by Jessica Verdi.  Lexi's father has recently passed away, her mother isn't coping well, and she's just found out Lexi likes girls.  To rescue her unraveling family, Lexi agrees to go to New Horizons-a camp that promises to transform her; to make her like boys.  She wants to do this, she wants to start over.  However, her summer at New Horizons brings surprises, both good and bad.  

I love the movie But I'm a Cheerleader.  I think it was the first LGBTQ movie I saw that was, while satirical, poignant enough to leave a lasting impression.  Actually, I still have the song Glass Vase, Cello Case in my iTunes "Favorites" playlist.  This book was similar- but so much more gut-wrenching, heart-breaking.  I think I connected with the characters more.  Lexi is pretty awesome, and The Great Gatsby is one of her favorite books.  The symbolism in the books comes into play quite a bit throughout The Summer I Wasn't Me.

What's kind of a kicker, too, is Lexi's perspective is one who has grown up in the church.  At one point she brings up the sermons and how it was "getting harder and harder to listen to everyone talking about me like God didn't love me quite as much as he did them.  They didn't know they were talking about me, of course, but that didn't make it hurt any less."  

It's so...crazy, but then you realize that there are camps like this.  I tried to find a memoir from someone who had been through a similar experience, but to no avail.  

This book brings up tough issues like religion, family, choices in general, abuse, but specifically from the perspective of LGBTQ teens.  Definitely a conversation-starter on many levels.  

Bonus!  Author Jessica Verdi will be guest posting in a couple of weeks- stay tuned!

The Summer I Wasn't Me is published by Sourcebooks Fire. Review Copy graciously provided by the publisher.
Released: 04.01.2014

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