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Something Like #1

Something Like Summer

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Love, like everything in the universe, cannot be destroyed. But over time it can change.

The hot Texas nights were lonely for Ben before his heart began beating to the rhythm of two words; Tim Wyman. By all appearances, Tim had the perfect body and ideal life, but when a not-so-accidental collision brings them together, Ben discovers that the truth is rarely so simple. If winning Tim’s heart was an impossible quest, keeping it would prove even harder as family, society, and emotion threaten to tear them apart.

Something Like Summer is a love story spanning a decade and beyond as two boys discover what it means to be friends, lovers, and sometimes even enemies.

293 pages, ebook

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

Jay Bell

34 books1,916 followers
Jay Bell is a proud gay man and the award-winning author behind dozens of emotional and yet hopelessly optimistic stories. His best-selling book, Something Like Summer, spawned a series of heart-wrenching novels, a musically driven movie, and a lovingly drawn comic. When not crafting imaginary worlds, he occupies his free time with animals, art, action figures, and—most ardently—his husband Andreas. Jay is always dreaming up new stories about boys in love. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can get the kettle boiling by visiting www.jaybellbooks.com.

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5 stars
4,621 (42%)
4 stars
3,256 (30%)
3 stars
1,880 (17%)
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704 (6%)
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337 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,362 reviews
851 reviews231 followers
February 2, 2013

2.5 Stars.

Here. *hands over GR membership card*

It’s at this point that it’s clear I’M the issue. Everyone LOVED this book. Me? I’m just barely above strongly disliking it.

I’ll try to do this without any major spoilers:

* I didn’t find teenaged Ben or Tim to be that likeable or charming.
* The entire “Part 2” portion was slow and boring.
* I hate love triangles.
* Adult Tim is creepy, overbearing, desperate, borderline pathetic and a stalker.
* Adult Ben is irresponsible, overly emotional, inappropriate, and unfaithful.
* Jace is perfect.
* The writing was ok, but the storyline ALL over the place.
* And, and…I will be annoying and say…I TOTALLY CALLED THAT ENDING…for some reason, I just knew that’s what was going to happen exactly as the last few chapters played out…

The fact that I didn’t shed a tear when so many of my GR friends were, as they put it, a “weeping mess”…well, if ever I questioned being cold & dead inside, this might prove it true…not a tear dropped…but maybe some f-bombs dropped in frustration.

But don’t listen to me…I’m alone on an island…(and PS – I probably WILL read “Something Like Winter”…because I’m curious…and I just like to torture myself…)

Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,831 reviews5,506 followers
February 29, 2020


*1.5 stars*

HOLY CRAP. This book exhausted me in every way.

This isn't going to be a review, review. I'm simply just going to blurt out some thoughts. Some will be spoiler-tagged. *Help me organize my thoughts, Beyoncé*

Tim is an obsessed, narcissistic stalker. All of that stuff he did to Ben and Jace in Ben's college years. *fumes* I see some of my fellow readers loving Tim, but I can't even COUNT the number of times I've bitch-slapped him in my head. His face is all red and ugly looking right now.



Jace is a doormat who is too perfect. That's right, I said it. He is TOO PERFECT. If my man I would do soooo much more than just He treated Ben like a freakin' prince and all he got in return was to be I wanted Jace to ditch them ALL, and run off in to sunset with someone else.



Ben is a , dramatic, brat. I actually hated Ben in his high school years. I kept thinking what a total dick he was to his family and teachers at school, though, granted, most teenagers are dicks. I felt for him a little bit, but I really disliked his "me, me, me" attitude. When Ben was older, I didn't grow to like him more. I sort of tolerated him, but he didn't grow on me. Also, don't forgive him for how he treated Jace. I just don't!



The writing was... good, I guess, but I thought that this book felt like a few different books smushed into one. I get that it was supposed to be an epic love story through the ages, but I just didn't really enjoy the different time periods put together into one book.

I also just HATE love triangles. Like, I really hate them. It stressed me out to read about them, and I don't want to read about . I'm getting The Hell You Say flashbacks over here.



The audiobook narration was... okay. Nothing special, if I'm being honest. It was decent, but sometimes a great narrator can turn a book that I sort of hate into one that I really enjoy (see The Hell You Say and my review for it https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...). The narration was worth the $1.99 that I paid for it, for sure, but it wasn't fabulous.

And while everyone else was sobbing at the ending, I was just MAD how it all went down. Like furious. I was screaming, "DO SOMETHING," at Ben, probably out loud. It felt so pointless. And I just knew that something like that would happen!!



After listening to the audio book for about 10 hours, I'm just TIRED. I need an emotional break.

I'm out, y'all.
Profile Image for Judith.
724 reviews2,586 followers
December 13, 2018




My twirling has gone into overdrive here.I'm on a bit of a roll with all the 5 Stars I'm throwing about but this one definitely deserves it.

I absolutely loved,

-the writing,

-the characters,

-the drama,

-the angst,


Yes,it's not all sunshine and roses....I couldn't read through the tears at one point .....but this book is the reason I love reading,I was swept up it this story and I'm so glad I read it....



The only thing I didn't love was not getting Tim's pov but that's about to be rectified......off to start book two and get inside his head.


Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,394 reviews7,267 followers
February 29, 2016
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Look at that bright and shiny 4.17 Goodreads rating. You know what that means, right?

