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The Summer We Forgot

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Caroline George once again transports readers with lush, evocative prose, leading them to ask the question: what happens when we can’t even trust ourselves? Some memories are better left forgotten. Darby and Morgan haven’t spoken for two years, and their friend group has splintered. But when the body of their former science teacher is found in the marsh where they attended c Caroline George once again transports readers with lush, evocative prose, leading them to ask the question: what happens when we can’t even trust ourselves? Some memories are better left forgotten. Darby and Morgan haven’t spoken for two years, and their friend group has splintered. But when the body of their former science teacher is found in the marsh where they attended camp that summer, they realize they have more questions than answers . . . and even fewer memories. No one remembers—or no one is talking. The group of reunited friends begins to suspect that a murderer is stalking the coastal highway 30A, and they must try to recover their memories as quickly as possible . . . before the history they can’t remember repeats itself. Everyone has a secret. As tensions rise and time runs out, Darby and Morgan begin to wonder if they can believe one another . . . or if they can even trust themselves. Young Adult suspense with romance Stand-alone novel Book length: 95,000 words Includes discussion questions for book clubs


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Caroline George once again transports readers with lush, evocative prose, leading them to ask the question: what happens when we can’t even trust ourselves? Some memories are better left forgotten. Darby and Morgan haven’t spoken for two years, and their friend group has splintered. But when the body of their former science teacher is found in the marsh where they attended c Caroline George once again transports readers with lush, evocative prose, leading them to ask the question: what happens when we can’t even trust ourselves? Some memories are better left forgotten. Darby and Morgan haven’t spoken for two years, and their friend group has splintered. But when the body of their former science teacher is found in the marsh where they attended camp that summer, they realize they have more questions than answers . . . and even fewer memories. No one remembers—or no one is talking. The group of reunited friends begins to suspect that a murderer is stalking the coastal highway 30A, and they must try to recover their memories as quickly as possible . . . before the history they can’t remember repeats itself. Everyone has a secret. As tensions rise and time runs out, Darby and Morgan begin to wonder if they can believe one another . . . or if they can even trust themselves. Young Adult suspense with romance Stand-alone novel Book length: 95,000 words Includes discussion questions for book clubs

30 review for The Summer We Forgot

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caroline George

    When I was younger, I hid journals in my wardrobe, buried them under scrapbooks and postcards. I swore never to let them see the light of day. At thirteen and fourteen, the mere thought of anyone reading my “secret” words turned my stomach into a wasp nest. If they read, they’d know what was inside my head, and what was inside my head didn’t seem to match the persona I’d created for myself. I was the good girl who wanted to please people and feel accepted. I couldn’t afford to let my deepest and When I was younger, I hid journals in my wardrobe, buried them under scrapbooks and postcards. I swore never to let them see the light of day. At thirteen and fourteen, the mere thought of anyone reading my “secret” words turned my stomach into a wasp nest. If they read, they’d know what was inside my head, and what was inside my head didn’t seem to match the persona I’d created for myself. I was the good girl who wanted to please people and feel accepted. I couldn’t afford to let my deepest and darkest exhume from their hidden places. Only recently have I dug those journals from their storage bin and read them aloud. Writing The Summer We Forgot challenged me to take a long, hard look in the mirror and confront parts of my past. High school. Boys. Lost friends. Finding peace and self-acceptance… maybe even self-forgiveness. The book is my ode to growing up. It examines the memories (and people) we hold onto and the ones we’re desperate to let go. It explores the comforting and eerie sides of nostalgia. And it asks the questions: Are we more of what we remember or what we forget? Do our mistakes—our histories—define us? We’re all in a coming-of-age story. Maybe now is the time to exhume our deepest and darkest from their hidden places. Then again, perhaps some memories are better left forgotten. ;)

  2. 4 out of 5

    booksnpenguins (lance orion approved)

    Not bad! (RTC) ARC APPROVED AND PROVIDED BY NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    "Healing so often resembles grief." Darby and Morgan were once best friends but they no longer speak and their friendship group has splintered. Two years is a long time to harbour a grudge but, maybe, beneath this hurt are deeper emotions that also continue to remain. In the face of the new discoveries and the past secrets that refuse to remain buried, they are forced to confront each other, their tumultuous past, the secrets of a forgotten summer, and just where these feelings stem from. This rem "Healing so often resembles grief." Darby and Morgan were once best friends but they no longer speak and their friendship group has splintered. Two years is a long time to harbour a grudge but, maybe, beneath this hurt are deeper emotions that also continue to remain. In the face of the new discoveries and the past secrets that refuse to remain buried, they are forced to confront each other, their tumultuous past, the secrets of a forgotten summer, and just where these feelings stem from. This remained full of teenage drama and angst and yet I was engaged with it, throughout. It was fun and sometimes a little silly or overly emotional, but mostly intriguing and full of mysteries. The characters' interpersonal relations never overtook the focus of the story, which was on one summer that had been erased from the minds of this friendship group, and these individuals used their emotions to return themselves both back to their former closeness and to uncover just what they forgot. The why and the how was shocking and unforeseen and ensured this a fun, fast-paced, and fascinating thriller that I tore through in just one sitting. It was a unique creation and I'm already eager to read from this author. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Caroline George, and the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for this opportunity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Breny and Books

    First of all, thank you so much Caroline and Thomas Nelson for the ARC <3 I read Caroline's first book, Dearest Josephine and loved it! It was such a beautiful book. I will say this one is very very different from that one. Before I start this review I want to say that Caroline is a freaking talented writer. She has a Gift to transport you to different places with just words and that is magical. Sadly for me The Summer We Forgot didn't make it into my ''loved'' shelf. I was expecting something di First of all, thank you so much Caroline and Thomas Nelson for the ARC <3 I read Caroline's first book, Dearest Josephine and loved it! It was such a beautiful book. I will say this one is very very different from that one. Before I start this review I want to say that Caroline is a freaking talented writer. She has a Gift to transport you to different places with just words and that is magical. Sadly for me The Summer We Forgot didn't make it into my ''loved'' shelf. I was expecting something different when I picked up this book. This story is secular. Even though it's published by a Christian Publishing house this is not a Christian book or has Christian lessons, in my opinion. There is underage drinking, partying, making outs, a dude being with a minor, one Night stands, etc. I don't really know how to explain the type of content so I'll just leave you some quotes. I just don't feel comfortable reading this or recommending it to others, more so when it's published by a Christian Publishing house.... Also there kids are teens... ''we continued to kiss and touch, , sink deeper into the wall of our fur coats, until Darby's older brother discovered us. He must have caught us in a compromising position because he flung open the closet door...guess he didn't expect to find two fifteen year old with their tongues down each other's throats'' ''last night seemed like a week ago. A tipsy haze of Alcohol , glow stciks, and a part timer Emily offering to make out with me in Kip's room'' ''my mouth on her neck. Her breath in my ear. Hands where hands shouldnt be...'' ''I saw her for what it seemed the first time. My swim team shirt clung to her body , curves and beautiful, . I'd gone years without noticing , but I noticed then...'' ''Summertime.....kiss the boy, get drunk and end up shirtless in the neighbors yard..''

