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Life Without Summer: A Novel
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Life Without Summer: A Novel

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,539 Ratings  ·  200 Reviews
Tessa Gray’s life changes forever when she loses her four-year-old daughter, Abby, in a hit-and-run accident outside her preschool. Once a vivacious, joyful mother and wife, Tessa now spends her days holed up in Abby’s room, sleeping in her bed, clutching Abby’s Tootsie Rabbit stuffed animal—anything to keep her memories close. As Tessa grapples with a terrible grief, made ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by Brilliance Audio
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anne Broyles
I slogged through the first 50 pages and decided to finish the book to give it a chance. What I’d felt in those first pages still resonated after I read the last word. The characters are unsympathetic and one-dimensional. The plot is predictable and like much of Dickens, involves a lot of coincidence as the author tries to parallel the stories of a young mother whose 4-year-old daughter is killed by a hit-and-run driver, and the therapist who is supposed to help her through the trauma. The writi ...more
Apr 27, 2009 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: character-study
"Life Without Summer tells the story of two women: Tessa, who's daughter was killed by a hit-and-run driver, and Celia,a therapist, who is struggling to make her new marriage to Alden work while trying to keep her teenage son Ian from feeling excluded. These two lives intersect as Tessa seeks counseling from Celia.

The beginning of this book was so intense that I didn't think I could finish reading it. The devastation of a child's death in one family along with the single-handed struggle of Celi
Apr 30, 2015 Christine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Primary cast of characters: Tessa [grieving mother]; Ethan [grieving father]; Celia [therapist]; Alden [Celia's priggish second husband]; Harry [Celia's alcoholic ex-husband]; Ian [Celia & Harry's teenage son]; and Caufield [policeman preparing for retirement].

I did not like this book. It is laden with grief. There is Tessa and Ethan who are grieving the loss of their daughter. It appears as if Tessa is the one who openly bears this loss while Ethan quietly grieves. [This couple is most symp
Jan 29, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great book. It was definitely a tough subject to read about being a mother and I can't imagine how one would go through life after dealing with such a tragic accident but it's written so beautifully and poignant. There are some bright spots amidst the dark and troubled relationships which makes it all the more touching. I felt optimistic for the characters and how things were going to work out in some way. It really is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. I couldn't put this d ...more
May 27, 2010 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one!
It took me reading over 100 pages (and other books in between) to finally commit to finishing this book. The only reason why I continued to give it a chance was due to the numerous four and five stars it received on goodreads....thinking, it had to get better, right? Not really. The characters in this book are extremely flat and not likeable. I found the two main characters' interactions with their family members to be frustrating, and particularly found the therapist to be weak as a mother, wif ...more
Jo (Bloomin'Chick)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 15, 2011 01andrezzah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life Without Summer, is an amazing book about a mother who looses her, four year old daughter, Abby, in a hit in run accident. As the mother, Tessa goes through her grieving process she finds that she can't get over it. She want to hold on to every last memory she has of Abby. Her husband, Ethan, Talks Tessa into seeing a therapist.
Celia, Tessa's therapist is a very proper woman who is going through a hard time but won't let anyone know about it, because she doesn't want her personal life to in
Aug 06, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
Some books are just so stinking sad. Tessa's world shatters when her young daughter is hit and killed by a driver outside the girl's preschool. She's obsessed with finding out who killed her little girl--was he drunk? high? What other excuse would someone have for hitting a little girl and not stopping? In the meantime, though, her marriage is falling apart, too.

Tessa begins seeing a therapist, Celia, and about half the book is from her point-of-view. Celia is remarried after divorcing a drunk,
Jun 28, 2009 Rhonda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
Tessa's four-year-old daughter is killed in a hit-and-run accident outside her preschool. She is devastated and unable to cope, so she goes to a therapist at the suggestion of her husband.

Celia, the therapist, is having her own difficulties---she has an alcoholic ex-husband, a new husband, and a teenage son with his own share of attitudes and problems.

This is written in journal style, alternating between the two women. It is a wonderful story, woven together very well, yet is unpredictable and
Missi Stockwell
May 10, 2014 Missi Stockwell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I was a little concerned regarding the storyline of Life Without Summer where a mother has to deal with the hit and run death of her 4-year old daughter, I was still intrigued. Not only do you see the viewpoint from the grieving mother but you also see the side of the counselor that she enlists to help her with her difficult situation. Along with the counselor's narrative dialect you get pulled into her disfunctional family life. While reading the book you will see the mother become a v ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got very caught up in this book and had hard time putting it down, it was a really good book with tragic storylines and I thought it was written very well. I look forward to other books by this author.
Pamela Houlton
Nov 03, 2013 Pamela Houlton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I realized the book was written with two people telling their stories, everything else fell into place.

Tessa had lost her 4 yr. old child in a hit-and-run accident and Celia was her grief counselor. Tessa is stuck in finding the driver who hit her daughter and Celia is in denial about the loss of her own daughter. It is very interesting how the writer brings them together to heal and how their lives actually affect one another to bring peace to both of them.

It was well written, made me wan
Jun 18, 2015 Stefanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beach-reads, novels
There were a few slow parts in the first half of the book, but it could have been slow to me and not to others.