Palm Springs commercial photography

Usually I’m willing to take the hit and say it was me, but not this time. I picked up Something Like Summer mainly because it was free, but also because the synopsis interested me. I bumped it up on my TBR because the cover was pretty. (I’m more than willing to admit I’m shallow.) Alright, so this was the story of Ben and Tim, the new boy around the block that Ben takes a fancy to. When a not-so-cute meet/cute happens Ben offers to help Tim out, a friendship develops, and eventually even though Tim claims to be 100% hetero, somehow he ends up requesting Ben to . . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

You know what happens next, right????

“Teach me how to fly, my beautiful butterfly.”

And then I may have had a feeling because we’re talking about teenage boys, one of whom was firmly planted in the closet so you know things weren’t going to be totally peachy keen and I thought for sure I was reading a 5 Star book. But then Part I ended and a fastforward occurred that brought us to Part II and everything became nothing but . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

From the cardboard cutout which was Ben’s adult love-interest to the new and way unimproved Tim to the awful love triangle that left me wanting to punch everyone in the gonads to the ending that was JUST. SO. CONTRIVED. The air was quickly let out of my 5 Star balloon.
Author 18 books127 followers
March 9, 2012
Meh~

Just meh~ This book is basically two books sold as one. Part 1 on its own would have gotten 3 stars from me. It was okay, kind of uninspiring YA, but it steered away from all the melodrama I was expecting. That counts for something.

I'm a strong believer in judging YA-themed stories by the adult characters. Our cast in Something Like Summer includes many of the usual cliches: Rich Neglectful Parents, Abusive Controlling Tyrants, People So Liberal in Child Rearing It Borders on Criminal (otherwise known as the 'cool parents' who seem okay with treating their kids like inconvenient social equals after a pretentious lecture from a self-righteous teenager) ... all we're missing is the Hip Teacher dishing out sagely life advice.

In fairness, there are some attempts to move beyond these stereotypes and make the archetypes richer and more complex ... but not much. Ultimately this is a m/m love story.

And about that love story. It grew on me. Tim is kind of an ass, but you see enough of his good side to tolerate it. Ben, is kind of pathetic ... but pathetic in the way teenagers in love typically are.

So again, not over the moon, but there was enough sweetness to help me enjoy the trials and tribulations of Tim/Ben

Then Part 2 came.

Part 2 was a train wreck, an absolute train wreck in which all the likable characters from the first part might as well have been eaten by zombies. The characters we were supposed to rally around were bland and undeveloped. There was nary a rational thought in sight.

Take for example Ben's best friend Allison. Part 2 starts with a three year jump. Everyone has gone away to college, Ben has moved across the country. He returns home and a distraught Allison begs him to transfer to her college for moral support. Apparently in three years, vivacious outgoing Allison has made no friends??? None at all? She needs to force her former bestie to uproot his entire life midsemester because in three years she hasn't grown close to anyone else?

This seems inconsistant with the Allison we met in the beginning. A character who reached beyond the girl-wingman/cheap-therapist/author-avatar cliche we see so often in these books. She had her own life, her own issues, her own love interests in Part 1. In Part 2 her whole purpose is to direct the course of Ben's love life. Make sure he stays on the path to true luv.

Bullshit.

Tim meanwhile has gone from being a sweet, good natured guy whose sexual confusion causes him to act like an asshole from time to time ... to a desperate manipulative cock slut. *sigh* I'm so tired of controlling and abusive behavior being sold to people as a man showing the "vulnerability" and the intensity of his love. Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit.

I don't even understand the point of Part 2. It seems to be devoted to giving Ben another love interest, but the author never really invests anything in Jace as a character. What color is his hair? His eyes? What (besides fortune cookies) are his interests? If it was there I certainly can't remember it. Jace is completely one-dimensional, bland in every conceivable way: he's always good, always faithful, always loves unconditional. We spend a lot of time with Ben/Jace but it ends up feeling like a romance en summary. There's no real emotion in their courtship because the author never wants you to want to see them together.

Profile Image for Dan.
440 reviews20 followers
December 16, 2022
I found this book impossible to put down. It wrecked me and put me back together.

There is a great vibe right off the bat. Ben begins as super likable and relatable.

I think pretty much any gay guy can connect with the high school material. Jay Bell writes about the subject in such a vivid and positive way. Most other authors just remind me of how cringe high school was; this story shows us how it could be.

Ben’s relationship with Tim is so well-written. The butterfly quote, the painting, and the necklace were all amazing presents! I also love Allison. And Ms. Hughes.

Jace is so obviously not right for Ben that I confess I struggled with the chapters involving him. He’s a one-note doormat who likes cats and flying. The entire Jace plot line feels like the writer wants to punish Tim for his past “sins,” real or imagined.

Ben is very self-righteous. He believes he has a monopoly on the moral high ground. Ben really could have been more understanding with Tim. He acts like Tim is an awful person—but Ben drops everything, every time, to have a chance with Tim.

It’s such a relief when Tim comes back into the picture.

I have a lot of issues with the lack of sex in this novel. The only way I can reconcile that is perhaps the author was attempting to reach a broader audience? It was 2010, after all. But de-emphasizing the sexual aspect of gay relationships is noxious. I understand it when they are teenagers…but realistically, we are like rabbits.

I also wish there was more time with Ben and Tim as adults.

But Ben and Tim are soulmates. They belong together. Flaws notwithstanding, this is a spectacular read.
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,039 reviews588 followers
September 4, 2020
5 Stars

Teach me how to fly,
my beautiful butterfly.