  5. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Everyone here plays - or played - a role in my life. Their faces pepper my scrapbooks and social media feeds. They remember me like I remember them. We wrote a history books, then burned the pages. Well. I can officially say that Caroline George is one of my favorite authors. I fell madly in love with Dearest Josephine at the beginning of 2021, and the minute I heard the pitch for The Summer We Forgot, I knew I needed it in my life. A murder mystery with a second-chance romance and all the Florid Everyone here plays - or played - a role in my life. Their faces pepper my scrapbooks and social media feeds. They remember me like I remember them. We wrote a history books, then burned the pages. Well. I can officially say that Caroline George is one of my favorite authors. I fell madly in love with Dearest Josephine at the beginning of 2021, and the minute I heard the pitch for The Summer We Forgot, I knew I needed it in my life. A murder mystery with a second-chance romance and all the Florida vibes? Yes please! Happy to report, it did not disappoint. First of all I need to say that Caroline George's writing style is everything (to me, at least, lol), and the fact that she wrote two entirely different books with entirely different vibes and settings, but both felt so Caroline George to me? iconic. I was invested in the entire 30A gang immediately, in all their broken pieces and all the things they'd buried deep inside. The feeling of being in a Florida coast town were perfection. I was rooting for Darby and Morgan the whole time. Each twist of the plot kept me on my toes as layers of the mystery were peeled away and memories slowly returned. Where DJ is about how we feel when people leave our lives abruptly and too soon, TSWF is about the relationships we don't necessarily intend to lose, the people who just drift out of our lives over time until they're strangers you share memories with. It was bittersweet and beautiful and I loved every second of it. I already can't wait to read it again when it properly releases. ((also yes Morgan is prime book boyfriend material... just sayin')) Content-wise, there are obviously some kinda gruesome murder details, a few kisses, the mention of attempted sexual assault, some scary kidnapping scenarios, but all handled with tact and grace. Five stars from me! **I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.** re-read 2022: To hurt from losing, we first need something to lose. And for that reason, I think my pain means I lived well, with much. I finally get to have this gorgeous book on my shelves ahhhh!! I spent this time through underlining all my favorite lines, crying over how gorgeous the prose is, and unable to put the book down despite having read it before and knowing how it was going to end. I just love it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    R.F. Gammon

    WOW WOW WOW WOW Caroline George is a new favorite bro I'm in LOVE WOW WOW WOW WOW Caroline George is a new favorite bro I'm in LOVE

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Tagg

    Caroline George's debut novel—My Dearest Josephine—floored me so fully and completely that it's by far one of my favorite 2021 reads...so I had no shortage of over-excitement for her sophomore release. And I'm oh-so-happy to say I loved this one, too! It has a different flavor than My Dearest Josephine, but I was just as swept into the story...and, well, let's just say I let any number of to-dos fall by the wayside in my desperate need to keep reading. The plot is packed with twists and turns, a Caroline George's debut novel—My Dearest Josephine—floored me so fully and completely that it's by far one of my favorite 2021 reads...so I had no shortage of over-excitement for her sophomore release. And I'm oh-so-happy to say I loved this one, too! It has a different flavor than My Dearest Josephine, but I was just as swept into the story...and, well, let's just say I let any number of to-dos fall by the wayside in my desperate need to keep reading. The plot is packed with twists and turns, and I loved how in the midst of a fast-moving storyline, there's still breathing room for wonderful character depth and growth. I was as reluctant to reach The End (because I just wanted to stay in that immersive storyworld!) as I was fully satisfied and delighted once I got there. Love, love, love this one and I can't wait to see what Caroline George writes next!

  8. 4 out of 5

    hollie

    I’m clearly in the minority when it comes to reviewing this book and I think the main reason I couldn’t get on with this book was because of the pace. This book was slower than my grandma. It took me a million years to reach the 50% mark and even then, nothing had really happened. I didn’t really enjoy Caroline’s other book so maybe it’s her writing which isn’t for me but I can understand how some readers would have enjoyed this story. Besides the pacing, it took me ages to work out who was who. T I’m clearly in the minority when it comes to reviewing this book and I think the main reason I couldn’t get on with this book was because of the pace. This book was slower than my grandma. It took me a million years to reach the 50% mark and even then, nothing had really happened. I didn’t really enjoy Caroline’s other book so maybe it’s her writing which isn’t for me but I can understand how some readers would have enjoyed this story. Besides the pacing, it took me ages to work out who was who. The book is split between Darby and Morgan’s chapters and for a long time I thought they were both boys. A lot of things weren’t clear and I was very confused. I also thought the messages they were getting were sort of…pathetic? I don’t know the right word for it but it just seemed a bit eye-roll worthy to me. I also think there was a whole lot of build up about a dead science teacher for a whole lot of nothing in the end. But that’s just my thoughts. I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Miller

    Alrighty, after two days of reading this amazing book, I’m ready to do a review. Things I loved: -The storyline was crazy—in the best possible way. An intricate plot that kept me guessing. About 85% into the book, I texted Caroline and told her my palms were sweaty and I couldn’t wait to reach the ending—and it didn’t disappoint!! -The themes in this book were a huge part of the story, and I so appreciated that. Themes are a make it or break it for me when it comes to reading and loving books, an Alrighty, after two days of reading this amazing book, I’m ready to do a review. Things I loved: -The storyline was crazy—in the best possible way. An intricate plot that kept me guessing. About 85% into the book, I texted Caroline and told her my palms were sweaty and I couldn’t wait to reach the ending—and it didn’t disappoint!! -The themes in this book were a huge part of the story, and I so appreciated that. Themes are a make it or break it for me when it comes to reading and loving books, and Caroline didn’t disappoint. So many quotes really touched my heart and left me with a gentle and important reminder: It’s okay to be broken—and your mistakes don’t make you less than or unlovable. -The writing style. Ahh, Caroline’s writing is lyrical poetry. It’s beautiful and inspiring and just plain amazing. One thing that kept me from giving the book five stars: -The descriptions of physical intimacies and romance were detailed. I know some people decided not to finish this book because of that, but I wanted to stick with it because the story was just so good. I really appreciated how Caroline had the characters realize how their actions were wrong and had them strive for a new start. A clean slate. No one is perfect and a lot of us make mistakes, and I appreciated how Caroline didn’t shy away from the mistakes we make when we’re young but also showed how we can begin anew when we’re older and wiser. Again, the only thing that made me feel a bit uncomfortable was the description of a specific scene in particular. (I know some people aren’t bothered by detailed descriptions. Everyone has different viewpoints on things, and that’s okay! This is just my personal opinion :)) I can’t end this review without sharing a few of my favorite quotes. There were so many good ones! “Friends get us through rough patches, but some hardships are best endured with family.” “If our secrets don’t place us behind bars, they’ll poison us, because what stays in the dark becomes toxic unless someone calls it into the light.” “Even if he wasn’t happy all the time, at least he had something to smile about. I think that’s what matters. Having a reason to look past all the unhappy stuff.” In conclusion, The Summer We Forgot is a suspenseful, theme-driven read. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. But I hope this review gives you a glance into both the things I loved and a cautionary too.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Riley

