Saturday, 12 May 2012

Bringing The Summer by Julia Green

Pages -248
Published by Bloomsbury in May 2012

It's as if I've got two lives, my island life, and my normal one, back on the mainland. This is the moment when I cross over, one to the other. It's always hard. But it's like Evie says: another door opening. The beginning of something new. 


Goodreads Summary
It’s the lazy end of summer and Freya is about to start her A levels. Her brother Joe died a year ago, but she is slowly coming to terms with his death. She is beginning to feel ready for something new – a change. And then a railway accident brings her into contact with the gorgeous Gabe. Freya is drawn not just to his blond good looks, but everything about him, including his large, shambolic, warm and loving family, which seems to Freya so different from her own.
 And then Gabe’s clearly troubled older brother makes it clear he is interested in Freya – and Freya has some decisions to make about what she really wants.
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I didn't realise this book was part of a series until I read the interview with the author at the end, so this book can be read easily as a standalone. 
The book follows  the autumn and winter of Freya's life and is told from her perspective.  Over the past couple of years she has seen a lot of changes occur since the death of her brother, and it is quite obvious that she is looking for something to fill the void. Her home life has become non existent and she develops a friendship with Gabe, it is clear that his home life appeals to her more than he does. It also doesn't take her long to fall for the dark charms of Theo, one lost soul reaching out to another. Both have lost and grieved but Freya doesn't realise at first how much it is affecting Theo. It takes  her  a while to lift off her rose tinted glasses to see that Theo desperately needs more than she can give him.
The lingering presence of Birdy, hangs around the book like a veil of unhappiness. Theo and Freya are affected quite dramatically by her death, but in different ways. It is obvious that her memory needs to be put to rest and Freya goes to great lengths to do this for Theo. By the end of the book, you see her shutting another chapter of her life as she moves onto another one. 
I loved Gabe's family! They seemed to colour the pages of the book as soon as they entered the story. I could see why Freya was so attracted to their home and wanted to be part of her life. The author did a fantastic job in contrasting the  two different lifestyles occurring. The cold, emptiness in Freya's home in comparison to the warmth and vibrant life in Gabe's home. The description of Christmas Day was just beautiful and definitely how I would love to celebrate it. 
I did struggle to identify with and warm to Freya. I am not sure why, but I didn't find her voice very strong in the novel. The people around her appeared vibrant and colourful, so it may have been the way the author wanted to portray her.  I was often surprised by her parent's reactions to her overnight stays - I can't imagine being this vacant as to my children's whereabouts at sixteen, although I could be labelled as an overprotective parents. 
I am going to look at getting hold of the first book in the series, Breathing Underwater, as I would like to know more about Freya's back story. 

This book was brilliant at examining grief and learning to cope with it; finding a way to live with it and move on. 

5 comments:

  1. It sounds good but I would start with book 1 then :)

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  2. The book sounds fantastic! There are so many kids who have to deal with grief - hopefully this book will bring some of them comfort.

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    1. You are so right. This book would be an ideal one to recommend.

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  3. This sounds like an interesting series. I love the cover.

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