And that’s what Ben did. He taught Tim how to fly but so much happened in between. Some good, some bad, some painful, some confusing, some frustrating, some bitter, some sweet, and some just awesome… I’m sure most of you guys probably hated Tim for what he did or at some point did not but I loved him as much as Tim and Jace. I couldn’t just stop loving him. I loved Jace too, I couldn’t choose between them so I think the way the author managed to finish the story was the best way (to me) and still I didn’t like it. I don’t like this kind of bittersweet endings that leave me feeling raw. And yet again I couldn’t think of any other ending. This story contains cheating and I didn’t mind, like at all!

Told in single POV, 3rd person, it’s the first installment in the "Something Like" series and it can be read as a standalone. I checked other books in the series, book 2 is Jace’s story (I will skip it, because, well as I know what happened to him I don’t think my heart could bear it for the second time), and book 3 is Tim’s story. So book 3, it is! My first read by this author and loved it, hope you enjoy it as well!

Something Like Summer is a love story spanning a decade and beyond as two boys discover what it means to be friends, lovers, and sometimes even enemies.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Breann.
587 reviews112 followers
February 22, 2015
***Audio edition re-read***

Just as good as the first time.

Ben and his two great loves. Neither is better than the other and neither is stronger than the other. Just different. Different, but equally perfect and fitting for Ben.

__________________________________________

This is a review for both Something Like Summer and Something Like Winter since I don't see a way to talk about one without the other.

“Why couldn't people's insides match their outsides? The world would be such a wonderful place if the nicer someone was, the more beautiful they became.”

I really don’t know where to begin with this review. Both books have left me with such high emotions that I’m still sitting here quite speechless. I can tell you this, when I started I was expecting a cute little coming of age tale. Ha! Yeah right. What I got was beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderfully written story that left me a blubbering mess. One that is on my mind and will continue to be on my mind for days.

In the beginning of both books we meet Ben, an out and proud teenager, and Tim, a boy who is still trying to figure himself out and how he fits in the world. When they meet they start up a secret relationship because Tim, having to worry about his social status, can’t very much be seen with the local gay kid. Yeah, whatever Tim. The boys become closer and their relationship turns into a sexual one which then leads Ben to wanting exclusivity with Tim. Tim is still young and still scared. Scared of his own feelings, of his parents’ feelings, hell, he’s basically scared of the world. So he ran.

In Something Like Summer we have the story told through Ben’s POV. Ben had just been left by his first love and is in pieces. Pieces. With me right along with him. He is forced to move on and move on he does. He has a few boyfriends but he eventually finds love again with the ever-perfect, Jace. I loved Ben & Jace’s story. Even though Ben never stopped loving Tim and he is still a very real presence in Ben’s life, Ben & Jace’s relationship felt just as real and was wonderful to witness. Jace was everything Ben needed and deserved after his massive heartbreak. Jace was understanding, forgiving, loving and just completely there for him. Like I said, perfect.

In Something Like Winter the same story is told through Tim’s POV, but it didn’t feel as though I read the same story twice. They first 20% or so was Tim & Ben’s relationship they had in high school and it was interesting to read what happened in Tim’s eyes. Let’s face it, it was going to take a lot to redeem some of Tim’s actions. Yes, Tim was redeemed but no, his actions were not excused. Not only did Tim break Ben’s heart but he tore his own into pieces by running. Right along with my heart. After he realizes his mistake, it’s too late. Ben has found someone he loves and deserves, Jace. Tim thought his life was over after Ben and struggles to get it back. He floats through life; he finds some successful relationships and some very damaging relationships along the way. His story was the most heartbreaking for me, he was so broken and so lost. Nobody to really love him except his best friend, Eric, but I really can’t go there right now. Still too many emotions running wild! But, eventually, he was able to put the pieces of his life back together. Not for Ben but because of Ben and the love they still had.

Throughout the 10 year or so span of these books Ben & Tim touch each others lives, coming in and out for brief moments but they were never able to find the right moment to be together. Well, in the end they finally found their moment. And it was beautiful.

Oh my, this was so emotionally intense I cried like a little baby in both SLS and SLW. I don’t think I’ve cried like that while reading since Dobby died. You know what I mean. Yeah, that kind of cry. I was happy, sad, devastated, heartbroken, hopeful, just every emotion hit me, BAM! over and over again. Next up is Something Like Autumn where we get to read Jace’s story. It’s ready to go on the Kindle but I still need some time to mend my heart before picking this story back up.
Profile Image for June Helmsley.
38 reviews81 followers
March 12, 2012
Holy Fucking Shit!

That's what this book should be retitled, or maybe that can be the subtitle. I don't know, I'll get back to you on that. Either way, it needs a lot of exclamation points because Holy FuckSandwich does this book kick so much ass.

When reading fiction, it bothers me when I don't care about the characters, or even worse, a goddamn contrived love triangle that bores me when it should interest me. Not here! I was so emotionally invested in these characters that I lost my shit when bad things happened to them. Seriously, I cried. Twice. And I never cry. When I told my roommate Amy Kennedy about that, she started accusing me of being human and having feelings and shit but after SHE read this book she was all kinds of touched by it too. So who's the human now, bitch?!!?