    As an author, I'm trying to get away from writing reviews. Books are subjective creatures. We all like and dislike different things. But this is one of those books I will wish I could read for the first time again. This book never had a dull moment for me. And the biggest twist of the entire book shook me to my center. I thought I had it all figured out but I didn't and now everything fits into place. Caroline George is an inspiration and I will definitely be watching for all of her future books As an author, I'm trying to get away from writing reviews. Books are subjective creatures. We all like and dislike different things. But this is one of those books I will wish I could read for the first time again. This book never had a dull moment for me. And the biggest twist of the entire book shook me to my center. I thought I had it all figured out but I didn't and now everything fits into place. Caroline George is an inspiration and I will definitely be watching for all of her future books. Whatever genre she chooses, she writes it so well. Five stars. I wish I could read this again for the first time. It holds my heart. It will become a comfort book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    E.C.

    While I don't usually (read: never 😉) read murder mysteries, I saw this one from Thomas Nelson and was too intrigued to pass it up. So special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free early reader copy in exchange for an honest review! First things first, I'm extremely happy this book was clean. It's not every day I discover clean contemporary mysteries, so this was unique. It was honestly refreshing to read a book set nowadays with teenage main characters who weren't co While I don't usually (read: never 😉) read murder mysteries, I saw this one from Thomas Nelson and was too intrigued to pass it up. So special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free early reader copy in exchange for an honest review! First things first, I'm extremely happy this book was clean. It's not every day I discover clean contemporary mysteries, so this was unique. It was honestly refreshing to read a book set nowadays with teenage main characters who weren't constantly cursing. 😝 One thing I loved about this book was the mystery. The author spun a story made of broken memories, forgotten pasts, and teenage characters in a rich town in a way that didn't seem forced or stereotypical—and kept me on the edge of my seat with the twists I did NOT see coming. I especially love how she wove the themes into the storyline in such a natural way that didn't distract from the unnerving mystery—which was really the heart of the story, and for good reason, too! However, the romance (in my opinion) was problematic. In the end, most of the teens got paired up with each other with little contribution to the plot, and to me, it came across as random. I would've loved to see more platonic friendships between guys and girls in the story, which I thought the author pulled off relatively well in the start. And secondly, seeing how this is by a Christian author, I would have loved to see more of a clean romance, rather than something that felt appearance-based and a bit like idolatry (there are even a few scenes that back this up). But overall, the themes were lovely and definitely resonated with me. I'd recommend this book to readers of clean murder mysteries and thrillers, who don't mind a lot of romance and love killer twists. Because be warned: this book is full of them. ~~ content warnings: kissing, usage of alcohol, mentions of pedophiles, mention of the usage of a minor swear (it's not actually used), mention of dead bodies, blood, a character gets run over by a car, violence & fighting

  12. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    reread may 2022 i love this book so much. it's somehow even better than i remembered it. fighting the urge to reread it for the third time in three months lol. the PERFECT summer/beach read. march 2022 i already want to reread this book. i loved dearest josephine so much that i was worried that the summer we forgot wouldn't live up to my expectations, but WOW. from the very first chapter, i was hooked. i could have read it in one sitting, but i forced myself to stretch it out - reading slowl reread may 2022 i love this book so much. it's somehow even better than i remembered it. fighting the urge to reread it for the third time in three months lol. the PERFECT summer/beach read. march 2022 i already want to reread this book. i loved dearest josephine so much that i was worried that the summer we forgot wouldn't live up to my expectations, but WOW. from the very first chapter, i was hooked. i could have read it in one sitting, but i forced myself to stretch it out - reading slowly to savor every moment. i kept going back and rereading chapters to force myself to slow down and to fully grasp the story. i already know i'm going to reread it over the summer. it's the perfect beach read. the summer we forgot is intensely emotional and nostalgic, and at times, deeply and painfully personal. but it's so so beautiful. it's a murder mystery (THAT twist y'all), but it's also a deeply layered and complex story about friendship and memories. the characters are all so well-developed and unique - despite the fact that there's seven of them. they're all quirky and funny and their friend group dynamic is incredible. i want another book with darby, morgan, kip, eliza, cyrus, spooner, and annabelle. i just love this book so much. caroline george is an incredibly talented writer. the way she wrote this book is just amazing. you're so immersed in the emotions of darby and morgan. it just feels so real. this is the way i want to write my own stories.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lilyyy

    Ooh, another book by Caroline George! And totally not me making grabby-hands at it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    I'm such a sucker for YA murder mysteries, ok I'm such a sucker for YA murder mysteries, ok

