Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Summerland” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt* *Different edition


3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  23,251 Ratings  ·  1,910 Reviews
A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. But what begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver of the car, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny's boyfriend Jake and her friend Demeter, are physically u ...more
Published June 26th 2012 by Hachette Audio (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Summerland, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Summerland

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 19, 2013 Anna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my god, BOO.

Can I give this less than one star? Until about halfway through, I felt as though this deserved a solid, resounding "meh"...but oh my god, it got so much worse.

I came across the audio version of this book on my Overdrive app, looking for something to check out from my local library to get me through a few evenings worth of cooking and cleaning and then the following days of driving to and from work. I chose quickly, and I wasn't expecting a masterful piece of literature. I'd neve
Jul 07, 2012 Britany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Oy I felt like this book started and ended without moving in any direction. I kept waiting for something to happen-- anything!! My first Hilderbrand book, and I won't be picking up another anytime soon. It starts with a car accident and how the different families on Nantucket Island deal with the aftermath. This should leave SO much material for story lines and character depth, but alas, it doesn't! The characters are annoying and sad, but when I realized I was closing in on the end, I almost th ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you see someone on the beach with a beverage in her hand, chances are she’s not reading War and Peace or Crime and Punishment. Summer is a time for what is commonly called “chick lit.” However, no matter how mindless you want your book to be, some of it can be just plain awful. Very few books that take place in the summer and are geared towards women can be considered quality books. Elin Hilderbrand is one of those authors who writes these types of novels…books where you can do your “mind e ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book details the aftermath of a car crash in which one of four teens riding in the car is killed. The book spends its time having the three survivors and their parents coping with the next phase in their lives and trying to determine why Penny, the driver of the car, deliberately crashed the car. The story is told from everyone's various viewpoints, but the reader never really gets to know these characters because they spend the whole book feeling guilty for whatever part they believe they ...more
I have read every book by Elin Hilderbrand and this is definitely one of my least favorite. I normally love all of her books, but this one just wasn't that great for these reasons:

1. The title is misleading; this is not a light, summery beach read. This is a depressing and serious story, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just wasn't that enjoyable to read.

2. There were a few too many POVs, and some of the characters weren't developed that great.

3. I don't think it's realistic that all th
Mary (BookHounds)

In an isolated part of the country, Nantucket seems like paradise to most outsiders and the families that live there year round agree. This story about four teens in an accident that leaves one dead, one injured and the other two safe is just the beginning of a mystery in the island community of Nantucket and what is really is revealed will make you wonder if any community is safe from angst. The secrets that come to light make this whole community reel with their r
May 21, 2012 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I saw the cover of this book and read the title, I expected a great beach read--something light and hopeful. What I found in Summerland was really the opposite of that. Okay, so it does have some hope, I suppose, but readers have to really look for it.

The book focuses on a summer in the life of four Nantucket teens. The moment that brings them all together is a tragic car accident that kills one of the teens, Penny. The accident, along with Penny's death, throws the remaining three teens--
Eh. While Elin Hilderbrand is still a fantastic writer, and I still stayed up way too late to finish this book, I think the Nantucket thing is running its course. Having read all her books, I feel that bits and pieces were taken from past books to create this one. Main female character a chef? See The Blue Bistro. Adulterous love affair? See A Summer Affair. Unplanned teen pregnancy? See Summer People.

In addition, I'm getting a bit tired of the elements that always find their way into every Hild
BAM The Bibliomaniac

So out of my comfort zone but I actually really enjoyed it. The author was able to make me care about all of the characters and I wanted all of them to have positive resolutions. Only downfall-author needs a thesaurus to learn synonyms for "said"

2017 Reading Challenge: season in the title
Alissa Patrick
3.5 Stars

A decent story but WOW was that cover misleading. This is not a breezy, summery, beach read. This is a hard novel about teenagers, drinking, a fatal car accident, and how the choices we make can significantly alter other people's lives, even destroy them. The only reason this is called Summerland is because it takes place in Nantucket.

