So, I haven’t reviewed a book on here in a little, long while. That’s not to say I haven’t been reading, because I have. No, really. I swear. I have! A lot. But by a lot I mean I’m one hundred pages into about a dozen different books, and re-reading a couple too. Boo on me; I should learn to commit. Luckily, Summer Demons is only a little longer than a hundred pages, and so I’ve finally managed to actually finish a book to review. And watch out for the upcoming weeks, because as I actually start to finish all the books I’ve started there might just be a book blitz¹.
Anyways, onto the book review…
By: Mia Hoddell
I was provided with a free ARC of Summer Demons by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads Score: 4.33
My Score (Official): 3.0
Highlights: Easy, breezy read. A romance that’s sweet and fluffy.
Lowlights: Ending felt rushed. Multiple perspectives were confusing.
Points of Interest: Summer Demons is a novella.
Jenna Shaw ran away to escape her past. In fact, she jumped on a plane and flew to Portugal to try and forget it. However, it turns out leaving everything behind isn’t as easy as it sounds.
She thought she could move on and break free of her fears–that if she had some space the pain would stop. But as memories resurface due to an ill-timed joke, the past crashes into her present once more and she didn’t see it coming.
Jenna’s plans for normality are derailed by the charismatic Ethan Brooks. She sees him as an annoyance; he sees her as a challenge. But as he tries every trick known to him to impress her, they only serve to push her further away. He’s never faced this problem before and Ethan has to work harder than he ever has if he wants to win over and help his mysterious girl.
A young adult romance, this novella would be a great book for teenagers or as a feel-good summer read.
I’m not usually one for the whole cotton candy-esque beach read. I do like romance, but with a few exceptions, I like it swirled with humor or combined with other genres, such as fantasy. That said, when I saw Summer Demons on NetGalley, I was intrigued. Here was a book that had the description: “A feel-good summer read” but with a cover that gave off the feeling that there would be actual demons crawling their way up from the pits of hell this summer. The summary of the book let me know that this was not true, but at 160 pages, I still wanted to know how this book was going to unfold.
I ended up with mixed reactions.
The beginning reads a little like an early R.L. Stine book. All the Fear Street readers out there will know what I’m talking about. Picture: our heroine Jenna, lounging innocently in the pool when–what’s that she sees? Red? It couldn’t be…blood! Jenna’s memories are plagued by her past. Since we don’t get to know the details of said past in the description, I thought it would be kept secret for a good portion of the novella, but although Jenna’s awful memories play a part throughout most of the story, we find out the exact details of the death early on, in a conversation between Jenna and her friend Amy, who are in Portugal on vacation.
Jenna’s scarred past is the main obstacle that is in place between her and the male protagonist, Ethan, who is likable in an arrogant, bordering-on-obnoxious-at-times way. He first meets Jenna by pulling her into a pool, bringing traumatic memories to the surface and putting him in a position to have to reverse the damage before he can gain Jenna’s affections. The regaining her affections part is done in a series of ‘chance’ encounters that made me wonder if Ethan wasn’t secretly stalking Jenna, although he swears he’s not. But, seriously, if this novella were to be made into a movie, it would not surprise me at all to catch Ethan crouching behind a parked car in one of the scenes, wearing a fake mustache and a sombrero, just waiting for the perfect moment to ‘run into’ Jenna again.
Ethan is basically the type of character seen in many romances. He’s arrogant, is intrigued by the challenge the girl presents, and doesn’t give up after a couple of ‘no’s. Still, since I happen to kind of secretly sometimes just maybe like the arrogant type, this didn’t bother me. Jenna’s character was reserved at times, and feisty and teasing at others. She is hesitant to let her true self shine in front of Ethan, but after a pivotal moment in the novella this all changes, and the change in her personality feels abrupt. I like Jenna’s best friend, Amy, as a character, though. Hoddell could have easily overdosed on the superficial, self-centered, party girl cliche…but Amy seems genuinely concerned with Jenna’s well-being, and the protectiveness that she shows for her friend balances her out nicely.
One thing that mildly irked me throughout the book was the way the perspectives were done. I think third person perspective that shifts from character to character can be awesome. Cassandra Clare pulls it off amazing, after all. Sadly, Summer Demons was just confusing. The switches were too abrupt and too hazy, and although I could usually sort out quite quickly who was doing the thinking opposed to who was being described by another character, it annoyed me. Another problem I had was that the grammar needed one last run through Word’s spell check. Sentences such as “…although a part of him thought it would be wise to forget her, like her friend ordered, a bigger part of him was intrigue by her,” weren’t too common, but I spotted a couple of them that could have easily been fixed.
Despite my gripes, Summer Demons was a light, easily swallowed (can you tell that I’m hungry right now?) novella that will appeal to people who want to plow through a romance while lounging in the sun, snacking on a bowl of grapes. I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to check out another one of Hoddell’s stories, but if I ever came across one, I don’t think I’d be opposed to giving it a try.
What books are you guys reading and loving/hating/being completely neutral over? What are your perfect beach reads? Let me know!
¹Oh look, I’ve learned how to use footnotes on WordPress! …wait, should this be a separate footnote? Oh, I’m too lazy how to figure out a double footnote. I’ll just get to the point by saying that actually, this statement may be false, as in two weeks I’ll be moving out, and so will probably still sluggishly cranking out a couple posts a week, and then guility-ly watching Netflix…