Title: Invincible Summer
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster Imprint)
I've seen some reviews that start by saying the summary of the book coupled with the cover is a bit misleading, that it's not a fun happy-good-time contemporary summer romance YA novel. I agree, it's not.
Heart-wrenching and thought-provoking, Hannah Moskowitz shows us, through narrator Chase, how fragile family can be and what we'll do to try and keep it together during a teen boy's first brush with lust and love. The highs and lows of life don't just happen every day when teens are at school and parents are at work. Summer holidays are not exceptions. There is no sugar-coating.
It was such an emotional book, it felt like I was right there in that beach house listening to the arguments and the laughter, watching Gideon sigh, watching Claudia be Claudia, watching Chase and Noah struggle to be good brothers. I didn't cry at the end like some other readers, but I did feel drained and worn out. It was like an entire lifetime passed during those four summers.
There's a bit of missing character growth between the summers, but that's not what we're meant to see. We're meant to see what the growth has created, how the characters have changed, how each summer has changed them, and who they have become.
I'm unsure on all the Albert Camus quotes that Moskowitz uses. I have a B.A. but I never had to read any Camus. I felt that some of the quotes went over my head, that I wasn't quite smart enough to read it, but Moskowitz said online how Camus, in her opinion, is a good philosopher for teenagers. Perhaps Chase and Noah were the kind of teens that needed a bit of existential philosophy in their lives and I wasn't. ;)
This book is very moving. It made me look at the little bits of their lives, the things that change in an instant and impact our lives in massive ways, and the giant big deals that have the ability to ruin us.
One thing I learned at the end of this book: not every family holiday is all fun and giggles, no summer is pain-free and sparkly with perfection, but it has the ability to make us stronger. To maybe even make us invincible.