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The Summer My Life Began

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  875 ratings  ·  196 reviews
A great summer beach read filled with sunshine, cooking, and—of course—romance!

Elizabeth Margaret--better known as Em--has always known what her life would contain: an internship at her father's firm, a degree from Harvard, and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is, it's not what she wants. So when she gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month with the aunt sh...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published May 10th 2012 by Speak
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60th out of 214 books — 1,293 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lisa O.
You might have noticed that I shelved this in my 3-neurons-involved shelf (and please note, it is not a shelf with a derogatory purpose, it's just dedicated to vanilla, fluffy, light reads I seem to enjoy so much when I feel overcome by... well, life). Most books that end up in that shelf are books I actually liked. That being said, you barely need 2 neurons for this book. Actually, make that 1.
And I'm quite disappointed to be honest, because the idea wasn't bad at all.

Margaret Elizabeth belong...more
The disappointing and/or abandoned reviews that I read before picking up this book should have been the biggest hint that maybe I should avoid this book. But I decided to give it a shot who knew maybe I would end up liking it?

Elizabeth Margaret or “Em” has her life planned out for her; she is a perfect student who will do an internship at her father’s law firm over the summer and then go to Harvard to study law. She does everything she is told by her parents and grandmother, but Em is given the...more
Let me get one thing out of the way: I love summer books. They are my favourite go-to when I need an uplifting story that features the sea, beaches, sand on one’s skin, sun and maybe a nice summer romance.
Now, there are certain types of summer books that are not particularly deep, but that does not necessarily keep me from enjoying them. This book, though, barely even scratched the surface, and combined with a rather lacklustre writing style, it didn’t really do anything for me.

I am not saying t...more
Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes-lite was the first thing to came to my mind when I opened this book. Both books are about a young girl just graduating and getting a surprising invitation in mail. For Ginny it was her dead aunt inviting her to London with 13 little blue envelopes that were supposed to guide her through an adventure. For Em, Elizabeth Margaret, it's a postcard from an aunt she didn't know she had to come and spend the summer with her on an island.

Both girls accept the c...more
Mar 17, 2012 Tatiana marked it as lost-interest
Shelves: ya
Available now for EVERYONE on NG.
Elizabeth Margaret, or simply called Em, is a girl with passion in cooking. However, the option of telling her uptight and prestigious family that she wants to pursue a career in cooking is off-limits. Her family would be furious, and Em doesn't want to hurt her family's feeling. Being a chef is not even possible in her wildest imagination.

This is her last summer holiday before she goes to Harvard and follows her father’s path as a lawyer, when a letter from her aunt arrives. Em doesn’t even kno...more
Lauren (Lauren Reads YA)
Check out my book blog for more reviews!

The only reason why I was able to get this before it came out was because it was available for everyone on NetGalley, which is always nice. I was very excited to get started on my very first Review For Publisher (kind of)!

The Summer My Life Began is the cute, summer-y contemporary romance you’d expect it to be from the title & cover.
I liked it, but it was way too predictable. I’m not usually that person who knows at the beginning of a Law and Order ep...more
2.5 stars - I didn't like this book at first, but it ended up growing on me. The book has a lot of potential because the story is obviously there. I just wish it wasn't so surface deep.

The book started out really dull. Here you have Em in a rich, stuck up family that has high expectations of her. But a lot of it was just surface deep, and you don't really get more than just that. And I felt there were a bunch of senseless, useless scenes that just dragged out the beginning when it should have be...more
Jaime Arkin
The Summer My Life Began Em has spent her life trying to match the perfection that her parents and grandmother expect of her. She’s graduated as valedictorian, she’s going to spend the summer working for her father’s law firm and then she’s off to college to pursue a career that they have picked out for her.

Still it never seems like enough.

Then upon her graduation, she receives a letter from an Aunt she’s never heard of, offering to the chance to come spend the summer in the Outer Banks at her B...more
I read The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland on the bus ride to BEA and I have to say, it is a great read while traveling or a beach book. I found it to be absorbing, but not to require a whole lot from me on my end, except a bit of attention. To further define what I mean, a travel or beach read, to me, is a light book that entertains you while making the ride pass by rather quickly. It’s not exactly a life changer of a book.
Read the rest of my review here
A Canadian Girl
When I got The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland, I wanted a nice, fluffy read. I didn’t think my expectations were high – and yet I was still left disappointed.

