By: Melanie | March 13, 2014 | (22) Comments

Mini Review: The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica VerdiThe Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, GLBT, YA
Pages: 352
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

Lexi has a secret…

Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen-year-old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way.

The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi—she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feelings is harder than she thinks. And when she falls heads over heels for one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.

My Review

I’m feeling rather conflicted on how I feel about The Summer I Wasn’t Me. You see, throughout the entire time I was reading this, I was a ball of rage. Yet at the same time, I found it interesting to take a look at a perspective that I find absolutely foul.

The book opens up with Lexi and her mum on their way to a heavily religious influenced de-gaying camp. After her father died, Lexi’s mother discovered Lexi’s secret and immediately took action by sending her off to a de-gaying camp for the summer. I know that a lot of people who are highly supportive of GLBTQ have decided to avoid this book, but I think it is a real eye-opener to how these issues are dealt with by different people. At the camp, teens are taken through activities which were supposed to help them ‘become straight’ and understand that having same sex attraction is absolutely not okay. Most of the activities were enraging. They were agonizing to read. For example: Mr Martin was talking about Father Flaws and how everyone has one that made them turn gay at one point in their life, and he claims that Lexi’s mother was the reason why Lexi became gay because her mother wasn’t feminine enough. Is it a crime to not wear pink and dresses and frills and not have long hair? Is that now the definition of feminine?

As for the characters, I didn’t really feel emotionally attached to any of them. We only get a little backstory when they are being confronted by Mr Martin in front of everyone else but I didn’t feel like much got resolved at the end of the book. Moreover, many issues were treated to lightly and simplistically. “Fixing” someone isn’t as simple as 123, but it sure felt like it was in this novel. There’s much more to it and I just did not feel that the author covered it entirely well in this novel. Though still commend Verdi because this topic is definitely a hard one to pull off well.

I thought The Summer  I Wasn’t Me was still a readable novel–leaning towards lighthearted but still good attempt for a topic that only a few authors have touched into.

~Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this copy!~

3 Stars
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Melanie

Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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22 Responses to Mini Review: The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

  1. It feels like I should have heard about this book, but I haven’t. It’s interesting that the concept is so different, and I haven’t read many LGBT books (there don’t seem to be many around, or at least they’re not popular). I also think it’s important to have different perspectives – it’s pretty enraging that these things happen at all, but I’m sure it would be eye-opening to read about them.
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Book Review: Cinder by Marissa MeyerMy Profile

  2. I’m all for exploring these topics as often as possible, but to do it right, there has to be a strong emotional connection between the reader and the characters. I’m sorry it didn’t work out in this book.
    Lovely mini review, Melanie! 🙂
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Audiobook Review. The NaturalsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      MAJA! You have been missed. I was checking your blog everyday for sometime but didn’t see any recent posts 🙁 I hope you are okay and it’s great to have you back <33

  3. It’s too bad you couldn’t connect to the characters, Melanie. 🙁 I’ve just recently read two reviews that both gave this one four stars. This one is definitely a hard topic to pull off, so I guess I’ll just have to see for myself how I’ll like it. Fantastic review, lovely! <3
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Review: This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-ReadyMy Profile

  4. This is like only the second review I’ve read for it…so I’m not really sure if it’s my style of book. Heh. I think I’d end up more annoyed then interested. Although, like you said, it IS good and interesting to look at things from a different view point. Even if the view point makes you feel like smashing things with a hammer.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (includes nausea and dizziness)My Profile

  5. WOAH what a highly controversial novel! Good on you for being able to form your opinions of it from this book though, at least you kept an open mind about it. BTW I am LOVING your new background and colours, can’t wait to see the finished product!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Win a Vampire Academy Prize Pack – Australians only!My Profile

  6. De-gaying camping?! WTF! Definitely a novel that would get me crazy enraged as well, so I know how you feel. I’m not sure I would be able to make it through the whole book, so kudos to you. It would be great to see a different perspective on the issue though. Great review <3

    P.S. WOOHOO new layout! It's so prettttyyyy
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…ARC Review: Grim by Various Authors (edited by Christine Johnson)My Profile

  7. Glass says:

    I have this on my TBR list, but I’m still not sure about reading it. Especially after reading your review. I have a feeling like this is one of those books that tries to hard to talk about socially important topics, but feels just flat in the end.
    Glass recently posted…ARC Review – Maybe Someday by Colleen HooverMy Profile

  8. I remember reading another review of this in another blog’s, and I remember being disgusted at the mention of de-gaying camps! That’s just low and despicable. You let these people be, don’t force them to be ashamed of what they are. Same goes for camps that force young boys to try dresses and barbie dolls and make-up, in case they are gays. LET THEM EXPLORE THEIR OWN SEXUALITY BY THEMSELVES, PLEASE. DON’T FORCE THEM, INFLUENCE THEM. *huff, huff*

    Then again, it’s sad that a book touches on sensitive topics and fail in evoking strong emotions from the reader. That’s the point, isn’t it? To summon powerful feelings and insights? If that book fails to do that… well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be wasting my time when I could find it elsewhere.