Here's a gist: Ben is obsessed with Tim. Tim and Ben start a careful romance, but Tim's not out yet and he's kind of a jerk but you feel for him so it's sort of okay. The years go on and they go their seperate ways, and Ben meets up with this awesome guy named Jace and everything seems okay but then Holy Fuckdoodles Tim is back! Normally I despise love triangles but in this it feels so real!

It kinda reminded me of the Luke and Noah and Reid thing on As the World Turns, which I never would have fucking watched but then I caught clips on YouTube and got addicted and stayed up one whole weekend watching it. I lost my shit with those guys and thanks to SLS I lost it again!

What's nice about this book is that everything that happens to these characters feels believable, and you can empathize with them and the decisions they make. Also, no vampires, and these days, that's a plus.

I know I'm rambling, but I think Amy mixed up my pills or put an extra shot of B12 in my smoothie this morning because I'm screaming at the screen as I type this! READ! THIS! FUCKING! BOOK!

Profile Image for JAN.
1,095 reviews734 followers
December 19, 2018
*** 3.5 Stars ***

**Not a review.

Apologies, but I need to vent:

Almost nine days in a funky, peeps. 😖🤯☹️



Shall I blame Claustrophilia for my longest book slump ever??
Oh, well...
I'm officially out of it.
Here's to an evil, neglectful, thoughtless and cruel mojo, who decided to show its face after so long.

I'm glad to be back!

Profile Image for * N aka.
205 reviews13 followers
January 3, 2016
This started out hands-down a 5-star read, but I am so angry about what happened at 95% that I have to rate this 2 stars. Actually, the anger set in earlier, I was just hoping things would turn out differently.

I feel so emotionally manipulated. And not in a satisfying way!

*grumbles and checks Kindle for damage*
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews389 followers
March 18, 2016
This... THIS is why I'd never want to relive my teenage years.

All that doubt, wondering, alienation---Ugh. Ben is a great narrator. At times, you want to cringe and others cheer, but like life, it has its ups and downs. To know something about yourself at a young age that makes you significantly different is an experience that isolates. Growth is different, changed and lonely.

Ben's early teen years came with a harsh lesson. Not all epiphanies lead to happiness. But like a good sword, it gets stronger with each fold and hammer blow. Ben doesn't falter. His resilience is admirable and he's so far ahead of others in his personal growth that he has no confidant to share his hopes, dreams and desires--except for his best friend, Allison.

Allison is the consummate friend who will support you, cheer you, and tell you when you're an idiot or fuck off when you've screwed up, but in the end they're there. I liked that there was a good give and take to their friendship and not everything had an easy solution. And let's face it, they have serious disagreements about Tim.

Tim. We all had one of these at some point, the elusive, unreachable, ungettable get. Ben is goofy and awkward and squeezes his way into Tim's life--as barren as it is. Ben is the best thing that's ever happened to Tim and he can't accept it. Heart ripped out #1.

Sucks, but first loves are like that. Reboot. What happens then is Ben's journey to find love. Real love. The kind that is proud, never hides, and surrounds you like a blanket--Jace. Talk about wonderful. Fucking love Jace so hard, and so does Ben. But, the past doesn't always stay in the past...

Heart ripped out #2--bad choice

Heart ripped out #3--I don't want to talk about it. Took me three days to even think about writing this review because of it. Maybe I'm a masochist, but I liked this story. I liked that there was a slightly non traditional trajectory with some realism. At the end, part of me felt like we got to eat our cake and have it, too. It's just a bittersweet cake.

Overall, an emotional journey that slaps you around

Favorite quote:
"‘ Teach me how to fly, my beautiful butterfly.’” He reached out and ruffled Ben’s hair, his version of a parting kiss."
Profile Image for Rashi Malik .
191 reviews97 followers
March 6, 2021
I'm such an emotional mess right now. I'm not sure as to what to say. This is one of the best books I've ever read.


Something Like Summer deserves far more than these 5 stars that I have for offering.

Falling in love is a subtle process, a connection sparked by attraction, tested by compatibility, and forged by memory.


Tim didn't deserve Ben.
Ben didn't deserve Jace.
Jace deserved the best of the best. But he fell in love with Ben and Ben loved him back.

All the relationships felt natural. Nothing else would have felt so ethereal and real.


There was heartbreak, but there was also love. And isn't love what matters the most? Doesn't heartbreak always follow love?
Tim was a jerk, but he realised it and he tried to become a better person and eventually he did.
Jace is the best boyfriend anyone could wish for. He loved Ben so much and Ben loved him so much. A couple as beautiful, real and loving as Jace and Ben has never existed and I am devastated at what happened. I love them.

This wasn't a fairy tale, it didn't have a happy ending yet it was one of the best endings I've ever read.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for .Lili. .
1,155 reviews260 followers
July 26, 2016
Well this was me last night

And to be honest I never quite recovered from that. This is kind of a hard book to rate. For a majority of the story this was a 5 star read. I loved how the author handled the coming of age part of the story. It was cute, full of angst, yet also innocent. Loved that the author wasn't afraid to add sex to that part of the book. I know adding sex to a YA book is kind of a touchy thing and if not handled properly can be on the icky side- but you know what: teenagers have sex, it's a part of growing up. I loved how Jay Bell gave us enough to make the story realistic without going too far. Up to this point 5 stars all the way- even if I did struggle with Tim's treatment of Ben. I did understand where his behavior came from.

