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The Summer We Came to Life

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  616 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Every summer, Samantha Wheland joins her childhood friends Isabel, Kendra and Mina on a vacation, somewhere exotic and fabulous. Together with their mixed bag of parents, they've created a lifetime of memories. This year it's a beach house in Honduras. But for the first time, their clan is not complete. Mina lost her battle against cancer six months ago, and the friends sh ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Mira (first published January 1st 2011)
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Harlequin Books
My personal opinion: This book was so much more than what the cover says, "Four friends. Two worlds, One second chance." Yes, there are four friends but you'll greedily read about their parents and what shaped their lives. Yes, there are two worlds but is that all? Yes, there is a very big second chance for the friends but I would say the book was full of second chances for all the characters.

The four friends and their parents have been taking family vacations together since they were young. Th
Jul 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I just couldn't get into this book, thus the 1 star. I am at a point in my life where I can tell myself it is ok not to finish a book. It took a while to reach that point, but there are so many choices to read out there and my goal when reading is to enjoy or at least be intrigued by a book enough to finish it.

This book was just too confusing from the get-go. There were 4 young women, one of whom had died too early in life. Not necessarily a unique plot, but I do love books about women and their
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book seems like it was not edited very well at all. For me to find as many mistakes as I did I'm sure other readers would find even more. It just really takes away from the book itself. I was also very disappointed in the fact that she did not take time to describe the characters, you don't even find out the main character has red hair till like 200 pages in. This also made it hard to get into the book since I couldn't picture these people she was writing about. The book had a nice story an ...more
Bridget Bailey
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This was my first book by this author so I wasn't sure what to expect other than a chick lit type novel. At first, it was hard starting out and it made it appear it was going to be about these journals that the dead friend writes and most of the one girl's journal was all about physics and boring topics. As you get further in the book, it gets much better. There are a lot of characters so it is hard to keep them all apart but eventually you do figure it out. Each parent goes on to tell each of t ...more
May 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is so annoying! Basic writing dictates pick a topic and stick with it. Sadly this author believed she had so many mind blowing thoughts to convey and only one book to write them in. The story starts nowhere and ends in the same place - absolutely nowhere. Glad this was just filler between the titles on my list.
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I started with this book unsure of whether I was gong to read the entire book or discard it after a few pages. The name of the book hadn't appealed to me and neither had the cover. But since it was already on my kindle I decided to give it a try...

Dec 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
Ugh one of the worst reads ever. The plot-tired. The characters-tired. I am so bored when I read a book where I know all the words.
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Every summer, Samantha Wheland joins her childhood friends—Isabel, Kendra and Mina—on a vacation, somewhere exotic and fabulous. Together with their mixed bag of parents, they’ve created a lifetime of memories. This year it’s a beach house in Honduras. But for the first time, their clan is not complete. Mina lost her battle against cancer six months ago, and the friends she left behind are still struggling to find their way forward without her. For Samantha, the vacation just feels wrong without ...more
Bree T
Samantha, Isabel, Kendra and Mina have been close ever since they were young girls. Samantha and Mina grew up motherless and Jesse and Lynette, mothers to Isabel and Kendra respectively stepped in to mother Samantha and Mina too, to make sure they had some female influence in their lives and felt some love. Every summer Jesse and Lynette took the four girls away for a holiday, some ‘girl time’ and it’s a tradition they continue well into the girls’ adult lives.

The summer the girls are turning 30
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
As of lately, I have been craving some good adult contemporary. Luckily enough for me, Deborah Cloyed’s The Summer We Came perfectly feed to that craving with its flawed yet complex characters, well-developed storylines, and rich, detailed writing.

Everything has been different for Kendra, Isabel, and Samantha since Mina, the fourth addition to their group, lost her battle with cancer six months ago. Each girl has a different way of dealing with the death. For Kendra, it means throwing herself in
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Summer We Came to Life by Deborah Cloyed in not what I expected when I picked it up. It is so much more. I originally thought it was a just a story about friends trying to move on after the death of their close friend, Mina. It is but it's also so much more. The first line of the book, "Birth and Death are the two occurrences in a person's life that seem to say one thing: we are not the one's calling the shots.", sets the tone for the entire novel.
The story surrounds four friends: Samantha,
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog:

First Sentence (from a galley - may be different in final copy): Birth and death are the two occurrences in a person's life that seem to say one thing; we are not the ones calling the shots.

