Here is the summary from Goodreads: Four best friends, five summers of camp memories. The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring... The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth... The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle... The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar... Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable... and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance.
What I Liked: 1) Well, first of all, this book is pretty much what I look for in a summer read. The setting was summer camp, and nothing was super emotional or so deep or dark that you just feel like it's dragging you down. I would definitely call this one a "light and fluffy" read (and please don't take that to mean a bad thing, check out this post from last summer regarding "beach reads" or what I think of as "light and fluffy.") So it held up to what I wanted from that aspect. 2) The book had a great mix of characters. While I can't really pinpoint one main character because we jumped around between perspectives frequently, I can say that the blend of personalities from the four girls was very interesting and reminded me of my own group of friends. No matter how different these girls are, they have formed a strong friendship, and that was fun to see. 3) I also enjoyed getting to see how their friendship developed and changed over the course of five years. The course of their relationship is portrayed as each girl reliving memories of herself and her friends together, so it feels less like big jumps in time and more like memories. I thought this was a great way to bring that into the story. 4) The story has a definitely air of predictability. While that is not really viewed as a good thing, for my purposes, it worked. I knew what was coming, but the book managed to keep me interested because I was curious about what the reactions of the girls would be. That is one of the places that having these four girls as MCs worked in favor of the story.
What I Didn't Like: I knew going into it that the girls' friendship started when they were nine (I mean, it says so right there in the summary, hello!) but still, it seemed the age jump was a little much to be a YA book, but then towards the end, some of the things that they get into become such that it couldn't be an MG book. Do you know what I'm saying? That was one of the biggest things that kept me from really digging into the book. I would have also liked to see some more depth to the characters individually. While I thought their friendship was very well written, their individuality was lacking.
Overall Thoughts: Five Summers definitely fits the bill for an interesting summer read. There is some clever writing that creates well-developed relationships. The storyline is decent, though it leaves a little to be desired. It is definitely predictable, but it's the reactions from the characters that you are most looking for, so that isn't that big of a deal. And there needed to be a bit more development in the individual characters, but it was pretty good overall.
My Rating: 3.5 shots