Not a bad story, but I def would not categorize this as a chick lit, or a beach read. It's packed with some emotional punch.
Jessica Mitchell
Jul 24, 2013 Jessica Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book about two months ago while traveling and got 18 pages in before I started dozing off on the plane. I hadn't had much time to continue reading until recently, so I started over (whole 18 pages!) and it was hard to put the book down. I finished in less than a day.

That being said, Summerland is a great read especially for the summertime. However, it's not SO mindless that you find yourself immediately forgetting the story you just read. This one did leave me with some li
Judy Collins
"A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. But what begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver of the car, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny's boyfriend Jake and her friend Demeter, are physically unhurt - but the emotional damage is overwhelming, and questions linger about what happened before Penny took the wheel. As s ...more
Jun 27, 2013 Lindsey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
This was the first book I've read by this author. The book centers around 3 families on Nantucket following a tragic suicide car wreck that killed one girl, left her brother in a coma, and the other 2 passengers unscathed.

The book is told through the eyes of the 4 teenagers in the car, as well as their parents, who are also friends. I felt the characters were developed enough, and I didn't mind the various points of view. However, I found them to all be quite unlikeable and it seems like none of
Sarah Beth
Aug 28, 2012 Sarah Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: age-28
I dislike books that hinge on a secret that is only being kept a secret as a way of moving forward the plot. Nothing will happen if someone finds out the secret. Sometimes, the secret is told to one character at the beginning of the book and they take drastic action, and then we are left to wonder what the secret could be for the entire book, only to find out it's just kind of a middling secret that is upsetting to the characters, but NOT TO THE READER. The secret must be upsetting to the reader ...more
Aug 20, 2014 Myrna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was a sad, moving tale not the light, feel good read the cover conveys. It‘s told in multi POVS about four teenage friends involved in an auto accident and the death of one of them. As the story unfolds you see how everyone is coping with the death and their parents learn a lot about themselves and their children. This book is fiction, but it makes you stop and think. It was hard to read this book at times as this is a lot of parents’ worst nightmare. Despite being slow at times with a jump ...more
Apr 17, 2013 Holli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't even have the words for how much I loved this book. Outstanding read!! It has all the makings of a "true to life" novel dealing with sometimes harsh and sometimes beautiful stuff. Death, birth, affairs, marriage, family, small town life, kids on the brink, life changing events and choices people make.... I loved how Elin Hilderbrand wrote it from several points of view and wove all of those together seamlessly. READ THIS ONE!
Jo Anne B
This book was all over the place. What contributed to this was telling the story from multiple perspectives. In doing so, we got tidbits of information about all these characters yet never feel like we fully know any of them. It is a good premise for a story. A bunch of graduating kids get into a car accident and one of them dies. The survivors and their families are left asking why, everyone thinking it was their fault. This could have been a good book if only it was better executed.
Joy Carruthers
Just what I was in the mood for:)
Jul 20, 2012 Camilla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Let me warn you, I feel a rant coming..

Maybe I should also warn you that there will be words such as ‘lesbian’, ‘paranormal romance’ and ‘what the fuck?!’ in the review you’re about to read.. If you decide to keep going that is.. Oh, and the stuff tagged "spoiler" below is very, very spoiler, so dont hit those if you dont want spoilers from the book.

This book is about a suicide on the tiny island of Nantucket. It’s the suicide of Penny, the most popular 15 year old girl, the star of the island,
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Someone knew why the accident that killed Penny Alistair happened, and that someone was Demeter Castle. Demeter knew exactly why Penny flew into a rage and drove so fast that she killed herself and seriously injured her brother, but she wouldn't divulge the information. She just couldn't tell the police what she knew.

Ms. Hilderbrand created another marvelous book with wonderful characters and amazing descriptions of Nantucket Island. The descriptions of the landscape and the town will provide a
Kelly Davis
I’m always impressed when an author can make me feel nostalgic for someplace I’ve never been. Elin Hilderbrand’s Summerland made me long for Nantucket like a native of the island, or at least a person looking back fondly on a place she’d spent more than a few happy summers (confession: didn’t actually know where it was until I read this book).