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kelly H

    This was such a rollercoaster, oh my goodness. This was one of my most anticipated reads of '22 and it didn't disappoint. I loved George's Dearest Josephine, so when I saw this was coming, I couldn't wait. George's writing is so descriptive. It isn't an overload and info-dump, but it's that just right amount of awesomeness. While reading this book, I felt many of the scenes coming to life in my mind, playing like a movie. This book has successfully placed me in the summer mood, now I want all th This was such a rollercoaster, oh my goodness. This was one of my most anticipated reads of '22 and it didn't disappoint. I loved George's Dearest Josephine, so when I saw this was coming, I couldn't wait. George's writing is so descriptive. It isn't an overload and info-dump, but it's that just right amount of awesomeness. While reading this book, I felt many of the scenes coming to life in my mind, playing like a movie. This book has successfully placed me in the summer mood, now I want all the summer things! I felt like I was at the beach reading this, no lie. I love the uniqueness of George's books. I have never read a book that has contained inserts and such like her books do. I love it! It only sucks you into the world even more so. From her writing historical (Dearest Josephine), to this, just shows her range of talent. I was so. Curious. about what happened to these characters. I was so invested. The suspense in scenes was crazy, had me on the edge of my seat, and sometimes creeped out! It was kept up so well, even to the ending page! Things just kept piling up and left me wondering what's going to happen now? The characters were all so diverse in their personalities. I loved all of them! None of them were "perfect", but that made them feel all the more real. They all had their secrets and it was like crazy finding them out one by one. Sometimes in stories, the characters are for the story, but they aren't IN the story. These were! And sometimes, with YA novels, the characters don't feel like teenagers, but again, these did! They just screamed "I'm a real life teenager!". And can I just say, I think Spooner is my favorite, he was so hilarious!! Everything just came together so well in the end. I'm really, really satisfied. This was no light read in the least, but it was so good. I do have a few complaints, however. Sometimes, it was a bit hard to distinguish who's chapter was who's. I had to look back once or twice and see if it was Darby or Morgan "talking", because honestly, I thought at first that Morgan was gonna be a girl. And also, during the "interviews" (spoiler free way of putting it) I had to pay attention to the dates really well because I found myself a bit confused sometimes. And my last, I do wish it had a little less content for this being published by a Christian publisher. I understand that this book is secularly based and they're not going to live like a Christian, but I just wish that it would have been a bit less and a little cleaner in the romance section. The only reason I'm not marking this as a clean read, is because of that, and one of the main plotlines including (view spoiler)[ a pedophile and him preying on young girls. (hide spoiler)] The spoiler is a bit of a content/trigger warning so you may want to check it out. Content: Language: slang words. Characters are said to curse but never do in the dialogue. A-ho** used exactly like that (but fully written) Use of 'ballsy'. Romance: Kissing and embracing. Mentions of kissing and making out in a closet. Guy stares at girl's body. Mention of tongue in kissing. Mention of having an offer to make out. Mention of a memory where a guy had his hands up a girl's shirt while they made out. Guy remembers kissing girl's neck, and "hands where they shouldn't be". Mention of a past teen pregnancy. Mention of watching a video where a girl sits on a guy's lap and they start making out. Guys and girls notice each other's touch. Use of "sexual tension". Girl is said to have "volleyball boobs". Mentions of an affair. Two characters kiss and girl wraps her legs around guys waist as he picks her up. Brother rudely accuses sister of spending the night with her boyfriend, when she never has. Violence: girl is hit by a car and knocked out. a murder case is a main plot line, so expect blood and some gruesomeness, but never any gore. Characters have memories suppressed. Brother nearly drowned his sister when they were children. Characters attack a bad guy in memories. A bad guy has a gun. (view spoiler)[ Pedophilia is part of the main plot line. (hide spoiler)] Characters are said to have bruises when they get home from camp. Mentions of domestic abuse. Other: Character said they "went through hell". Characters vape. underage drinking. Teens party and rebel. Character mention that in the summer teens want to "get drunk and somehow end up shirtless in a neighbor's yard". Characters lie and sneak out. Age Recommendation: 15+

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kori Potenzone

    How many of us once had a friend you literally thought you would have for the rest of your life but then shortly thereafter, you are smacked in the face with betrayal? I know I have, and it never gets easier. Morgan and Darby were best friends but with a pretty drastic falling out they have not spoke in over two years. When once buried secrets start to come to light, these two girls are forced to face each other once again. As both girls reflect back to "that" summer they have no choice but to c How many of us once had a friend you literally thought you would have for the rest of your life but then shortly thereafter, you are smacked in the face with betrayal? I know I have, and it never gets easier. Morgan and Darby were best friends but with a pretty drastic falling out they have not spoke in over two years. When once buried secrets start to come to light, these two girls are forced to face each other once again. As both girls reflect back to "that" summer they have no choice but to confront their past and the reason behind their separation. This novel was a fun, fast paced, suspenseful thriller. I knew I was going to really enjoy this book early on and my interest and attention was captivated within the first couple of chapters. This book can be enjoyed as both a thriller and also as a young adult novel. I highly recommend!

  17. 5 out of 5

    The Sassy Bookworm

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Summer We Forgot was an entertaining read. Well written and well paced (especially for a book on the longer side). A well-developed cast of characters. An incredibly engaging plot full of twists and turns. It's part coming of age story, part mystery, a lot of teen angst and a fantastic twist at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this one from the beginning to the end. 👍🏻👍🏻 **ARC Via NetGalley** ⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Summer We Forgot was an entertaining read. Well written and well paced (especially for a book on the longer side). A well-developed cast of characters. An incredibly engaging plot full of twists and turns. It's part coming of age story, part mystery, a lot of teen angst and a fantastic twist at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this one from the beginning to the end. 👍🏻👍🏻 **ARC Via NetGalley**

  18. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I honestly don't even know if I can talk coherently about this book. What a ride! I started this book yesterday and had to stay up until one in the morning because I couldn't put it down. Caroline George is a master of suspense and keeping secrets and character development. I felt like I was a part of Eliza, Darby, Morgan, Kip, Spooner, Cyrus, and Amanda's group, and I wanted to know about the forgotten summer just as badly as they did! I really can't convey in words just how hooking this story I honestly don't even know if I can talk coherently about this book. What a ride! I started this book yesterday and had to stay up until one in the morning because I couldn't put it down. Caroline George is a master of suspense and keeping secrets and character development. I felt like I was a part of Eliza, Darby, Morgan, Kip, Spooner, Cyrus, and Amanda's group, and I wanted to know about the forgotten summer just as badly as they did! I really can't convey in words just how hooking this story is. Oh my goodness, it was amazing. Also, my heart was thumping so hard at so many points because Caroline George executed the freaky stalker-y parts of this book just so well. When I mean this book was a ride, I mean it was a full out heart-thumping, mind-racing, fight-or-flight ride. The only reason I took off one star is because I felt that forgiveness was offered between friends far too easily. Each one of the friends lied to each other, yet when the lie is revealed (never confessed), the friends act like it wasn't a big deal (when they'd just been acting like the lie was a huge deal and they couldn't trust that person anymore). Maybe it's because I have a hard time trusting others, but I felt like the forgiveness was offered too easily and too quickly if the friends really didn't trust each other. I also wished I knew more about Darby's relationship with her mom. It made me so sad to see that she found her mom's standards so hard to live up to, and it seemed like there was a conversation between them that needed to happen and forgiveness and love offered on both sides. Yet it never happened. We don't ever know if Darby and her mom ever got along better. And I don't know, that just made me sad. BUT READ THIS BOOK! Oh my goodness, this is one of those books that you'll wish you could read again for the first time because the adrenaline. Still not over the ending. Freaking scared me to death - in such a good, on the edge of your seat reading way. :P

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hannah B.

