As soon as I heard about this book, I was everywhere trying to get an ARC. As we all know, I’m constantly on the lookout for books with Jewish characters that have nothing to do with the Holocaust. And not only is this that but it’s a YA romance between two girls and it has a HEA (happily ever after)!!
It’s a fun read that I’ve already been recommending to people.
Let’s get to the review!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.
Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?
Lara thinks she knows what she wants but then she goes away to the Outer Banks for the summer and meets Jasmine and her world is turned upside down. She’s wanted Chase, the football star of her school, for as long as she can remember, but then she met Jasmine this summer and that want went out the window.
And it especially goes out the window when Jasmine shows up on their first day of school after summer!
It also doesn’t help that now Chase seems to want her back! And she and Jasmine didn’t exactly leave things on perfect terms. So now what is she supposed to do?!?!?!
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!
I loved the way this explores sexuality and the not-knowing/questioning phase of that journey. It’s done really well and as someone who questions her sexuality on the daily, it felt very real and relatable.
I also loved how Lara’s relationship with Chase is written once she figures out “oh hey, I really want to be with Jasmine” Some bisexual stereotypes are addressed and I know a lot of people will appreciate that. It felt very adult how they handled it.
Let’s talk characters a bit more!
While I don’t think I’d be friends with any of these characters in high school (they are all quite popular and know how to do social things), I enjoyed reading about their lives and Lara and Jasmine’s struggles. I think sometimes people get bogged down in relatability. I can relate to a few things these characters go through, but it’s really their emotions and struggles that connected me more and that’s how I connect with so manty books where the characters are so different.
That being said…OMG TWO JEWISH GIRLS IN ONE BOOK!! I cannot express how much I love this and how much I wish more books like this existed when I was growing up. And seeing two different types of Jews was a breath of fresh air. I very much relate more to Lara’s Jewishness but I LOVED seeing Jasmine’s traditions as well.
And the parents!! OMG I love a YA book with supportive parents. It makes me so teary-eyed. Especially when Lara comes out to her mom. I love it so much!
I also really enjoyed all the friendships in this book. Shannon…well, I probably would have thrown her off a cliff, but the rest were so wonderful and supportive (Shannon was also supportive but she could be a bit….meh). I kind of love how a few of Lara and Jasmine’s friends knew something was going on between them even before they did.
Cool for the Summer goes between the present where Jasmine and Lara are at the same school and the past where they’re together at Jasmine’s dad’s place in the Outer Banks. It’s done really well. While I always want to see what’s happening in the present and how the relationship between Lara and Jasmine is developing, I was equally as captivated by what happened in the past too.
Overall, I enjoyed Cool for the Summer. It’s definitely a fun summer read. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.
It’s one of those books that I enjoyed reading but am not sure I’ll reread. It didn’t yell “THIS IS THE BEST EVER” at me like some other books do. That’s not to discount it. As I said, I’m already recommending it to people I know will love it but it just didn’t hit me emotionally like I know it will others.
Highly recommend! but not a reread. (does that make sense at all??)
Cool for the Summer is out now!
Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for the free eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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