Steph Bowe's Reviews > After Summer

After Summer by Nick Earls
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Feb 05, 10


It's incredibly difficult to review a book you absolutely love and convey how brilliant it is in order to convince people to read it without resorting to means such as multiple exclamation marks and caps lock. I will try, guys. I really will.

What I love so much about this book - and, now I think about it, most of Nick Earls' other YA novels, like Monica Bloom and 48 Shades Of Brown, both of which I love, almost as much as I love this book - is that it doesn't resort to big dramatic events such as death to give it emotional substance, like a lot of YA novels do. It just acts as a snapshot into a few weeks in the life of a character one summer, while he's waiting to see if he gets into university. In the meantime, he meets a girl named Fortuna. It isn't a shocking or dramatic premise, or a particularly complicated plot. But what makes it a really brilliant novel are the fantastic characters, and the wonderful, nuanced writing. It's both realistic and hilarious, and every line of dialogue is perfect.

I especially loved the short story that acts as a prologue to After January, Juliet, as well as the other parts throughout the novel that use second person. The relationship between Alex and Fortuna is lovely and wonderfully written, and at no point resorts to cliche. Every character is well-rounded, believable and unique - Alex's mother, the holiday house neighbours... Fortuna's kooky family especially. Alex was a character I really related to - the novel is written from his perspective, and he's a very introspective character. There were certain parts of the novel (I'd include an excerpt here, but I'd end up typing up pages of it) where I thought, 'You're me! But fictional! And living in the 90s!' I don't think all readers will relate to Alex, but I definitely did (and I loved Fortuna, too).

All I can say is: I really recommend you read it. It's funny, awkward, insightful and beautifully written. Every single character is brilliant. It's all kinds of wonderful, and there's no reason you shouldn't pick it up.
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Jody Sparks This is one of my all time favorite books and authors. I love Nick Earls so much and what you said is right on the mark!


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