Hilderbrand seamlessly weaves together all-American beach town images – seaside bonfires at twilight, locals and summer tourists mingling under Fourth of
I have had a few Elin Hilderbrand's books sitting on my bookshelves unread for a while (along with a thousand of others) and after reading this one, they won't be sitting much longer.
I totally enjoyed this book. I love her writing and fell in love with Nantucket. Her descriptions of things on the island and beaches made me want to be there.
There are wonderful strong characters and I wanted to know them, you can't help but like them, flaws and all.
The book starts with the tragic accident at the
Nov 02, 2013 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Perhaps reading a "beach read" in October contributed to my lack of enthusiasm, but this novel did nothing for me.

On a balmy summer evening on Nantucket, high school junior Penny deliberately crashes a car, killing herself, seriously injuring her twin brother, and stunning the townfolk. The survivors she leaves behind - her mother, the childhood friend who survived the crash, her boyfriend, among others - narrate the story as they struggle over the course of the summer to make sense of it all.
The evening of the high school graduation in Nantucket is a time for celebration. But the night ends tragically when sweet, talented Penny Alistair - a rising high school senior - takes the wheel of a Jeep containing her sports-phenom brother Hobby, her friend Demeter, and her boyfriend Jake. Penny seemingly purposely crashes the Jeep, killing herself and horribly injuring Hobby, while leaving Jake and Demeter physically unscathed.

What did Demeter tell Penny that set off this event? That's the
Jul 30, 2012 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed by this book; to me it appears the author was in to big a hurry to her her summer book out and rushd through the character development as well as the plot development. The story is told from several different perspectives - too many so you never become to involved with any one character. And large issues such as the death of a teen, a teen pregancy, dissolution of a marriage and discovery of a teenager who is an alcoholic seem to be resolved/discussed in an abstract way.
I usually e
Cathy B
Jun 25, 2012 Cathy B rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So glad to be done with this; I only finished it because it was Elin Hilderbrand...but it was just not that good. It was boring- same thing over and over from the various characters viewpoints....I just wanted to finish it and move on. Not her best by far....
Jun 24, 2012 Marla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Another good one from Elin Hilderbrand.
Usually Elin Hilderbrand writes women's contemporary fiction that has, in general, a happy tone. However, Summerland, it quite different from the other novels of hers that I have read. To be quite blunt it is tragic. The story opens in June on the graduation night for Nantucket High. 4 friends, who are juniors have gathered together to join their senior friends at the senior graduation parties. Penny and Hobby Alistair are twins. Penny is popular for her beautiful singing voice and actually sang ...more
Jul 25, 2012 J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like to pick my summer reading by as random a method as possible. This year I have tried to choose from the title of a book in one of the local papers without reading the review. Summer books are a strange breed and the books I have read, thus far, this year, all have to do with death, alienation and dysfunctional families. The first book was a waste of time, the second was interesting, yet, lacking. Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand felt like a reward for seeing the last two books to the bitter ...more
Jun 25, 2012 LORI CASWELL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
It's graduation day at Nantucket High. On the warm June evening the parties have moved to a bonfire at the beach. Four teens decide to leave the party and tragedy strikes when the driver of the Jeep floors the gas pedal and the vehicle goes airborne then comes to rest on a beach. Penny Alistair is dead, her twin brother Hobby is in a coma with 16 broken bones. Penny's boyfriend, Jake and their friend Demeter are unhurt physically. They had on their seat belts. They are so many questions and the ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Gwinnett County P...: Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand 1 29 Jan 28, 2013 02:03PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Summer land 1 2 Aug 27, 2012 05:08AM  
  • Heat Wave
  • Porch Lights
  • Beach House Memories (The Beach House)
  • Little Night
  • Spring Fever
  • Sea Change
  • Ocean Beach (Ten Beach Road, #2)
  • The Next Best Thing
  • Last Summer
  • Driftwood Summer
  • Beach Colors
  • These Girls
  • Monarch Beach
  • Life Without Summer
  • Escape
  • One Good Friend Deserves Another
  • Distant Shores
  • I Couldn't Love You More
Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.
More about Elin Hilderbrand...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“What happened when we died? How were we to know that death wasn't as profound an adventure as life was?” 7 likes
“If everyone slept with the person he or she had secretly fallen in love with, the world would be chaos.” 4 likes
More quotes…