Samantha and her friends have lost one of their friendship circle. Of the four friends, Mina was the one Sam felt closest to, with both of them growing up motherless with rather remote fathers. As Mina fought her battle with cancer
Laura Chapman
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Deborah Cloyed's first novel, "The Summer We Came to Life," explores the power friendship, family and love. The powerful and well-crafted story uses a band of compelling characters to drive the plot.

Told from the point of view of Samantha Wheland, a free-spirited nomadic artist, the novel begins in the weeks before she begins a year-long residency in Honduras. She and her two best friends — Isabel and Kendra — are still reeling from the death of their childhood friend, Mina, six months earlier.

Orbs n Rings
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Uniquely written, inspirational tale of true love beyond everyday friendship.

I enjoyed the uniqueness of this book and was pleasantly surprised to find it not to be your typical boring bunch of gals on a vacation kind of book. Instead it is a mix of what was, what is and what could be all wrapped up into an interesting little package. While the main character and narrator Sam struggles with many things in her current life, her main concern are her feeling of disconnection. Something many of us
Romancing the Book
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
Review by Valerie: A story about friendship and all the ups and downs that childhood friends share as they grow older into adulthood. Two of the girls in the group have mothers that are willing to take them somewhere each and every summer. The other two girls don’t have mothers, for different reasons, and are treated like family as they also travel along with their two friends. When one of the girls gets terminally ill, she starts a journal with each of the friends to document her final days and ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
The summer we came to life was for me was a book about philosophy. The story goes of Samantha Wheland and her childhood friends Isabel, Kendra and Mina who each summer go on vacation. The sad difference this year being that Mina would pass away from cancer six months before the trip and although the trip does go ahead to Honduras her friends continue to struggle without her with them. Along with the friends parents the trip after a slow start turns into a dramatic adventure with reminising aplen ...more
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Summer We Came to Life is anything but typical and girlie. Rich and enchanting, it is unconventionally intellectual and weighty . . . while still being a great beach read! It delves right into real life personal issues women face today. Should Samantha really marry her French playboy boyfriend Remy? Samantha, like us women do, turns to her best friends for help. This in turn prompts the best friends’ parents to weigh in with their own love stories in detail they’d never told their daughters. ...more
Apr 05, 2011 rated it liked it
For Samantha Wheland, summer from childhood on has always meant a week’s vacation at some exotic locale with her friends Isabel, Kendra, and Mina and Isabel’s and Kendra’s mothers. Jesse and Lynette. But six months ago, Mina died, and Sam has declared a moratorium on the vacation tradition. But her friends are determined. Isabel, Jesse, Lynette, and the fathers of Kendra and Mina show up in Honduras. The week that follows is a celebration of friendship, an exploration of lives—and deaths, and a ...more
I started this with the impression that it was going to be a lighter story than it turned out to be. The cover gave me a more bright impression – summer and water – those are the ingredients for some high gossip fun in the sun, right? There were some lighter moments, including some gossiping girls but overall the pages of this story were weighted with life’s many heavy decisions – including life and death. The friendships between the four friends and to a point the parents of these girls were re ...more
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I struggled between rating this book between 4 or 5 stars. The reason being was because when I was about 85% through the book, something important happened to Samantha, which at first I wasn't too into it. However, by the close of the book, I realized that it was an important part of the story. I think overall, this book is about love and loss, and not betraying yourself while dealing with both. It held challenges of race, culture, love and death. Starting out, this book was definitely not what ...more
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it

For me, this is one of those books that you don’t always realize how good it is until days after you’ve finished the last page. The story is one of four friends and their relationship that started as young girls, now women in their 30’s. But the difference is that one of them passed away six months ago from cancer. They’ve all been vacationing together with two of the mothers since they were little girls and this is their first trip since their friend has died.

