Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.
To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…
Jennifer Salvato Doktorski is the author of the YA novels, HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES, FAMOUS LAST WORDS, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, THE SUMMER AFTER YOU & ME, a YALSA Teens' Top 10, and AUGUST & EVERYTHING AFTER.
Her first paid gig was writing obituaries for the North Jersey Herald & News, where she developed a life-long taste for coffee, news, biting sarcasm, and irreverent humor. She also worked as a speech writer, bank teller, ghostwriter, bookkeeper in a lampshade factory, pet shop clerk, and music zine editor.
She lives with her family in New Jersey and spends her summers “down the shore,” where everything's always all right.
How My Summer Went Up in Flames is a perfect summer read: light, funny and with a touch of romance.
After finding out that her boyfriend, Joey cheated on her, Rosie does what most of us only fantasize about doing, she sets his car on fire. She didn’t mean to do it, she was only burning her mementos from their relationship in his driveway when things somehow got out of control and his car became causality. But this doesn’t matter because that “minor” incident results in a Temporary Restraining Order. Unfortunately, Rosie doesn’t grasp the importance of staying away and is caught by her parents not once, but twice violating the TRO! They decide to send her on a nine-day road trip with her best friend, Matty, and his friends, Spencer and Logan, to keep her out of trouble. The boys, especially Logan, are not too happy that Rosie is crashing their party. Rosie lays eyes on Logan, and thinks the trip may not be so bad after all, but then he opens his mouth!
This story had me cracking up throughout. Matty and Spencer are both longtime members of the geek-squad. They have a to-the-hour-itinerary and ridiculous conversations on things like dissecting the Star Wars movies (okay, I admit, I’ve done this too, but still, they are way geekier!). Rosie’s reactions and inner commentary was hilarious too:
My parents thought it was best for me to attend an all-girls Catholic high school because it’s every teenage girl’s dream to dress like a Scottish bagpipe player. All because I got busted at an eighth-grade graduation party playing seven minutes with Armand DelVecchio, who, by the way, kisses like a seal. It wasn’t’ even worth it.*
I was worried Rosie’s obsession and actions would bother me, but she was a perfect example of a character in progress. In the beginning she’s only thinking about herself without considering the impact of her decisions on others, and I wanted to shake her a few times. Being a passionate person, Rosie’s actions are sometimes misguided and immature. Rosie finally gets the gravity of her actions and starts to feel sorry for how she acted. The road trip was a perfect way to chase away her heartbreak induced fog, and wake up and smell the coffee. She really grew on me, because underneath it all she did have a big heart.
Logan was a little prickly and sarcastic at first, but I love how his honest comments get Rosie thinking about her life, direction and choices.
I loved the gradual attraction and romance built in this story. It felt realistic in the face of Rosie’s situation. I will say that a romance with any one of these boys would’ve worked for me for different reasons; all three were special and adorable in their own right.
How My Summer Went Up in Flames was an enjoyable journey of heartbreak, self-discovery, friendships, and romance. I can’t believe this was Jennifer Salvato Doktorski’s debut, and I expect great things to come from her in the future!
A copy was provided by Simon Pulse through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
*Quote taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.
Wow. Am I really the only one who hated this? I mean, I can't say that my opinion of this book is entirely its own fault, after reading 'Amy & Roger's Epic Detour' I guess my standards were set pretty high, I love that book, and therefore was fairly excited when I picked up 'How My Summer Went Up in Flames', expecting great things.
I was heavily disappointed. First of all, Rosie annoyed me so much. Half of the duration of the plot she was mooning over Joey, then Logan, then taking Matty for granted and decided (spoiler, don't read ahead) that she was, in fact, the one who decided when Spencer got his first kiss and who he was going to get it from; half of the time I actually had no clue who she was going to end up with because she was, in a sense, at least slightly romantically entangled with every teenaged male character in the book. It also annoyed me how self-centred she was, I mean I get it, she's a teenager, but so am I, I'm only 16 where she's a year older than I am, and yet, I couldn't relate to her at all, because every damn thing she did was so rash and impulsive, and although she is intentionally characterised that way, I felt that it didn't really serve the plot and just aided in fueling my dislike towards her. So many times I wanted this book to spontaneously burst into flames as I'd watch the fire ignite, rising higher and higher until the flames would die down, and with them, the book, and I would maniacally laugh at the irony of it all, given the name of it.
