Bringing the Summer by Julia Green
|Bringing the Summer by Julia Green|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Tender and absorbing and truthful, this story will appeal to a wide range of readers, especially the thoughtful, sensitive ones. Some will recognise Freya from an earlier book, Breathing Underwater.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: May 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Freya is returning home from a summer spent with her grandparents, ready to start her A levels. The train she is travelling on stops suddenly and Freya is horrified when she realises that a girl has committed suicide on the line. A sense of obligation leads her to attend the girl's funeral. There, she meets Gabes, a gorgeous boy who goes to her college. Freya is instantly attracted, not just by Gabes, but by his whole, slightly bohemian, family, so different to her own. But there's also a more dangerous attraction. Theo, Gabes's older brother, makes his own interest in Freya very apparent. Theo is very different from Gabes - unpredictable, dark, wild.
Over the next few months, Freya will face some difficult choices about how and who to love, letting go of grief, and how to begin to forge a future for herself...
Bringing the Summer is unashamedly arty. Green's characters discuss classic and modern literature - including children's literature, huzzah! - and artists. They read poetry. They paint. But they are most definitely not highbrow or offputting. It makes me very happy to see an author introducing all this wonderful stuff to readers, and in a way that makes it interesting and inspiring and not in the least bit stuffy or inaccessible. Even Lady Julian of Norwich - don't know her? Look her up! - gets a mention, which, for some silly reason, really made me happy.
But mostly, it perfectly captures how it feels to be an adolescent on the cusp of adulthood. Reading, I felt very much like Freya's mother, who says, You've brought it all back to me so vividly, what it was like for me being sixteen, seventeen. First loves, the terrible complications! And how exciting it all is, too. Life opening out, and all the different possibilities!
Freya meets Gabes and it's exciting and delicious, thinking about what might happen between them. Then she meets Theo and it's exciting and scary, thinking about what might happen between them. She meets a family very different to her own and suddenly her home feels all wrong, somehow, even repellent. She has every teenager's impulse to be secretive about these feelings because they're new and replete with the potential for humiliation. And behind these new beginnings there are also endings - Freya still hasn't quite come to terms with the death of her brother or with witnessing Bridie's suicide.
I just loved this story. It's tender and absorbing and truthful and it will appeal to a wide range of readers, especially the thoughtful, sensitive ones. Some will recognise Freya from an earlier book, Breathing Underwater. I hope Green writes about her again because I've become very fond of her.
You can read more book reviews or buy Bringing the Summer by Julia Green at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Bringing the Summer by Julia Green at Amazon.com.
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