Book Talk: The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi





book synopsis Lexi’s mom is already hanging on by a thread and things at home aren’t so great and Lexi fears they are going to get even worse now that her mom has found out her secret (she’s gay). In hopes to fix things, Lexi agrees to go to New Horizons camp — a camp that promises to completely change her and “take the gay out of her — in hopes that she can save what family she has left and start all over…until she realizes it’s not that simple.


good books to readI’m so conflicted on this one honestly. I appreciated things about it but it kind of fell apart for me personally and I seemed to lack some really important connection to the characters even though I really felt for them and found their stories to be compelling.

1. I’m a sucker for absolutely unique premises and this fit the bill there: A camp to “de-gay” teens? That alone piqued my interest and it delivered because I was horrified with this camp with every page I turned — ridiculous outfits, whacked ideas of gender roles, outrageous rules and therapy that will make your mouth drop. Then you add in a forbidden attraction and the fact that the main character, Lexi, is only doing this FOR her mother and it just really become a book you couldn’t put down and gives you a lot to think about and grapple with! Lexi’s inward rejection of New Horizon’s is so, so compelling because on the outside she’s just trying to do this for her mom and is trying to do what she’s told but you feel that knife to the heart with some of the things she has to go through that deny and reject who she is at her core, who she loves and things she believes. You feel how hard that struggle is and what a real struggle it is for people to hide who they really are.

2. Things were going so well but then towards the end I was a little less than thrilled (no spoilers!): So, even though this camp is horrifying and there really is this really thought-provoking and heavy undertone to it all, the story also is lighthearted in some ways with friendships and romance. Lexi is pretty skeptical of all this and we get her snarky sort of outlook on it all and we get to know the 3 other people in her group and their attitudes and reasons for doing it. There’s rebellion and then there’s absolute adherence to the program and they are all trying to wrestle with it all with their variety of reasons for being there. It’s interesting and really deep/dark but there’s also this, like I said, sort of softer side to it all — this joyful sort of love and friendship. It’s a good mix! But then this THING happens and it’s a big thing and I was okay with the shift in the story towards this super serious, awful thing…but then I hated hated hated how it was handled. Like SO put off. I don’t want to get TOO into it for spoiler reasons but just know that. I didn’t feel any urgency in places with the characters re: this thing + I felt like the resolution of it left way more to be desired. We can do spoilers in the comments if you’ve read (label ’em por favor!).

3. While I appreciated the characters, I never got THAT feeling: I really liked Lexi and admired her. I liked how well her struggle to please her mom with becoming straight vs. knowing what felt right in her heart was portrayed. It was heartwarming but I never felt like I got into the SOUL of Lexi in the way I do other characters so I never really felt moved. And that’s important to me personally as a reader. I felt for her but it never went beyond that. And while some of the other characters in this novel were interesting and showed different sides and reasons for being at this camp, I felt like a lot of them were caricatures to me.


book reviewsMan, as compelling as The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi was the whole way through with its intriguing premise and how it delivered on that, there was just some essential ingredient missing to make have a bigger impact on me. It gave me a lot to think on and really explored some interesting issues that are so relevant but ultimately the characters just straddled the line between cardboard and alive for me and I had some issues with a THING that happened near the end and the handling of the said thing. While it’s a really good story that captures that spirit of loving yourself for who you are and accepting it despite what others may want for you, I just wanted MORE from it.




short book reviewSummer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Am I the only one bothered by the ending because all I saw was rave reviews so I don’t know if I’m alone here!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I love love loved this one! That camp was just…aahhh! So infuriating and disgusting! But I totally agree about the…THING. I thought the book was going quite well without that happening, and I would have rated it higher without it.

  2. I absolutely ADORED this book. It was such a hard read, but I loved it. I do agree with you about the THING. I wanted more resolution about the events that happened at the end.

  3. I definitely agree with you about that Thing. It really was not handled well or as sensitively as it should have been. There was a lot of horrible stuff going on at that camp and it made me really sad to see it all either ignored or just glossed over as if it’s all so easy to get over.

    Another thing I thought wasn’t handled well was the mom’s attitude toward her daughter coming out. A mother who will do that – spend ten grand, send her only child away from home, etc – is not just going to magically be okay with everything after a few short weeks. It didn’t seem realistic at all and ignored a lot of the healing and growth that comes with that sort of turnaround in character. I don’t think this was fair to the kids who are going through the same things right now.

  4. Wow! I hadn’t heard of this book before I read your review and holy heck I’m intrigued, I’m also a complete sucker for unique premises. If I feel like I haven’t read it before I oh so want to. I’m definitely going to be adding this to my TBR just to see how I feel about the camp and characters.

    Thanks for the great review.

  5. I have read this book and I loved it. Yeah the ending should have been resolved a little better but I didn’t really care. For me the most horrifying thing about this book was that this actually happens in real life. Every thing that happens in this book, it has happened in real life. Jessica did a ton of research on these camps and this book is 100% accurate. Even that horrible thing in the end. Chapter 29. That’s what gave me those extra feels for the characters and what they were going through.

  6. I hadn’t heard of this one before but I have to say I’m intrigued. On twitter I mentioned that it reminded me of the movie But I’m A Cheerleader! which April and I had to watch in undergrad together. Except this seems to lack the comedic aspect which the movie had going for it. Still I’m definitely going to add this one to my TBR list and check it out for myself! 🙂

  7. Mallory O'Connor says:

    can’t wait to read this! great book talk!