There are a few mysteries in this book. The main one I had figured out early on (or thought I did. (I was correct.)), but there were other things the author chose to keep from us for some time. We were calmly led to assume/feel one way, then she'd drop in the facts and you'd see that the way you were passively led was a dead end.

It was a solid read for me. I will look for more from this
Apr 15, 2015 April rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most heart-wrenching book I have read in a long time. It touched me to the core. It was extremely well-written. I finished it in two sittings, as I could not put it down.
Feb 20, 2015 Charity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am drawn to and really enjoy books whose characters wind in and out of one another's lives without revealing too early on how they are actually connected. This book deals with some heavy issues (addiction, fatal accidents, childhood illnesses, divorce, blended families, infertility, etc.) and does so in an engaging way without being so heavy that it's hard to wade through.
Maria Grillo-Sallusto
very good but sad story
Aug 15, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 2015-reads, lost
It's really hard to move on after losing a loved one.
May 18, 2014 Tamara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read. While it was a novel it was so poignantly written you would think it was an autobiography. I have never read this author but definitely hope to read more.
One of the best books I've read in a long time! I almost never give a book a 5 star rating...usually 4 is the limit...but this book was fantastic!!!
Debbie Sweeney
May 24, 2016 Debbie Sweeney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars-another excellent book. This is a debut for this author and it was very well written, and the characters came to life.
Sep 22, 2015 DJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an incredible story. I loved every minute of it! Should be a movie. The ending will totally is phenomenal!
Sue (booknbeachbag)
This book was so disturbing to me on so many levels.
Jun 27, 2014 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
what a good book!
Apr 10, 2011 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 11th-advisory
Life Without Summer
By Lynne Griffin
St. Martin's Press
304 Pgs.
ISBN 0312383886

Tessa Gray's life has changed greatly since after the death of her four-year-old daughter, Abby. Without her, nothing seemed to be the same anymore. And due to the car accident Abby had, Tessa never forgot about her responsibility of finding the driver who killed her daughter, and ruined her life. After the loss of Abby, Tessa has been held up in Abby's room, reminiscing all the things that belonged to her daughter. She
May 27, 2009 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The beautiful cover art is what first attracted me to this book. I had no idea that I would become hooked after the very first page. I finished the book in just one day.

First Paragraph….

“There’s a thud as her little body collides with the steel fender. No scream. Just a soft sigh, a surprised breath inhaled as she’s lifted from the ground only to be returned there. I hear it happen. I see it happen. And I wasn’t even there”.

So begins Lynne Griffins amazing book Life Without Summer: A Novel.

Ana Mardoll
Feb 27, 2011 Ana Mardoll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Life Without Summer / 0-312-38388-6

In "Life Without Summer", author Griffin has managed to convey the incredibly painful details of a child's death, a mother's mourning, and a family's quest for answers in a manner that is equal parts sensitive, tender, suspenseful, and gripping. "Life Without Summer" starts with Tessa, a grieving mother who has lost her only daughter in a hit-and-run accident. Tessa is shutting down emotionally, becoming distant from her husband, and is obsessed with finding an
Jun 28, 2016 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-fiction
The first third of this book was uninteresting. The characters were one-dimensional, flat, and mainly unlikable, Celia's new husband being the worst of them and sadly, he does not improve at all in the book. I have some words that I would like to use to describe him but they aren't nice words so I will refrain. He causes so many problems in Celia's relationship with her ex-husband and son. Honestly, I think he could have been left out of the book.

I kept reading because I really wanted to know ho
Oct 28, 2009 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Life Without Summer by Lynne Griffin deals with that most difficult of topics, the death of a child and brought this reader (and mother) through this most intense nightmare intact, though shaken. She begins her novel with this first line, which I read about twenty times before continuing:

There’s a thus as her little body collides with the steel fender. No scream. Just a soft sigh, a surprised breath inhaled as she’s lifted from the ground only to be returned there. I hear it happen. I see it hap
Aug 10, 2010 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
It only took a few sentences for me to wonder if I had made a mistake in selecting this book: a four year old little girl killed in a hit and run accident in front of her preschool. I avoided the book for a couple days...and then I couldn't put it down. While the first chapters are gut wrenching for any mother, the overall theme of the novel proves to be incredibly poignant and moving. There are two sides to EVERY story, even the most heart breaking, tragic ones.

I figured out relatively early on
Oct 13, 2012 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had gotten this one from the library. Having put it aside for others, I realized that I should renew the book before it became overdue. Alas, the book was on hold for someone else so it was not renewable. I began reading as fast as I could and once I began reading, I just couldn't put it down. Getting it back to the library on time was no longer a problem.
The story of two mothers who have both lost a child. One to a hit and run driver, one to cancer. One in need of therapy, one the therapist.
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LYNNE GRIFFIN is an acclaimed novelist and a nationally recognized expert on family life. She is the author of the novels, SEA ESCAPE (Simon & Schuster, 2010) and LIFE WITHOUT SUMMER (St. Martin’s Press, 2009). Her third novel GIRL SENT AWAY (SixOneSeven) will be published in November 2015, along with the companion guide LET'S TALK ABOUT IT: ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH.

Lynne is also the author of
More about Lynne Griffin...

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