Title: Song of Summer
Author: Laura Lee Anderson
Published by: Bloomsbury Spark
Publication date: July 7, 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
*ARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Summary from Laura Lee Anderson’s website:
The thirteen qualities of Robin’s Perfect Man range from the mildly important “Handsome” to the all-important “Great taste in music.” After all, Westfield’s best high school folk musician can’t go out with some shmuck who only listens to top 40 crap. When hot Carter Paulson walks in the door of Robin’s diner, it looks like the list may have come to life. It’s not until the end of the meal that she realizes he’s profoundly deaf.
Carter isn’t looking for a girlfriend. Especially not a hearing one. Not that he has anything against hearing girls, they just don’t speak the same language. But when the cute waitress at Grape Country Dairy makes an effort to talk with him, he takes her out on his yellow Ducati motorcycle.
Music, language, and culture sing back-up as love takes the melody, but just how long can a summer song last?
Robin lives for music. Gifted with a melodic voice and a practiced musician of several instruments, she can’t imagine life without music, let alone dating someone who can’t share in her love. So, when Carter walks into her life—wealthy, hot, motorcycle riding, sweetie pie…and deaf—she’s understandably confused. He’s gorgeous and interested in HER, but he can’t hear. You’d think it’d be a deal breaker for the music worshiping Robin, but it’s not, and they begin a summer love with little over a month until Carter has to return home to New York City.
Turns out, Robin’s a quick study in ASL (American Sign Language). They communicate easily enough through some ASL, some lip reading, and some written word on notepads. However, Robin’s desire for Carter to hear lingers guiltily in the background. Carter, too, has his reservations about dating a hearing girl, especially a musician. These doubts and hidden desires set their relationship up for a roadblock. The narrative seems to blame Robin for most of the miscommunication between the two, but both Robin and Carter are stepping outside their comfort zone by dating, and both make mistakes. In the end, they both mature through a better understanding of each other.
There are some interesting religious themes in Song of Summer. Robin belongs to a church and participates in their worship band, talks highly about the worship pastor, and stops herself from going “too far” physically with Carter because she “just can’t,” but other than that her beliefs are vague. Carter wonders about awakening a “soul sense,” which seemed like a weird, made-up term for soul searching. Ultimately, he is convicted that there is something bigger than him, and a soul sense is composed of “love and beauty and life.”
The end of the book took me a little by surprise. I wasn’t expecting it to end like it did. I thought some of the revelations both characters had about one another came too close to the end, and I wonder if Laura Lee Anderson will continue Robin and Carter’s story in a sequel.
Would I let my teen read this book?
I really liked the premise of this book. There are some great concepts for discussion here, about the importance of communication, going outside your comfort zone, the expectations we put on others, and acceptance of our differences.
Surprisingly, it’s not always easy to find a contemporary YA romance that does not include sex. This is a clean read (a plus)! I recommend Song of Summer for teens 14 and up, and you can pre-order it before July 7 for only $3.82 on Amazon!
Age recommendation: 14
Language – mild
Drugs & Alcohol— none
Sex – Several make out scenes where the characters risk getting carried away, caressing backs, heavy breathing, etc; Nothing graphic
Violence – none
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy: Song of Summer for only $3.82 on Amazon.com!
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.