What I especially liked were the s
Samantha March
The Summer We Came to Life by Deborah Cloyed explores the friendship between four young women- Samantha, Isabel, Kendra and Mina. Childhood friends, the girls take a trip each year to someplace exotic, and this year they are in Honduras. But this trip is different, because Mina is no longer with them. She lost her battle to cancer, and now the three friends are struggling to move forward without her. Each friend is at a different place in her life, and with her own unique problem she is trying t ...more
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Summer We Came to Life is an unconventional view into the lives of best friends as they support and lean on one another through their fortunes and hardships. Through the eyes of gypsy artist Samantha, her two best friends, and their multicultural mix of parents, the book tackles the spectrum of love, grief, politics, and quantum physics, while still staying true to a summer book about best friends and the solace of laughter. Get ready to re-examine your own beliefs about social and political ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
Four friends. Two worlds. One second chance.

Still reeling from the death of their friend, Mina, Samantha, Isabel, and Kendra try to find the strength to move on. Having spent every summer vacation together growing up, the three remaining friends feel guilty and lost without their Mina. And their complete summer vacation crew.

Sensing the end was close, Mina started journals with each friend. Mina would write an entry, the journal would then be passed on at hospital visits. In the days following M
Wendy Hines
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it
At first, I thought this was another friendly beach read, but I couldn't be more wrong. Don't misunderstand me, this book is perfect for a beach read this summer! There is just so much more packed between the covers than I had anticipated.

Mina, Sam, Kendra and Isabel are four friends who grew up together. When Mina passes away from her fight with cancer, her best friend Sam is beyond distraught. She escapes to Honduras to try and get herself together. But Kendra and Sam decide to join Sam, even
May 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Unfortunately, I found that I just kept putting this book down. I couldn’t get into. No matter how hard I tried, I just wasn’t being pulled into the story.

It is very very rare for me to not finish a book. Even when I don’t get pulled in right away, I will normally finish it. Mainly because OCD forces me to… LOL! Unfortunately, this was not the case in this book.

I hate to say that, but I didn’t finish this book. I guess it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I felt that it was too slow moving. It changed
For me the book started out very slow and I wasn’t sure if I could get through it. I finally hit the point where I couldn’t put it down about half way through. Journal entry vs. current day and the physics were a little oft putting.

This is a story about 4 friends that started when they were children until now when they are in their 30s. The girls thought it wasn’t right to do this with Mina missing, but in the end they all realize that she would have wanted it to stay the same. The older generat
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Every year summer comes around and I look forward to lazy indulgent days by the pool with a good read. Well, this summer I already found a true winner! Categorized as women's fiction but so thrilled to find so much more than fluff in the pages of this amazing novel. As the main character Samantha along with her best friends Kendra and Isabel mourn the loss of their 4th, Mina, to cancer 6 months ago you journey into a profound story of friendship. But this story is also beautifully enriched with ...more
Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)
Well, an interesting read. I would have to begin to say that there is a definite audience for this book - I just don't think I am it.

A deep philosophical look at friendship, death and how those friendships shape who we are took me on a ride of like and dislike. I think after finishing it, I am on the side of the fence of not absolutely enjoying this one. Although, I love to read about women friendships and crave to hear about how we as women affect each other in good and bad ways - this book jus
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Some contemporary history, a bit of physics, nice plot twists, and likable characters make for an unusual story and a great read. I loved reading about the time of the US civil rights movement and the revolution in Iran, both of which came in form of narratives by some of the characters in the book.
This book is as much about death as it is about life. What happens when we die and how we handle the death of a loved one, but also friendship, love, and parenting are all topics the author treats in
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  • Life Without Summer
  • Here, Home, Hope
  • Driftwood Summer
  • Born Under a Lucky Moon
  • The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship
  • The Art of Saying Goodbye
  • Sunset Bridge (Happiness Key, #3)
  • Second Time Around
  • Things We Didn't Say
  • The Art of Forgetting
  • Summer Friends
  • Beach Trip
  • The Surrogate
  • Ten Beach Road (Ten Beach Road, #1)
  • Little Black Dress
  • Out of Touch
  • Simply from Scratch
  • Life After Yes

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