    ✨Between this and that one Scooby Doo movie, it’s a good thing I never went to summer camp.✨ I didn’t get much from this story but I love YA murder-mysteries and I don’t go in with super high expectations and thus am rarely disappointed. This one wasn’t the best I’ve read and I wouldn’t reread, but it was still pretty good. I do think I should’ve paid better attention because when that final villain was revealed…I had zero clue who the character was. Safe to say, if they were walking down the str ✨Between this and that one Scooby Doo movie, it’s a good thing I never went to summer camp.✨ I didn’t get much from this story but I love YA murder-mysteries and I don’t go in with super high expectations and thus am rarely disappointed. This one wasn’t the best I’ve read and I wouldn’t reread, but it was still pretty good. I do think I should’ve paid better attention because when that final villain was revealed…I had zero clue who the character was. Safe to say, if they were walking down the street I wouldn’t know a thing. The only thing I wasn’t onboard with was her brother. Idk he was just horrible and I didn’t think he got proper punishment. He was 18 making out with a 15-year-old? And we’re supposed to just accept it? And the beginning with the relationship in crisis was just weird. I was confused and kinda just side-eyeing the whole thing. I’m excited for another YA mystery author to hit the scene because I only really trust a few. I’ll give the author another try in the future. ⭐️⭐️⭐️.25/5

  20. 4 out of 5

    AnnaScott

    It's official. I have absolutely no self control when I am reading a good book. I literally read this in one sitting, with only a short break for dinner (and that was only because I had to). Caroline George is an actual genius. She mastered the period drama vibes with Dearest Josephine, and then did a complete one-eighty and nailed this teen murder mystery. Very rarely have I seen an author that can execute multiple genres that are this different from one another so well. And her writing style i It's official. I have absolutely no self control when I am reading a good book. I literally read this in one sitting, with only a short break for dinner (and that was only because I had to). Caroline George is an actual genius. She mastered the period drama vibes with Dearest Josephine, and then did a complete one-eighty and nailed this teen murder mystery. Very rarely have I seen an author that can execute multiple genres that are this different from one another so well. And her writing style is literal poetry. Now for the plot. It really is original in so many ways. The closest thing I can compare it to is the Netflix show Outer Banks, but while they are similar they are also super different. I loved that a significant portion of the detective work is psychological as they try to recover their lost memories. It added a unique twist that kept me fully engaged (and completely unable to put it down). And the ending was totally unexpected but absolutely perfect! Moving on to the characters. I adored Darby and Morgan so much. They are both so real and relatable, and their relationship is absolutely adorable. They genuinely care about one another as people. YA books can have a tendency to base relationships on appearances and chemistry, and so this was a breath of fresh air. Caroline did an amazing job creating all of her characters so that they were three-dimensional people with a real-world balance of good and bad (even the 'bad guys'). The overall message of this book is that life is messy, and that's ok. The harder we try to fight for perfection, the messier everything becomes. It's ok to make mistakes, it's ok to feel hurt, it's ok to be human, and it's ok to let others see that we are not perfect. Some of the best relationships are built around pain and imperfections, as this story shows. This is such an important message in today's world of social media, especially in the young adult genre. My single, teeny tiny critique is that I wish that some of the other counselors had gotten more screen time. Because the story is told from the perspective of Darby and Morgan, they are obviously the focal point (and I wouldn't have it any other way), but I would have loved to have gotten to know some of the others a little better. Overall, this is an amazing book that I would highly recommend reading (but maybe not in one sitting if you can help it 🙃). I received this book for free from Netgalley. All comments and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I picked this book up because the description intrigued me. I like murder mysteries and I thought the memory loss angle by and entire group of people was interesting. First of all I like Caroline George's writing style. Her prose kept me interested and she has a gift of making her characters come alive. I enjoyed the relationships among the teens, especially that of Darby and Morgan - I always hate seeing a strong friendship end and wanted them to resolve their issues. The murder mystery was int I picked this book up because the description intrigued me. I like murder mysteries and I thought the memory loss angle by and entire group of people was interesting. First of all I like Caroline George's writing style. Her prose kept me interested and she has a gift of making her characters come alive. I enjoyed the relationships among the teens, especially that of Darby and Morgan - I always hate seeing a strong friendship end and wanted them to resolve their issues. The murder mystery was interesting, but the most interesting part to me was the memory loss for an entire group. I couldn't wait to see how in the world so many couldn't remember a thing about what happened that night. Thanks to Thomas Nelson--FICTION through Netgalley for an advance copy. This book will be published on March 8, 2022.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cherlynn (cherreading)

    I had high hopes for this book after loving Dearest Josephine by the same author, so it pains me to say I didn't enjoy it as much. This YA mystery follows a group of teens who are haunted by events of a summer from two years ago but which they cannot remember. The discovery of a dead body forces them to confront the past — but some memories are best forgotten. As always, the prose is beautiful and the author's flair for words shines through. I enjoyed how the chapters are interspersed with text me I had high hopes for this book after loving Dearest Josephine by the same author, so it pains me to say I didn't enjoy it as much. This YA mystery follows a group of teens who are haunted by events of a summer from two years ago but which they cannot remember. The discovery of a dead body forces them to confront the past — but some memories are best forgotten. As always, the prose is beautiful and the author's flair for words shines through. I enjoyed how the chapters are interspersed with text messages, notes, police interviews and the like, which added a layer of depth to the storytelling. There was a lot of suspense and I totally didn't guess whodunit. However, the story was too much of a slow burn for me even if I did like the reveal and ending. Some parts felt repetitive. I also found it hard to relate to the characters, who came across as overly angsty. Like, just go to the police and stop playing detective! Some of the side characters such as Nikki could have been developed more too. Overall, I enjoyed how everything came together in the end. What I liked best was the book's exploration of trauma, which I thought was intriguing but also well-handled. Can't wait to see what the author comes up with next! Thank you to Booksparks and Caroline George for the gifted hardcover, and Thomas Nelson for the Netgalley arc. All opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Summer We Forgot was a mystery thriller that kept me on my toes. In it, we meet a group of teenagers who used to be counselors at a summer camp. They may or may not be friends, but they do have two things in common: they don't remember what happened during that summer and someone was murdered. Now I'll be completely honest here. I was suspicious of every single person. Whether they were a main or side character. Mostly b I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Summer We Forgot was a mystery thriller that kept me on my toes. In it, we meet a group of teenagers who used to be counselors at a summer camp. They may or may not be friends, but they do have two things in common: they don't remember what happened during that summer and someone was murdered. Now I'll be completely honest here. I was suspicious of every single person. Whether they were a main or side character. Mostly because it was way too obvious that certain people were covering something up. As to what that something was, well, I had to keep reading to find out. Each twist, turn, secret and betrayal that comes our way will definitely keep you on your toes. Or the edge of your seat if you prefer. The jumps in timeline will also either help or confuse you but I think that was the plan all along. I felt like I was supposed to be overly suspicious of every person because it's kind of hard to trust them all. In the end, the big reveal definitely shocked me. I honestly didn't have that person on my radar and I'm surprised by it all. Definitely happy that I got the chance to jump into this book. I could totally see it becoming a movie or show in the near future. Which, yes, I would totally watch with zero regrets.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nisha Joshi