Then we get to the next part, characters are older-I was really excited. Unfortunately, this is where the story started to decline...
This was me during several instances in the story after this point:


I just hated some of the events that took place- especially the last 15%. The end was really rushed, it almost felt like an after thought.
I wasn't happy. I would have preferred .

Rating breakdown:
Writing=5 stars
Story= 3 stars
My overall feeling: 2.5 stars
= 3.5 rounded up to 4. I want to give it only 3 but feel it is unfair to do so because the writing was good- I became very emotionally invested in the story, just wished for a different outcome at the end.
Profile Image for Camille.
1,587 reviews53 followers
February 2, 2013
Oh my god! Okay *exhale*
Full gamut of emotions. Haven't cried over a book in a while...now I need something funny to read...

(A couple days later): After being unable to write more than the above for a review, being so overwhelmed, I've decided to make my reply my review :-)

"I wasn't expecting anything like this. From the description, the cover and the beginning I thought that this was just going to be a light YA read. Not at all. It was really compelling in the that it examines idealism of the past and the the resultant impact upon one's present when one can't let go, ideas of alienation and self-acceptance, of dependence and self-love, of maturity, evolution, compatibility and why, of inexorable attraction and its effects, of fear and freedom, and seeming fate. It was such a powerful read for me hereby.

The last third of the book has a swifter pace than that which precedes it and some reviews I've read said that people found it to be rushed....I can see how. But I find it to be strong all in all."

I would definitely read work by this author again...after a suitable interval though, with some light stuff in between. Bell fulfills his intent illustrated in his bio really well. He communicates feelings of alienation and love that surrounds decisions deftly. This book deserves its accolades.


Profile Image for Xia Lake.
Author 5 books168 followers
July 1, 2018
F*ck this book to the moon and back for breaking my heart during my summer vacation.
If I took a sip of alcohol everytime my heart twisted in pain for Ben, I'd be in a coma.
F*ck the angst. F*ck the raw emotions, f*ck how real everything felt...f*ck the heartbreak. F*ck that Nicholas Sparks moment.
F*ck this book because 5 stars are too few to rate it.
This is the best YA, NA, coming of age story I've read in some time. I'm sobbing like an idiot as I write this "review" on my phone on this stupid goodreads app. I'll get home in two weeks and write a proper review then at my computer.
There are 2 more books in the series and I don't think my liver can take 2 more books.
Of course I bought those too. F*ck my liver.
Profile Image for Natalie.
388 reviews
March 4, 2013
I really struggled with how to rate this. When I give a two-star rating, it's usually because the writing was mediocre or the plot bored me. Not so with this story. I was into it. I inhaled it in anxious gulps, desperate to get to the end. I read the spoilers beforehand. I knew what was going to happen. But I HATED how it unfolded. It was the author's job to make me love Tim, and he failed.

I'm going to start the second book right now, because apparently I'm a glutton for punishment, but mostly because I want to see if it changes my opinion of Tim.
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 72 books2,484 followers
July 17, 2012
This is a book about a first love that lingers. Ben's evolution as a gay man begins with a teenage crush on Tim, and like imprinting, Tim becomes fixed in Ben's core as the embodiment of the man he loves. Throughout their early days of hiding, of unequal partnering, rejection, and through all the years to follow, Tim remains somehow an essential part of Ben.

In the years they are apart, Ben meets a guy who is better for him in every way. Open, loving, out and responsible, Jace is a wonderful character and worthy of Ben's love. So part of the stress in this novel, painful but true-to-life, is the way that Tim still dominates Ben's idea of love. By simply showing up, Tim can rock the solid relationship between Ben and Jace, and when he resorts to an all-out assault to get Tim back, he comes close to breaking it. How often have we seen this, though, where the loving partner cannot quite match the spark of the one who came before him? It hurts, but that doesn't mean it's not real.

The ending of this book might have felt like a triumph of true love, if Tim were a more sympathetic character. I think it's mainly one episode in the middle, that forever lingers in my mind like a faint trace of smoke on the air, a reminder that this character, however much he has moved forward over the years, isn't as trustworthy as one would want for Ben.

Well written and involving, with complex characters and interesting plot, this book is well worth a read as long as you don't go in expecting the sweet simple sense of resolution that a romance often brings.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,402 reviews8,129 followers
June 19, 2014
disappointment: noun 1) the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations. 2) the emotion experienced when you don't like a book that almost all of Goodreads appears to love: "Thomas's read of Something Like Summer was a disappointment"

So many things went wrong with this simple story of two high school boys who fall in love after an unfortunate collision. Ben Bentley, our protagonist, notices an attractive newcomer in his neighborhood right before the school year starts. Tim Wyman, the object of Ben's affection, has a girlfriend: but that and much more changes when Ben and Tim's connection deepens and grows stronger.

I still cannot comprehend the plot of this book. The story spans several decades, and yet I still feel as if nothing of real importance happened - Jay Bell jumps around from one event to another without developing the significance of any scene or storyline. At one point Ben trashes his high school journalism room because the editor of the newspaper removed the gay portion of his poem: Bell resolves that conflict in a couple of pages without Ben really learning anything at all. We never see Tim come to terms with his sexuality because whenever his character grows, Bell hides it behind a convenient time lapse or a "tell, don't show" moment. The entire second part of the book with Ben and Jace had no connection to any other section of the story, and it felt like Bell took the easy way out by including it.

