Lyndsey's Reviews > Invincible Summer

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz
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Family drama.

What is it about family drama that speaks to us all so deeply? I know why it effects me. As an only child, peace and quiet was the norm for my household. I craved the hug of an older sister or the pranks of a younger brother. Craved anything. Any new and exciting family dynamic.

So I wonder - is drama essential in a large family? Is it inevitable? I have recently been privy to some of the drama of my Dad's large yet scattered family. While I yearn to know what it is like to feel the comradery of siblings, I don't wish for the intensity that comes along with the heated arguments.

Does drama just come with the territory? Is it all worth it?

Invincible Summer explores some of these questions. The massive cast is introduced quickly and all at once in the beginning, which leads to a rather difficult time of sorting everyone out. Once you advance in the story, it becomes much easier and you can even determine who's speaking without needing to be told. Every character is unique and well-defined.

The only rather annoying quirk was how often the dialogue involved quotes by the family's favorite author, Albert Camus. Clearly, the author's writing and his quotes are lovely, but I didn't find it quite believable that 15 to 18 year old boys would actually quote anyone that often.

Beautifully and simply told from the perspective of a young man named Chase over the course of several summers. Starting with the age of fifteen up until eighteen, he struggles through the birth of a new baby, the trials of having a deaf brother, and the complexities of girls. He deeply experiences doubts, regrets, and loss. But he also experiences love.

All this tension is heightened by the presense and, even more often, by the absense of his best friend and older brother, Noah. The story doesn't presume to be all that funny or highly suspenseful, but it can entrap you all the same.

The cover of this book is entirely misleading. It is no sunny romp on the beach. There is a love triangle that doesn't feel like a love triangle. There is grit, sand, and sea, but mostly there is sex, anger, and angst. It is emotional in a completely raw and realistic fashion.

This book is about how the love of a family is simple, yet endlessly complicated. The complicated part is figuring out why you love them. The simple part is that you do.


Thanks to Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read this as an ARC!!

Content warning: Heavy language and some sexual content.
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Comments (showing 1-36 of 36) (36 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh boy, this sounds like a good one. Adding it to my list! :)

Morgan F No matter how many times I wish I was an only child, I honestly can't imagine life without my brother.

I really loved this book.

Lyndsey I have always wanted a brother. So much so that I referred to my cat as my brother. Yep, I was that kid. :-)

message 4: by Morgan (last edited Apr 18, 2011 05:47PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Morgan F Most of the time its a pain. My brother is going through his sullen teenager phase. He's all mopey and angry and jack-assy. But still. He's my brother. One of the few people I love unconditionally.

message 5: by Lyndsey (last edited Apr 18, 2011 06:12PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lyndsey Maybe he is part alpaca, instead of full on llama like you. I hear those alpacas can be very rebellious. :-)

Morgan F I wouldn't be surprised. People always say we are nothing alike. Proof!

Lyndsey Oh man, imagine your mom's reaction if you just randomly asked her - "Is my brother half alpaca?"


Morgan F I just asked. She said "Yeah...Why?"

Then I left.

She honestly didn't look surprised.

Lyndsey Ahahhahaaa!! I'm seriously laughing so hard. Can I have your family? Pleeease. The only problem is that I don't think they would fit in an envelope for convenient shipping... :-(

Morgan F We are a tiny family. All together we are like......21 ft tall. I can find a cardboard box.

Lyndsey Woooooo!! *happy dance*

message 12: by Cara (new)

Cara Now I gotta read this! I come from a big family with sibilings and I hardly see that dynamic in young adult literature. It is complicated but I can't imagine not having them. It's like they are your buddies who get to complain about the people who raise you but at the same time you can do some pretty nasty stuff to each other but you are almost always forgiven. Anyways what I really wanted to say was thanks for the review:D Because of the cover I did think it was going to be a beachy read that I wouldn't be able to get into.

Lyndsey Thanks, Cara. They really should change the cover. It doesn't fit the book whatsoever.

message 14: by Morgan (last edited Apr 18, 2011 07:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Morgan F The cover is so infuriatingly off. But honestly, I don't have a better idea....maybe a portrait of Albert Camus? lol

Lyndsey How bout: The title written deep in the sand and filled with water, and a drenched hand clutching toward it...

Morgan F ooooooooooo

They should hire you.

Lyndsey Damn right. :-)

message 18: by Cory (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cory Lyndsey wrote: "How bout: The title written deep in the sand and filled with water, and a drenched hand clutching toward it..."

Now that is a good idea. The current cover sucks. They should really let readers take votes on these things before they come out. Sometimes I think we know more about book covers than book cover designers.

Morgan F I imagine book designers usually only care about making the book marketable, not accurate. Authors don't have much input. It's just the publishing company.

message 20: by Lyndsey (last edited Apr 18, 2011 08:01PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lyndsey I often wonder if the cover designers actually read the books before they create a cover.

Sometimes, it seems like they don't even read the blurb, like with this one. They probably just saw "summer" in the title.

Morgan F I wouldn't doubt it. A majority of YA covers are of some beautiful girl making pouty faces. They look gorgeous, but don't mean much.

Lyndsey It seems like one new cover trend is girls with huge, long, flowing, wavy hair that covers half the page.

message 23: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca "...the trials of having a deaf brother", oh gosh. As a deaf person, this makes me rage. Despite this, I'll probably read it since there aren't enough books with deaf characters :)

message 24: by Morgan (last edited Apr 18, 2011 08:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Morgan F I thought Moskowitz handled the deafness very well in this book. Gideon behaved like just any kid, except that his family sometimes struggled to communicate with him.

Lyndsey I thought it was excellently done as well. It wasn't Gideon who made things difficult - it was his parents. Gid was the most laid back of the bunch. Loved him.

message 26: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Thanks for both of your input! It's always interesting to read about deaf people from a hearing character's point-of-view.

message 27: by Lyndsey (last edited Apr 19, 2011 10:12AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lyndsey I think you should definitely check this out. I'm really interested to see what you think of it.

message 28: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca It's already on my to-read list... along with other 80 books. O_o. It gets out of control so easily, doesn't it?

Lyndsey Hah! My to-read is like 500. Gah, I just realized how completely out of control it is.

Morgan F 600+.......

Lyndsey At least you read more books than I do. I'll be lucky if I hit 100 this year.

Morgan F Wait until I go to college....I'll read like a snail.

message 33: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Oh my...I shouldn't complain about my to-read list, then?

Sarah M What a great review Lyndsey. I think this one looks really good.

message 35: by Chichipio (new)

Chichipio Lyndsey wrote: "So I wonder - is drama essential in a large family? Is it inevitable?"

Well, if my family is anything to go by, then the answer is a resounding "yes!"

When I was younger, we were seven people living under the same roof. It wasn't a house so much as a pressure cooker. Fun times!

Lyndsey Big families are crazy. My dad's family had seven total kids all living in a one bedroom apartment for most of their life. The seem to have their own language sometimes in the way they talk to each other with unique figures of speech, nicknames, and inside jokes. It's extremely interesting to listen to them talk to each other.

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