    I requested this just for its cover - look at that beauty. And that it was a YA thriller which is one of my preferred genres. The story was good, the characters were good but I had a pretty hard time getting into the story. There was a lot (and I mean a LOOOOTTTT) of teenage angst. I wonder even if any adult thinks so much. The book is told from the perspectives of Darby and Morgan and I spent nearly 20% of the book thinking that both were boys. Around the 20% mark, I realized that Darby was, in I requested this just for its cover - look at that beauty. And that it was a YA thriller which is one of my preferred genres. The story was good, the characters were good but I had a pretty hard time getting into the story. There was a lot (and I mean a LOOOOTTTT) of teenage angst. I wonder even if any adult thinks so much. The book is told from the perspectives of Darby and Morgan and I spent nearly 20% of the book thinking that both were boys. Around the 20% mark, I realized that Darby was, in fact, a girl. I thought both their voices were too similar. I read the ARC with some weird formatting and I had to reread the first few chapters because I couldn't understand which chapter was whose. Surprisingly, the side characters were fun and memorable. Wish I could say the same about the lead characters. The book was not necessarily huge but it was so slow that it took me nearly a week to get through it. In fact, when the ending came, I was no longer even interested in who the culprit was. I was seriously bored and wanted the book to get over. I loved the writing and the author's note at the end and that is the reason for my rating. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3. Thanks to Caroline George, Thomas Nelson - Fiction, and Netgalley for the ARC.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    This book starts out with a big question, how can you forget an entire summer? Two years ago, several teenagers went to be counselors at a summer camp and a teacher went missing. None of the teens can remember anything about camp, but someone does and they want the counselors to pay. As everyone struggles to piece together what happened, they learn the might be involved in a murder and have to figure out what happened before the police do. I liked the questions of what happened and following Dar This book starts out with a big question, how can you forget an entire summer? Two years ago, several teenagers went to be counselors at a summer camp and a teacher went missing. None of the teens can remember anything about camp, but someone does and they want the counselors to pay. As everyone struggles to piece together what happened, they learn the might be involved in a murder and have to figure out what happened before the police do. I liked the questions of what happened and following Darby and Morgan as they tried to put clues together. I thought their falling out was a mistake of youth and wanted them back together. What I had a hard time with was following the timeline, because it jumps around so much. I also thought there was maybe too much going on and if one of the plot points had been taken out it might have been a smoother read. This is quick paced and draws you in immediately. If you like mystery-thrillers with a lot of moving parts, check this one out!

  26. 4 out of 5

    E.F.B.

