Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book Review: The Summer I Got a Life by Mark Fink

The Summer I Got a Life by Mark Fink
Publisher: WestSide Books
Publication date: November 2009
ISBN: 9781934813126
Source: ARC provided by author

The Summer I Got a Life

Andy and his brother Brad are planning an excellent summer trip to Hawaii.  But, when their parents' plans change and they are shipped off to a remote farm in Wisconsin, things couldn't be worse.  Their crazy aunt and uncle live on a farm without cable or the internet.  It seems like there will be nothing to do.  But, both Andy and Brad will be in for a lot of surprises from this small town, not the least of which is the hot, and maybe a little nuts, girl that Andy meets.

Things I Liked:
This book was good for some laughs.  I enjoyed some of the incidents it relates, which are humorous and also sound like a lot of fun.  I liked Laura the most, since she was the most interesting and also most complex character.  She felt more real as well.  Andy's aunt and uncle were also pretty fun - especially because they didn't apologize for how odd they acted.  That's just how they are.  It was pretty entertaining overall.  Here's a touch of the entertainment:

Before I knew what was happening, the massive passenger was fast asleep - on me.  I now was completely pinned by a human avalanche - and it was snoring and smelled like scotch. p 31 of ARC
Things I Didn't Like:
It felt very episodic, as though one event would happen and then another, but they didn't seem to relate much.  There wasn't much of an overarching story, just little humorous anecdotes.  While some of the things Andy and Brad said felt like regular teens, at times it waxed a little too cheesy and therefore somewhat unrealistic.  I'm not sure a 15-year-old would hug his 17-year-old brother in a public place, no matter the circumstances.  Little things like that and some of the dialog felt contrived.  I think it will appeal to teens younger than 15, but I can't see a lot of 15-year-old guys picking this up on their own. 

Reminded me a little of The Ghost, the Eggheads, and Babe Ruth's Piano by Larry Sweitzer

Maybe a little like A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck

s-factor: !@
scattered throughout

mrg-factor: X
teenage boy mind

v-factor: ->
a minor fight scene

Overall rating: ***

Did you ever go somewhere for a summer and come back very changed?  Where did you go?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I never did, but I always wanted to! I always spent my summers away from home so I never saw my friends until September, and I always had fantasies of coming back and just being so different. I never did, though.

  2. Caroline, how funny! I never really went anywhere for the summer, so I guess I was one of those slow changing people too :)


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