Although the writing isn’t bad, if I could use one word to describe everything about The Summer My Life Began, it would be “blah.” Since a one word review isn’t going to cut it, here’s why The Summer My Life Began wasn’t my ideal beach read:

- The main character barely goes through any adversity. It’s obvious that Em is going to e...more
Given the title and cover, this seemed like a cute summer read so even though it is not officially summer yet, I wanted to give this a shot. I was able to read through it in only a few sittings one day due to the brevity.

However I wasn't really able to connect with the characters, which ultimately hindered my enjoyment. Main character Elizabeth Margaret has always done what is expected of her and is prepared for an internship before going to Harvard and then becoming a lawyer like her father. Sh...more
Emily (Book Jems)
As seen on Ed and Em's Reviews!

4/5 Stars!

The Summer My Life Began is a fast, light read that's perfect for a day of relaxing in the summer sun!

Elizabeth Margaret, or Em as she's referred to in most of the story, and her sister are born into a world of prestige. As they grow, they must learn to meet their family's expectations: perfect grades, ivy league education and a high-standing job like a lawyer or a doctor. All Em wants is to be a chef and get away from the high stress of her family's expe...more
Read more of my reviews at Falling Books!

The Summer My Life Began is an interesting book about family and friends. It shows you how life can change within a few weeks, how you life can be turned upside down because of one secret and how opportunities can pop up in the most surprising of places!

This isn't just an ordinary summer....

Elizabeth Margeret is the daughter of a wealthy family. What is expected of her? She must become a lawyer, she much marry someone rich, she must not disappoint her pa...more

I wanted to like this book, since it had an amazing setting (the Outter Banks islands) and talked about food, which I always enjoy in a book, but the characters were shallow, I couldn't care less about the love story and the happy ending was just too much. At least it was fun to read in the summer.

Je m'attendais à une lecture de midinette parfaite pour l'été : le livre se passe sur l'ile d'Outter Banks qui a l'air paradisiaque, où l'héroine passe l'été au B&B de sa tante. Surprise, la nourri...more
This was an instant request on Netgalley when I first saw it, because hello?! SUMMER. But unfortunately I didn't really fall in love with it.

The Summer My Life Began had a good concept, but I felt like the story wasn't executed very well and consequently, it fell a little flat for me. There was a lot of potential to be a really fun summer read, and I really wish it had fulfilled that, rather than being the clichéd, wannabe-mystery I thought it was.

I was a bit torn on Em. I could relate to her pa...more
I will admit when I first started the book I thought there was no way I was going to really be able to connect with Elizabeth Margaret. For starters, her name is “Elizabeth Margaret.” I don’t mean to sound rude but if that was my name I feel sure I would not actually expect people to say all of that every time they spoke to me. It turns out, it wasn’t really her that insisted on the use of her full name but her parents. As a matter of fact, I realized that most of the things that made me feel so...more
Michelle (Much Loved Books)

I don't tend to pick up and read this type of book but the synopsis had me intrigued so I requested a copy and was accepted and I am very happy to say that I really enjoyed The Summer My Life Began.

The mainprotagonist,ElizabethMargaret, or Em as she likes to be called, lives with her Mother, Father and younger sister Gwyneth. Herparents haveextremelyhighexpectationsof both of their daughters and havetheirlives mapped out for them, ivy league education, doctor or lawyer as career a...more
Jen (A Book and a Latte)
Originally posted on A Book and a Latte:

The Summer My Life Began is such a fun read! It’s a wonderful story about self-discovery, being true to yourself, and family. This is the perfect book to read by the pool or on the beach, or if you just need a vacation.

Elizabeth Margaret is living out the plan her parents laid out for her ever since she can remember. She secretly wants to be a chef, but her parents disapprove. When she’s invited to spend the summer in the Outer Banks with an aunt she’s nev...more
Amber (Books of Amber)
Wasn't a fan of this at all. It was so boring, and writing was very wooden with lots of telling instead of showing.


I really liked the sound of The Summer My Life Began when I looked up the premise on GoodReads. I'm really into contemporary novels right now, and I love summer books so I was really looking forward to reading it and I was so, so happy when I saw it was available on NetGalley. Unfortunately, the poor writing style and the wooden characters meant that the book didn't live up to...more
Originally posted on

You know how certain books just scream “Take me to the beach with you!!”? The Summer My Life Began is one of those. I love serious books as much as anyone, but some times I really just want something light and fun, something that lets me escape everything for a couple of hours, and this book did exactly that.

