Book Title/Author: How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse – May 7, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
Other Books From Author: None
I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!
Rosie finds out that her boyfriend cheats on her and then he flaunts the girl in her face. The next thing she knows her ex’s car is on fire and she’s got a restraining order and, in trying to talk to him, is facing stalking charges. Her parents decide, to keep her from getting in any more trouble before the court date, to send her on a road trip across the country with their next door neighbor Matty, the sorta geeky boy next door, and his two friends. As the miles start to grow in between her and the situation at home she’s itching to get back and fix things and win him back — at all costs.
I’m really conflicted on this one. On one hand, especially as my gym read, How My Summer Went Up in Flames was precisely what it was supposed to be — a fun summer read with some entertaining and absolute LOL moments, some romance and a road trip! I read through it pretty quickly, it was very enjoyable and I was always excited to pick it up — as excited as one could be excited on a treadmill. But on the other hand, there was so much about it that irked me & pulled me out of it but it seems to probably just be a ME thing from all the rave reviews I’ve seen. All of my feelings are very all over the place… a lot of “I liked this BUT at the same time I didn’t.”
There were some really awesome parts of the road trip — some fun moments and also some self discovery moments where I wanted to hug Rosie. But on the other hand, this road trip was a lot like being stuck in the car with your annoying little sibling who keeps kicking the back of your seat — it makes it a little less enjoyable. Rosie was miserable for most of this road trip because she didn’t WANT to go and was all angsty about her ex boyfriend. That was hard for me to relate to because umm ROAD TRIP? The answer is enthusiastically ALWAYS. But whatever, I could go with it. But it was hard to actually ENJOY the road trip part of it because Rosie made 75% of it miserable because of her bad attitude. I’d be into the flow of their adventure and then she would pull me right out of it. LUCKILY, the boys and a sweet girl we meet along the way more than made up for it. They kept me reading during the moments when I thought I might push Rosie out of the car if I could. I seriously LOVED the boys. They were my favorites. I was really relieved in the moments when Rosie was ENJOYING the road trip and growing.
The romance! Ok, so there were some really swoony and cute parts. There were. The tension was written very well and I was so waiting for some kissing because of all the tension. But here’s the thing…throughout the book I felt like there was some MOMENTS where it felt like she liked or felt some maybe possibly confused feelings with each one of the guys in the car which I found weird considering everything that just went down with a breakup. I can’t explain it but there were parts where maybe they were goofing off and it seemed like there was tension with one guy or she’d be like “hmm he’s really kinda cute” and made me think, “OH is she going to go for him now?” There’s one kinda more OBVIOUS guy but there were just these weird moments I can’t explain without telling you. And then there’s a guy who comes into the picture and is suddenly smitten with her as well and the whole time I was confused as to WHY because there wasn’t much through the story where we saw any reason why she was so desirable or special.
Luckily there WERE parts where I felt like Rosie shined and I was like “Yeah, I like this girl a lot — she’s feisty and can be fun and I GET her. ” In those moments, I could see through the grumpy exterior and feel like I was getting to know who Rosie was and saw why people wanted to be friends with her — like how she talked on the phone to her dog or stood up for a friend. But, by the end, I still don’t think I quite got who she was or felt like I understood her though I feel like I was starting to.
Unfortunately, for me, How My Summer Went Up In Flames didn’t stand out. It had its moments and generally was entertaining and fun — the perfect type of summer read when you are craving something light that will take you no time to breeze through because it’s paced really well. I loved the secondary characters but there was a lot about the main character and her storyline that irked me and pulled me out of this romp across America. She had her moments where I was like, “Girl, you rock!” but never moved past that. It wasn’t that I DIDN’T like How My Summer Went Up In Flames but I just didn’t love it though I know SO many are going to not even notice the things that annoyed me. I did appreciate how realistic it was and that it wasn’t totally romance centric but it just never made me FEEL anything more than, “Ok, that was fun.” I will say that I will be picking up her next book Famous Last Words because I think she writes fun contemporaries.
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? Was I the only one who was drawn out of the story for these things?
ALSO I don’t listen to a ton of country music but this song and video are HILARIOUS and Miranda is awesome and it totally reminds me of this book in ways as it talks about the “crazy” some of catch during a break up. Even a reference to matches 😛