The secondary characters in this book saddened me because they fell so flat. Why does Allison, Ben's best friend, have a life that only revolves around Ben and struggles that are so easily solved whenever Ben shows up? Why is Jace perfect in every way possible? Near the end of the book, Ben thinks to himself that "there was so much more to Tim beneath the surface that others didn't see." Instead of telling us that, I wish Bell showed us Tim's depth instead of having him act like a scary stalker for a solid third of the book. Tim's behavior, while unrealistic and unexplained, also made me think about Bell's disconcerting portrayal of a healthy relationship - because Tim's obsession did cross into a creepy place several times.

I wanted so much more from Ben. His entire character revolved around his romantic relationships with other guys. I wished to see his passions, his hobbies, and his personality expand as the book progressed. Instead, I felt that his perspective stayed the same throughout the entire novel, while only his relationships with those around him changed. If someone asked me to describe Ben's character, I would be unsure of what to say, because I can only think of bland generalities that could apply to almost anyone.

Overall, Something Like Summer required little effort to read, but a lot of dedication to finish. It might make a good beach read for those who want a YA with decent writing and gay characters, though I would not recommend it due to its lack of substance. Still, I find myself in the minority with my opinion, and I am glad that others on Goodreads have enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Maddie.
20 reviews
March 1, 2012
This easily could have been a 4/5 book. However, three things absolutely ruined it for me: 1) the sudden death of Jace, which seemed entirely too coincidental; it should have been foreshadowed at least a little bit; 2) Tim's douchebaggery increased exponentially as he got older; it was kind of understandable during the first part of the book (easily the best part), but convincing your ex that his current significant other cheated on him, just to get into his pants afterwards is NOT OKAY; and 3) Ben, too, grew more and more unlikeable; at first, he was just a cute little nerd, but then he became more and more annoying as the story continued. The random subplots about Allison's father was incredibly out of nowhere, as if they were tacked on at the last minute to add even more drama. Due to all of that, I think it would've been a much better book if it had just ended at the end of the high school portion, after Ben and Tim broke up.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Trio.
2,901 reviews171 followers
June 10, 2019
Oh wow, and to think a craving for Kevin R. Free resulted in all that angst!

I can see why so many reviews are accompanied by spoiler tags (and thank goodness I didn't read any of them). So read the blurb and avoid the reviews - just decide for yourself if you like this one.

Personally, I really enjoyed this book, and the 5 stars I'm giving are well deserved, even if I spent a bunch of time yelling at Ben, "No! Don't do it!". I'm surprised by how many lengthy 1,2,&3 star reviews I read where folks just didn't like the behaviour of the characters, or the way the plot went... regardless of whether or not we like a book, if it brings out such strong emotions in us maybe it deserves a higher rating. Well, just a thought.

Anyway - really beautifully written & I'm so glad I finally got around to listening to Something Like Summer. Kevin R. Free's performance is brilliant, he's a treasure and I truly wish he'd narrate more. As soon as I've recovered emotionally from this one, I'll look into more written by Jay Bell.
Profile Image for Sara .
1,404 reviews155 followers
October 15, 2013
I know I say it often, "How do I review this book?" but honestly, how do I? I picked up Something like Summer (twice actually not realizing my blunder) because I was drawn to the bright orange of the cover with that bit of blue that caught my eye every time. One Sunday, when I was stuck in bed I wanted a book to bring my spirits up so I started this. What happened was me being sucked into a book that I did not stop reading until I was done.

Ben, what a strong character at such a young age. I wish that my children could have the sense of self that he does. I felt his "not stalkerish" crush on the new boy with the blue running shoes. I wanted him to be noticed, I wanted the new boy to SEE Ben and fall head over blue shoes for him instantly and I wanted this to be a story that would knock me on my butt. Did it ever!

I love that this book spans a decade. There is beauty to a slow burn in romance that does it for me. Sure, insta love is also fantastic but this story wouldn't work that way. Ben and Tim, Tim and Ben. Good Lord. Let's just say I loved being in Ben's head and when he asks Tim to say something to him in Spanish I thought my heart would explode. I looked up the translation before Tim explains it and I melted. It was beyond beautiful and heart wrenching and stunning and, Le Sigh.

There are at least a dozen or thirty moments that were like that for me. Tear my heart out why don't ya Jay Bell?!

Now, I was not prepared for the road this story took but I love where it went. Seeing Ben grow and change and fight the instincts of a love sick teenager were gorgeous. Jay Bell certainly knows how to weave a story that sucks the reader and and it he did that with me.

Let me just say that Tim was fantastic. I never once thought he was selfish, absent or mean when it came to Ben. When I found out that he was getting his own book I immediately went and one clicked that bad boy. I had to know what was going on in his head during this time. All this time. Ugh.

Something Like Summer a roller coaster of a read with an intense climb into adoration followed by a swift down fall into love...for me that is. I just loved this story, so much.
Profile Image for Marc | Rainbow Gold Reviews.
481 reviews50 followers
June 17, 2013
I loved this book ;) It reminded me of the YA series "Infernal Devices" in that it shows that there is not always only one person we could love, but that a lot depends on the right timing. A person can find happiness in different ways, but there is a right time and place for everything and every action has consequences. Life doesn't stop, it just continues around us and our choices shape the way our life continues, even if we would like it to go into another way. There are mistakes and regrets, but if we spend all our energy trying to re-capture a moment that is already gone, refusing to move on, we might get stuck without energy to admire the beauty of what may still lie ahead of us. While it may be understandable to wish we could edit our mistakes, we have to accept even the moments in life we feel went wrong and follow where our actions lead us.