I felt like the first chapters of Elizabeth Margaret being around her family and explaining about their ridiculously high standards of living, and even hig...more
Rachel Marks
I was asked to review this book as part of a JKS Communications Blog Tour. I am so happy that I got on this tour, because if I had not, I would have never have read this amazing book. Normally I tend to stay in my comfort zone of reading young adult paranormal romances. Once in a while I will venture out of that comfort zone and read something else.

The Summer My Life Began was a giant leap out my comfort zone since it is a young adult contemporary romance. For some reason I have avoided this sec...more
Apr 22, 2012 Sandra rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: YA readers who love romance with a bit of mystery
From the blurb:

Elizabeth Margaret — better known as Em — has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, t...more
Book Title: The Summer My Life Began Nowrin Ahmed
Author: Shannon Greenland
In today’s generation, many parents often choose or pick what they want their kids or to do or who to become when they are older. In this book, by Shannon Greenland, Em (Elizabeth Margaret; Main Character in the book) lives in a society where kids have all the money in the world. They have rich parents, fancy houses, prep schools, expensive clothes, trips to Paris at a moment’s notice, and Ivy League universities to look...more
Eine unerwartete Begegnung mit einem interessanten Jungen ...
Die Möglichkeit, ihrer heimlichen Leidenschaft nachzugehen ...
Die Freiheit, die zu sein, die sie schon immer sein wollte ...
Als Em die Einladung ihrer Tante annimmt, den Sommer in deren Bed & Breakfast auf einer traumhaft schönen Insel zu verbringen, ahnt die Siebzehnjährige nicht, dass diese Entscheidung ihr Leben von Grund auf verändern wird. Zu Hause war alles streng durchgeplant: Schule, Elitecollege, Karrie...more
Em ist eigentlich die Traumvorstellung ihrer Eltern, sie ist Klassenbeste und soll nach dem Abschluss Jura studieren und in die Kanzlei des Vaters einsteigen, nur leider achten die Eltern nicht darauf, was Em selber will. Also sie eine Einladung zur ihrer Tante auf eine Insel bekommt, kann sie nicht widerstehen und lernt dort kenne, was es heisst, sich selbst für etwas zu entscheiden...

Also zuerst hat mich das Cover angesprochen, es sieht so nach Sommer, Sonne und Freiheit aus, passt auch sehr g...more
Victoria Potter
Fantastic summer read! Read this in four hours and I could not believe the plot twists! A must read for any contemporary summer read lovers.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 08, 2014 XxForeverXx_XxVampire_DiariezxxLuvsSHERLOCKandSUPERNATURAL rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of family and sunmmer adventure novels.
Recommended to XxForeverXx_XxVampire_DiariezxxLuvsSHERLOCKandSUPERNATURAL by:, public library.
This was such a good book!!! It was cute, sweet, romantic, and a fresh summer read. When I saw this book on Goodreads, I thought it looked interesting. Then when I saw it at the library, I thought a nice summer book would be great to read in the cold now. I was glad that I did. I loved it!!! There was no part that I didn't like. I loved the plot and things happened that I never expected it to happen. There was such a plot twist that it surprised me greatly. But I was glad everything turned out a...more
Paula  Phillips
Have you ever had your whole life planned out for you ? Right from birth to adulthood , somebody dictating who you were going to be , what grades you had to get etc. Elizabeth Margaret has , she has a bank account earmarked for Harvard where she will study Law and then work for her father's firm and this summer she has an Internship lined up in a law firm. However for Em as her sister calls her , she doesn't dream of being a lawyer , yet all she wants to do is go to Culinary school and became a...more
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S. E. Green or Shannon Greenland is the author of the award winning Middle Grade spy series, The Specialists, which was an ALA top pick and a National Reader’s Choice Recipient. Killer Instinct marks her debut into the world of thrillers.
More about Shannon Greenland...
Model Spy (The Specialists, #1) Down to the Wire (The Specialists, #2) The Winning Element (The Specialists, #3) Native Tongue (The Specialists, #4) Fight to the Finish (The Specialists, #5)

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“In front of us, the ocean stretched for eternity. Around us, reggae mussy floated through the air. In our drying clothes and still-damp hair, we ate junk food and talked.
At some point we finished and went for a long walk in the sand. We picked up shells, laughed, and talked. Before I knew it, the sun was going down and we went back to the van. We lay side by side, stretched out on the blanket. When the sun dropped completely below the horizon, we let the moon illuminate us.”
“She raised her sad blue eyes to mine. "It's going to be so boring here without you. And I'm going to have to deal with Grandmother on my own! You need to e-mail, text, call, send smoke signals--whatever--and tell me everything you're doing."
I laughed. "Yes, I know. Every day. I promise.”
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