    I'm going to have to go with Goodreads' definition of a two-star rating here and say that this was just "okay." So, first of all, thrillers aren't really my go-to genre. (In fact, I can't name one that I've read off the top of my head, nor do I have a shelf for it here on GR... Was this my first one???) But they do tend to crossover with mysteries, which I like and have read many times, so I thought I'd give this one a try, not the least because I adored Caroline George's "Dearest Josephine" and I'm going to have to go with Goodreads' definition of a two-star rating here and say that this was just "okay." So, first of all, thrillers aren't really my go-to genre. (In fact, I can't name one that I've read off the top of my head, nor do I have a shelf for it here on GR... Was this my first one???) But they do tend to crossover with mysteries, which I like and have read many times, so I thought I'd give this one a try, not the least because I adored Caroline George's "Dearest Josephine" and was hoping maybe Caroline George would join the ranks of the very few authors I'll happily follow across genres. The positive side is that her writing style is still just as emotional and vivid as in "Dearest Josephine". A few of Darby's inner thoughts and reminiscences were so lyrical that they felt like reading lines from a Taylor Swift song. I also mostly liked the actual mystery parts, especially as it approached the end. Maybe not as much snooping as I like, but certainly some good excitement and reveals. And the setting was vivid. Very beachy. Very Florida. But what I didn't like was... well... nearly everything else, unfortunately. Our main characters are all teens that are the EXACT opposite of what I was like at those ages. They're super concerned about partying, kissing, and alllll the relationship drama. I very much was NOT concerned about those things at that age, so I pretty much immediately felt emotionally separated from all of them and their drama, and felt that their parents are obviously not supervising these hormonal and impulsive young people enough. :p Literally, one of my reading updates said, "Darby's high school environment is why my parents chose homeschooling for me." There were some broader themes I could relate to them on, like the fear of showing our imperfections to others and facing uncomfortable problems within ourselves head-on. But otherwise, I just didn't connect with these characters insofar as the beach culture they live in and their relationship dramas. And that brings up the main thing I didn't care for. When I decided to read this, I thought I was signing up for a mystery and thriller with some relationship drama on the side, but SOOO much of the story revolves around relationship drama. So. Much. Of. It. Mainly there's a busload of drama around Darby and Morgan's relationship, but also other kids' dramas too. One of the first things we learn about Darby and Morgan is that their friendship died and their friend group split up after a picture of the two of them making out in a closet got spread to the whole school. *Questions why a group of 15 year olds were being allowed to play "hide-and-seek" unsupervised in someone's house in the first place because this sounds like a recipe for trouble and secret trysts* And that kiss gets referenced again, and again, and again, and AGAIN. Then we have other kisses referenced, and the characters thinking about kissing, and wanting to kiss, and regretting kissing, and remembering kissing and touching, and wanting to feel tongues on lips and hands on waists and... *facepalm* I swear, there were very few chapters that went by that didn't reference kissing somehow. I wanted it to stop so we could focus on the mystery, but it never did until the big reveals started happening at the end. I don't mind romance, obviously *gestures to my GR romance shelf with 100+ books on it* but I just... This kind of modern teenage, let's-make-out-and-think-about-kissing-ALL-THE-TIME thing just doesn't make me happy, especially since I felt like I got way more of that than I wanted. So, yeah. My hopes weren't really met with this book. Way too much obsession with kissing, not enough mystery and thrills for my tastes, at least not until the final several chapters, which I did generally like. I'll continue following Caroline George, though, because I still feel that she's a good writer. I'll just approach her future works with the understanding that I may like some more than others, and that's okay. Content Advisory: Language: No actual swears, just swear replacements. Dang is used one time. A couple mentions of someone cursing, but the words are not written out. Cr*p is used as an exclamation at least five times. "Screwed up" gets used twice. "Darndest" is used once. Sexual: Darby talks of summer being a time for teens to do stuff that is life changing or memorable, and among the stuff she lists, she mentions "kissing the boy" and "getting drunk and waking up shirtless in the neighbor's yard." (She doesn't clarify whether or not she is talking about boys or girls waking up shirtless.) Passing mention that some atendees at a party might "hook up" with the wrong person. Darby internally expresses that she'd rather flash the whole party than relive a certain bad experience. (She doesn't actually do this.) A certian boy's muscles are referenced repeatedly in the first few chapters. There are many mentions of an embarrassing photo of Darby and Morgan kissing in a closet. It starts vague and slowly gains more details during the story. Morgan had been dared by a friend to kiss Darby since he'd been crushing on her since back when she was around 11 and he first noticed she was a girl. (He mentions noticing her curves.) So, at 15 years old, he kissed her in the closet during a game of hide-and-seek. He says they kept "kissing and touching" (Darby later details that his hands were under her shirt) until someone opened the closet, not expecting to find "two 15 year olds with their tongues down each other's throats." The result was a photo of them, which Morgan himself describes as "racy" and which got spread to everyone, thus ruining their friendship and causing their parents to forbid them from dating because they were too young. Someone is called a "stud". Many, many other mentions of kissing or making out. Most are only passing mentions, but some memories of kisses get remembered with invasive physical details and sensations included, like running tongues along lips. Darby admits to the reader that she's rewatched a video of her and a boy kissing, many, many times. Mention of a video of an older boy pulling an underage girl (a fifteen year old who is said to be wearing a bikini too mature for her age) onto his lap and "snogging" with her. All those watching the video understand that this was inappropriate behavior. It's stated later that the pair are still "hooking up" but no innapropriate details are given. This relationship is seen by the other characters as problematic, not only because of the age difference, but because the boy is toxic. The girl's friends call her out on it. Mention that someone who's had plastic surgery looks like she has "volleyball boobs". A boy and girl kiss with the girl's legs wrapped around the boy, but it's not implied that anything more happens. Darcy remembers her younger self buying lingerie behind her parents' backs because it made her feel rebellious. MAJOR SPOILER ABOUT THE MURDER:It gets revealed that (view spoiler)[ the "murder victim's" death occurred because he'd been trying to sexually assault a teen girl. We only learn that he asked the girl to "go on a boat ride with him" and apparently tried to force the issue, thus provoking the girl's friends to have to fight him to make him let go of her. A character states that the police didn't know about the man's "fascination with young girls, to put it mildly" until after he disappeared and they found evidence of his innapropriate relationships. (No explicit details.) (hide spoiler)] Violence: Mention of the police finding a body in the marsh and that the individual was killed by a blow to the head. Mention that the body is badly degraded, but no further description. Mention of Morgan remembering witnessing a car accident, but there's no description of the people involved. A home invader punches a teen boy repeatedly. Mention of pain and blood from the boy's perspective. Mention that someone got hit on the head with a canoe oar hard enough to kill. There's description of the body and blood from the wound. Mention of teens punching and kicking someone in self-defense. A car hitting a bicyclist is described from the bicyclist's perspective. Mentions of intense pain and blood, severely damaged skin, and a swollen knee. Attempted kidnapping. Several threats of harm, including pointing a gun at teens. Other: Lots and lots of lying goes on, but there are direct consequences for it all, and regret over the lies becomes a theme. Darcy hides anything that isn't perfect from her extreme-perfectionist mother (report cards, clothes, etc) in a bin in her closet. Darcy lies to her father that the party she wants to go to would be "dad-approved" but when she arrives, it's wild and unchaperoned, including mentions of booze/beer being consumed. (Darcy herself doesn't drink any.) Someone has repeated flashbacks to seeing the hand of a corpse in murky water, and also a girl wearing a bloody t-shirt. Morgan mentions having gone to a "frat-level rager" party at which he apparently drank alcohol despite being underage. (It's made clear that this was wrong since he's panicking about the possibility of talking to the police about it.) Passing mention of several concerning things Darby's brother did over thr years, like hold her underwater until she almost drowned, hiding alcohol in his room,smuggling a girl out his bedroom window and threatening to destroy Darby's journals if she told. (It's clear that Darby considers all of these things wrong of her brother to do. The kids see a video of an underage teen who appears to be drunk. Mentions of a man who abused his wife and son. Someone gets tied up and held hostage. Spiritual: None. The main theme of the story is largely facing our personal messes and imperfections and dealing with them head-on instead of hiding them away as untouchable. I recall no outstanding mentions of God, faith, or any spirituality of any kind.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brian McBride

    4.5 Stars! Wow. What a ride. It has been a long, long time since a book’s gotten my adrenaline pumping like that. By the final half, I couldn’t put it down. “Just one more chapter. Just one more chapter.” I can’t help but appreciate the potency of this story - especially for anyone who’s ever felt like trauma has affected their ability to remember. (Been there.) I mean, how often do we play the events of our traumas over and over in our heads until we convince ourselves we don’t even know what re 4.5 Stars! Wow. What a ride. It has been a long, long time since a book’s gotten my adrenaline pumping like that. By the final half, I couldn’t put it down. “Just one more chapter. Just one more chapter.” I can’t help but appreciate the potency of this story - especially for anyone who’s ever felt like trauma has affected their ability to remember. (Been there.) I mean, how often do we play the events of our traumas over and over in our heads until we convince ourselves we don’t even know what really happened to us? Maybe I’m the only one, but I really felt this theme in a deep and profound way. Morgan and Darby were incredible POV characters, and their relationship was so much fun to root for. I’d have to agree with other reviews - their love story felt like a Taylor Swift song. The plot twists were so well done. The prose was atmospheric and romantic - Caroline George has a very clear gift for storytelling. She balanced plot and character development really well with this one. My only qualms with the book is that it was published by Thomas Nelson, but there’s not even a hint of faith in this story. It’s definitely not a Christian novel, which is fine. I just was caught off guard by the sort of content in the book, because it is not what you would expect from a Christian publishing house. Another issue I had is that, while I adored the almost lyrical introspection of the main characters, I found their inner monologues to be redundant at times. I’m positive I read different variations of the same paragraphs of monologue about 5 times throughout the entire book. Some of this is key to the revelation at the beginning, which makes sense that it was repeated so many times throughout the story. However, at the beginning the repetition could be a tad jarring. I wanted to smack Darby every time she mentioned “her mind’s dark room.” 😆 CONTENT WARNING: Frequent uses of crap, dang, heck, screwed, and one use of “A-hole.” Frequent mentions of heavy kissing and more, though nothing explicit in regards to actual fornication. Also occasional mentions of sexual attraction and tension.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hailey Huntington

    If you're going to read The Summer We Forgot, make sure you start it only if you have lots of time to just read through the book. Because this mystery thriller is hard to put down. The settings were well done. And when it needed to be creepy, it totally got creepy--but in a "good" way that was appropriate to the mood. The characters were also well done. George kept all of them different from each other and made sure that their various personalities played off of each other. They felt like a very If you're going to read The Summer We Forgot, make sure you start it only if you have lots of time to just read through the book. Because this mystery thriller is hard to put down. The settings were well done. And when it needed to be creepy, it totally got creepy--but in a "good" way that was appropriate to the mood. The characters were also well done. George kept all of them different from each other and made sure that their various personalities played off of each other. They felt like a very realistic friend group. Like I said above, the plot of The Summer We Forgot is one that pulls you in. Twists and turns pop up all around the novel, and the stakes only get more intense as things progress. Also, let's just mention how George is skilled as a writer because Dearest Josephine and The Summer We Forgot are totally different from each other. And both of them are well written. If you're looking for a clean book, The Summer We Forgot does have some cautions. There are several mentions of making out, a number of kisses, some crude language, and mentions of murder of course. Aside from one abbreviated blasphemy, there isn't any actual swearing or blasphemy. Overall, The Summer We Forgot is a great YA mystery thriller.