    With that said, great review, Melanie!
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava DellairaMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, there was a fair bit of gender stereotyping (like making all the girls wear pink frilly dresses). It’s rather disappointing that no other others have tried to write about this topic. BUt kudos to this author for tryin!

  9. Amir says:

    This book definitely deals with the controversial. I’ve heard of these camps before and I always thought these people who run these camps are stupid to think that a person can just change preference and his/her’s true self over the course of a summer. I also feel sad that some parents will do that to their child rather accept them for who they are.

    But I think it is interesting to have an inside look of what’s beyond these de-gaying camps and how they go about there brainwashing. Reading your review though, I’m not too sure if I’ll be able to connect with the characters either and this sounds like a character driven book since it deals with a person’s sexuality.
    Amir recently posted…Audiobook Review: Unearthly by Cynthia HandMy Profile

  10. OMG!!! Your new blog design is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I love the pastel colors and it looks so good with your blog! Omg I’m now obsessed and I probably will spend all day today just oohing and ahhing over how purdy it is 😀

    Also, I kind of really hated this book for the same reasons! I mean, I get that the camp was supposed to be completely sexist and disrespectful, but the fact that Lexi kind of blindly went along with it really bothered me. Seriously, why are “boyish” colors the only gender neutral colors and pink has to be reserved specially for girls? It makes me so mad because it was so degrading, and if you support that kind of behavior like Lexi did, it was almost as if she was condoning it and that made me mad. Even if she wanted to change, it’s not like you’re going to AGREE with everything they taught. The least I expected was an outraged thought but she kept blindly following what they said.

    I agree, the idea was really creative and Jessica tried to deal with it in the proper way, but I felt like it still made me sad. Lol sorry for the mini rant, fantastic review, Mellybean! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Sweeter Than Fiction by Taylor SwiftMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Aw thanks LeenyPoopy (that is now your nickname I use on rare occasions :P)

      Mini rants are awesome! That’s what I was thinking, Lexi just went along with everything even though she disagreed sometimes in her head. It just annoying the crap outta me.

  11. Zoe N. says:

    This definitely sounds like it can be hugely controversial to say the least; but it’s a shame you didn’t connect with it as much as you wanted to Mel. The fact that the characters were so hard to connect with definitely makes the novel as a whole hard to appreciate, which is a shame. Anyhow, thanks for sharing Mel, and, as always, brilliant review! 😀

    (And can I just say how much I <3 your new blog design!?!)
    Zoe N. recently posted…NilMy Profile

  12. Candace says:

    I’m doing LGBT month next month and when I heard what this was about I thought it might fit. I mean, I’m assuming it’s not actually anti- LGBT, right? I mean I’m hoping that in the end things turn out okay for her. I’m definitely curious about this and am wondering if I should try to add it to my list for next week. I guess I’ll check out a few more opinions. Thanks for the wonderful review!
    Candace recently posted…Cover Reveal: This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia BurroughsMy Profile

  13. Lexa Cain says:

    I think the premise is fascinating, original, and controversial. It seems all the facts were in order. Too bad there wasn’t a bit more attention paid to the other campers and their stories. Still, the author is very brave. Great review! 🙂
    Lexa Cain recently posted…Writing Process & CelebrateMy Profile

  14. Alise says:

    Totally just had a case of “where the heck am I?” Haha. Had to check the name again! The new design looks great-I really like it! The header is gorgeous!

    Books that are just okay or meh really are the hardest to review because I just don’t care about them much. I definitely can’t get into a book if there is no connection to the characters. I’ll probably be avoiding this one.
    Alise recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday [33]My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Haha!

      That’s true. I find myself doing mini reviews for 2 and 3 star books. 1 star books normally have a crapload of ranting and 4 and 5 stars get a lot of gushing >.<

  15. Melliane says:

    it sounds ok even if not awesome. I’m sorry it wasn’t as good as you expected. And just so you know I love the new look of the blog!
    Melliane recently posted…Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzieMy Profile

  16. “Conflicted” is a good word for it. This started out so cute, but then all the serious stuff happened and I was pretty angry with them being treated so cavalierly. Just don’t include the heavy stuff if you’re writing a fluffy book and don’t intend to treat them with seriousness and respect, you know?
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Discussion: The Luckiest Girl + April book announcementMy Profile

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