There are so many different ways this novel could have played out with different timing, different decisions (for example whether or not to forgive indiscretions, whether or not to admit truth, whether to let fear or love rule us, whether to use our heads or little heads). It felt like a real story with very interesting characters as they navigate their lives :) I can recommend it without reservations :)
Profile Image for Vicki.
359 reviews91 followers
January 17, 2015
This book was just brilliant and I loved every moment of it. My emotions took such a hit, one minute I was laughing, then crying...sigh.
Profile Image for Wade.
Author 15 books385 followers
April 4, 2016
I read this in 2012, and the review below is for the ebook I read.
In 2016 I listened to the audio and then decided to re rate it to 5 stars. I think because this book made me yell at the characters for their choices. When I'm so emotional invested that I'm yelling at the characters, for me that's should be 5 stars.

I think the difference is in audio. I LISTEN closer to the story when I'm listening than reading. When I read-only I read slow, and sometimes I skip things. I'm not a very good reader, but as a listener I pay close attention to every word. This is a great book. I own it in every format and I WILL buy the movie. Highly recommended. Note i need to listen to the other Something Like stories because I really am an audio girl!!


From 2012: I am really excited for Jay. It is like "living the dream" for all those authors out there! Self-pub, to best of 2011, to "going to be a movie". Jay is an inspiration to perseverance and true talent. I look forward to reading his work. :)

4.5 stars
This was really hard to rate. On the one hand I wanted to give it 5 stars because I really loved "part one". Ben and Tim's relationship was fun and believable and I think very well written. Then"part two"... I ended up liking Ben and Jace. I think they were good together and the relationship worked. Then mix the two. I was frustrated and angry and wanted to give the book 4 stars because of Ben's stupidity. But men are stupid sometimes. The men in my books do stupid things too. Can I hold that against Jay for writing truth as he sees it? No. Sometimes characters do stupid things. It happens. Even id I didn't like it. I think Ben made some poor choices and I felt bad for Jace. I think he deserved better at times. Then the inevitable happened... (of course we know something has to because the book is about Ben and TIM!) I didn't like this either. I felt it coming, so as far as predictability that is where the .5 stars went. We all know I like to be surprised.

Over all, this was a great book. Actually a terrific example of how to write details. Jay was terrific at details. Plus, for having loads of sex it was all tasteful and was a good example of how to write sex without explicit detail. You don't need it! Jay did a perfect job there.

I was expecting more emotion from myself, though. I hardly got years in my eyes at all. I did laugh, but maybe I was going on the hype built up around this one that I felt I missed something when I didn't roll on the floor and I didn't cry my eyes out. Hmmmm. Something to consider. I will re read, but more to learn how to write better. (for myself) Jay writes well.

Thank you Jay for writing it. I look forward to the movie! And to reading more of your stuff.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.4k followers
July 6, 2017
I have a love/hate relationship with this book and I'm still not sure how to rate it honestly. This book has three different "parts" and each part has a major time jump and feels very different from the previous parts. The first part was actually pretty good in my opinion, and I was enjoying the story a lot. The second part slowed down the pace a lot, and I started getting extremely irritated with certain characters, and by the third part I was screaming and cursing and basically just fucking pissed.

This story follows a young boy named Ben who falls head over heels in love with this boy named Tim. It's very insta-love and it takes place in the late 90's in Texas. I thought reading about Ben and Tim as teenagers was so cute, even though at times I don't think Tim treated Ben all that fairly, but I looked past it in the first part of this book. I thought their romance was sweet and innocent, and I enjoyed it a lot.

However, in part two I lost all my respect for I mostly hate love triangles, and I wasn't a huge fan of this one either. I love Jace though, he's so perfect in every way possible and so supportive and sweet and amazing and honestly deserve better. By the end of the book, I was so fucking pissed when Another thing that irritated me was the writing, the way it would gloss over some things I would've like more detail about (like scenes involving drama or sex) and then the scenes I didn't care that much about would have so much more detail.

Overall, this book is hard to rate because I really enjoyed the first half of it but by the end I really hated some characters and the story. This is definitely a story that will be on my mind for some time though, whether I like it or not.
Profile Image for wesley.
223 reviews234 followers
November 2, 2014
This is the first M/M YA book that I’ve read and I cannot be grateful enough that I did read it because it has helped me come to terms with my sexuality. Being born in a country where both the state and the church have forged ideals of what should be the norm, being gay included, has forced people like me to hide deep in the closet. But after reading this early this year, the entire Something Like Series in fact, and hundreds of M/M books after that, I can at least say that I am now honest with myself. I am gay and it will not change.

It’s kind of funny how a series focused on ordinary lives of fictional people can have such a huge impact on your own. Somehow I can’t help but be envious of Ben for having to live an honest life despite the pain and sorrow that went along with it. I can’t help but wonder if there are real people out there like Ben and Tim who are living the life that they’ve wanted… no, needed. And that is what this series is all about to me. It’s HOPE. It’s hope that there’s someone out there perfect and waiting for me. It’s hope that although not everyone can be happy with who you are, at least the people that actually mattered support and love you all the way. It’s hope that despite the pain and hardships that are sure to come in trying to live a life of honestly, somehow it will all be worth it in the end.