  29. 4 out of 5

    R.J.

    "I loved her like a best friend until the day I wanted to kiss her." Best. Friends. To. Lovers. Caroline George blew me away with Dearest Josephine. Her writing style is everything that I want in reading a book. She makes me laugh. She cuts my heart out. She gives me lines to highlight. Dearest Josephine set the bar so high for The Summer We Forgot, and though TSWF is an entirely different vibe than DJ was, TSWF is another masterpiece. "You don't have to hide your mess from us. You deserve better "I loved her like a best friend until the day I wanted to kiss her." Best. Friends. To. Lovers. Caroline George blew me away with Dearest Josephine. Her writing style is everything that I want in reading a book. She makes me laugh. She cuts my heart out. She gives me lines to highlight. Dearest Josephine set the bar so high for The Summer We Forgot, and though TSWF is an entirely different vibe than DJ was, TSWF is another masterpiece. "You don't have to hide your mess from us. You deserve better and more, but until you realize that, you'll accept less." Friendship is messy. Friendship in high school is messier. Throw in a murder, forgotten memories, and the beginning of a romance sprinkled with some white lies and you have some drama on your hands. Darby and Morgan have stuff to work through, but I loved their dynamic. I usually have a hard time reading the "best friends to lovers" trope because I LIVED it, and so, so many books get the vibes wrong. Going from "bros" as kids with no idea what love is, to teens noticing each other and trying to understand the confusing feelings of love is often a painful transition. Especially with drama heaped on from other friends. My husband and I were 12 when we became best friends and 15 once the romance started...and I SO appreciated that Morgan and Darby's relationship followed the same patterns. 17 was a mess of emotions, the "good girl" pushing the limits because she felt guilty for being "good" when she knew she wasn't, and the boy dealing with guilt for doing everything wrong and making her cry. This teen "best friends to lovers" is so accurate and there were SO many lines that I read aloud to my husband and exclaimed, "THAT WAS US!" "Yep. We'll end up together. It's in the cards for us. No matter who we kiss at outdoor movies, how many years and unwanted texts separate us, I'm sure we'll find our way back to each other. Because sometimes--despite the odds and pessimists--a teenager falls head over heels for the right person. Because sometimes best friends grow into more." The mystery was so fun! There were a lot of plot twists and spooky vibes that had me binge-reading as fast as I could. A few frustrating scary movie scenes that made me shout (literally, I scared my husband) "THAT WAS A STUPID CHOICE!" All in all, The Summer We Forgot is the perfect beach read with romantic spooky vibes. The poetry and lyrical candy made this Swiftie swoon! I give this book ALL of the stars. Content: No cursing. Mild action and few descriptions of injuries. Romance is only kissing and very mild making out (two scenes). Some romantic jokes and comments that the teens make may be uncomfortable to some readers, but personally, I think this book is completely within the appropriateness for the YA audience and is an accurate depiction of today's teenagers. "The memories we leave with people matter just as much as the time spent with them."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Imogen Elizabeth

    Having adored Dearest Josephine, Caroline George’s previous release, I was curious to see where she would take her writing next. When details emerged for The Summer We Forgot - a murder mystery centred around a forgotten summer, a splintered friendship group, and an aching romance - it immediately became one of my most anticipated reads of the year. At this point I trust George to write anything, in any genre, because TSWF was WELL worth the wait, just as brilliant as DJ, entirely different in te Having adored Dearest Josephine, Caroline George’s previous release, I was curious to see where she would take her writing next. When details emerged for The Summer We Forgot - a murder mystery centred around a forgotten summer, a splintered friendship group, and an aching romance - it immediately became one of my most anticipated reads of the year. At this point I trust George to write anything, in any genre, because TSWF was WELL worth the wait, just as brilliant as DJ, entirely different in terms of plot and setting yet unmistakably Caroline George in style. In lush, lyrical prose, George explores the difficulties and complexities inherent in the transition from adolescence to adulthood, characters wrestling with and deconstructing expectations placed upon them by others so they might meet and accept themselves for who they really are. A central theme running through TSWF is the sometimes painful yet ultimately unavoidable need to work through rather than bury trauma. George’s exploration of memory and its ties to healing resonates deeply. Set on Florida’s Emerald Coast, I was wholly immersed in 30A’s beachside sights and sounds and tastes and smells, its people and places and history. The cloying heat of a Florida summer beats down on you as you read, further enveloping you in a pocket of time shimmering with hidden hopes and secrets just as insistent as the midday sun. Reading TSWF took me back to the pages of my teenage journals, to scrapbooks and memory boxes and photo albums created at a time full of vibrant firsts. George’s ability to step inside the teenage experience and bring it to life so vividly makes her stories incredibly powerful. Nostalgia teases its way into every sentence, beckoning to long, lazy summers when emotions held a special kind of piercing sincerity. The relationships between Darby, Morgan, and their friend group feel realistic and grounded, secrets and memories hidden and revealed as each struggles to understand who they are and who they want to be as they stand on the precipice of independence. Darby and Morgan’s relationship is just as all consuming as I remember love being at that age; tender, at times dramatic, fuelled by friendship and the desire for something more. Various twists and turns had me racing towards the final few pages, as eager as the characters to find answers. I was caught by surprise multiple times and enjoyed watching the revelations unfold. Each twist, although sometimes far-fetched, serves to further tease out the underlying themes of the novel, and the compelling atmosphere, characters, and relationships George creates make it easy to suspend disbelief. I’m blown away by George’s ability to write within multiple genres, penning compelling stories resonating with timeless truths. While I could WEEP at the thought of having to wait another year for her next release (is there a genre George can’t master? I highly, highly doubt it), I’m excited to dive into a reread of Dearest Josephine and The Summer We Forgot, worlds I can’t wait to experience all over again.

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