And although having to cling to this hope can be dangerous, I cannot let it go. Because having a window a little open to let the tiniest bit of air in is better than suffocating for keeping it closed. I aspire for a life like Ben’s because I know that a happy ending is possible.
Profile Image for Alvin.
388 reviews102 followers
May 2, 2017
SLIGHTLY PREDICTABLE BUT A WELL-WRITTEN ROMANCE BOOK.

BUDDY READ with John and Lili:
Lili's review

I had a hard time rating this and also might have a hard time reviewing it. I wanna say a lot of things!!! But I will cover those that's on the top of my mind.

Ben

PART 1:
I loved this part! If the book was just this, I can give a 4-5 star rating! I loved both Ben and Tim here. It was honest and even though what they had
I love the story in this part and I thought it was really well written until I got to...

PART 2:
This part didn't really made sense to me. It got me happy at the beginning and then frustrated, annoyed, and irritated going through it and towards the end of it.
I loved Jace. But I knew
When , it was a mess. A lot of things happened to all of them (that I won't spoil) that I found aggravating, exasperating, and maddening! (Thank you Thesaurus for the words!) I usually handle well in what I read. But in this one, GAH!!! Ben is so weak!
BUT...I knew this happens in real life. I understand.
When we're in love, we use our hearts. We forget to use our brains. And that's what happened here.
Did I like it? Unfortunately not.
It was like a wonderful story downgraded to an annoying early adult television series.
Not my favorite part at all.

Tim

PART 3:
This was the final stretch of the story and I'm not really mad or ecstatic on the happenings in this one. I was relieved that its better than Part 2.
I just knew that He did. And the way it happen just makes me sad.
But that's life, shit happens.

Jace

Thankfully it ended well. But somehow, all the plot twists didn't made sense (a little) and somewhat necessary that it destroyed my fondness in the book. (Which I had during the beginning.)

One more, I was keep comparing this to Broken Pieces. It had a similar plot but resolved differently.

I have to say, I'm quite a sucker to stories that dragged for long time. This was one of them. So even with all I felt about I this, I won't forget the story for a while. The MCs had a great love story told here.

Will I recommend this? Maybe. But be prepared for a ride that you may love or hate.
Will I read the next ones? I think so.
Is this a good read? Yes it was. I just didn't like it well enough.

I'll just hope you'll enjoy this if you guys decide to read it. Enjoy! :D
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,337 reviews135 followers
November 18, 2017
First love. Maddening love. Everlasting love.

This is a story of first love. High school ignites sparks between Ben and Tim. Ben wanted Tim, stalked him and craved him like no other. Tim shocked Ben with returning the desire. Tim was ashamed of his feelings for Ben, he hid them and asked Ben to keep their relationship under lock and key. Ben was willing to do anything for Tim, his love for Tim burned brightly, so he complied. It didn’t take long and Tim broke under the strain of his secrets. He was cowardly and weak and he deserted Ben, ran from him and the love he couldn’t handle.
(ok, it’s no secret, I am not a fan of our friend Tim)

Time passes and Ben moves on, but the smoldering passion and love Ben has for Tim never burns out.

Ben.
I found him completely maddening. He had potential, great potential. I saw it simmering underneath. However, I found myself frustrated, annoyed and irritated more than not. Surrounded by an amazing family and his incredible best friend, he had a rock solid support system. He never hid who he was, and always took responsibility for his actions, regardless of the repressions. Yet, he had no control of his emotions. He was a ‘fly-by-seat-of-my-pants’ act now, think later kind of guy. All logic went out the window with Ben, and it angered me when it affected Jace.

Tim
Tim, Tim Tim. *sigh* Essentially Jo Dee Messina sums up my feelings about Tim.
“My give-a-damn’s busted”. Tim was a spoiled brat. A rich kid who’s’ parents bought his love. I am sorry for this, truly I am. He suffered a cold sterile childhood. BUT, it gives him no excuse to take, take, and take some more. Tim is a selfish, spineless jerk. Why Ben can’t live without him is beyond me?

Jace.
Jace made this story bearable for me. He had me at hello. He was honest, loving, forgiving (oh my was he ever forgiving) and simply perfect. Frankly, I don’t believe Ben deserved his unconditional love. It was NOT equally returned in my opinion.

I felt as if it was a story of who loves who more...
Ben loves Tim more.
Jace loves Ben more.
Tim, well Tim loves Tim more.
(sorry, I told you, not a Tim fan)

Overall, I found it challenging to enjoy. Part one dragged a bit and then part two and three flew by. I know it was critical to set up the importance of their teen romance; it just was not evenly weighed with their adult lives. The tragedy at the end broke my heart. Unfortunately, not enough of my heart was vested in the story for it to do more than anger me.

*3 eye-rolling-teeth-clenching-come-on-really? stars*
Profile Image for L-D.
1,478 reviews64 followers
March 14, 2012
This book was exquisite. Tim and Ben are teenagers at the same school and they begin a secret relationship. This book charts 12 years in the life of Ben with all of the highs and lows. Quite honestly, this book was an emotional roller coaster that left me completely wrung out at the end. Some readers have liked the ending, some do not. To me, the ending is not important, it was the journey and the strength and spectrum of the emotions that it invoked in me. I really loved this book.

Below is a thread discussing this book from the M/M group with comments from the author. In this thread I have a post with more of my review - Contains SPOILERS.
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/6...

***YAY! Jay is writing a sequel!!!
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