I know it may seem like I'm being harsh, cruel and a little melodramatic, but I honestly don't understand how this book is getting such high ratings or even mediocre ratings. The tone and writing style was borderline primitive, that even I could've written it! It felt like I was reading a last minute, Sunday night, 8th grade English assignment. The content was lacking and most of the characters were dull and 2 dimensional, I only took interest in two characters, Matty first, and Spencer second. I'm not saying that I hate Rosie (more like strongly dislike throughout most of the novel), in fact, I liked her sometimes, like when she stood up for Spencer, it's just that I felt like she could've made the book so much better, I felt that she lacked depth, a big portion of why I didn't enjoy this book. Rant over.
Reading How My Summer Went Up in Flames was so much fun. I am pretty sure the author was giggling as she came up with some of the parts that made me laugh out loud. Highly recommend. More in a few days... 4.5 stars.
This so does not read like a first novel. I predict that Jennifer Salvato Doktorski has a long and successful career ahead of her, much like Lauren Barnholdt or Jennifer Echols. The writing is literally laugh-out-loud hilarious, and I am much more a smiler than a laugher while reading. How My Summer Went Up in Flames had me from the first line (which was so good I read it out loud to my husband) to the last page.
I loved that the plot arc wasn't just about Rosie getting her (worthless) boyfriend back or finding a new love. I didn't know where Doktorski was going with the romance angle--the story kept me on my toes but the ending was still satisfying for lovers of a happy ending.
Rosie herself is someone you'd want to be friends with, from her never-a-dull-moment personality to her loyalty and love for her family and her dog. You have to love a heroine who wants to talk on the phone to her dog when she's out of town.
It was also nice to read a YA book with both parents in the house, a functional, loving family unit, yet still facing the challenges real families face.
I have had a Kindle for almost 2 years now but I felt like learning how to use the 'note' function for the first time with this book, so I could mark multiple passages as 'funny.' I will recommend this title to anyone looking for a fun escape with a solid (but not hammered-home) message beneath the snark and sass. Loved it!
Hey everyone! This book is a must read for everyone... but I am here to pick the spots in this book you should know that this book has in it... I hate it when I run into things in books. I read this as a Buddy Read with the wonderful Becca da Romance Queen ! Check her out with the link below. You also can read our discussion with the link below that!
PARENT NOTE: The whole point of this book is how Rosie blows up her ex-boyfriend's car because he cheated on her and then she gets charged with blowing his car up as well as stalking him. This book is for more mature people and has spots where things are brought up. A lot of boob talk from what I remember, not from the guys but mostly in Rosie's head. Rosie has a lot of bad thoughts but technically this book is clean because nothing happens between the main characters. She sleeps with her brother like figure when there isn't another bed and nobody wants to sleep on the floor but nothing happens. She even has a pillow between them.
AGE RECOMMENDATION: 13 and up for content.
ROMANCE: This book is technically clean but read the PARENT NOTE for more information about why some people might no consider this clean. It could be more of a Sweet romance to some people.
VIOLENCE: Joey breaks a nose by getting hit by a guitar case because he is breaking the restraining order that Rosie has and one of the boys gets tired of it. There is blood because someone falls off the horse.
Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious. To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new.
Okay, das ist erst mein dritter (glaube ich zumindest) Roadtrip und ich habe das bisher bei jedem gesagt, aber dieses Mal ist es mein voller Ernst: Das ist der beste Roadtriproman, den ich kenne! Ich liebe HMSWUIF (keine Lust, den Titel jetzt jedes Mal auszuschreiben). Punkt. Es ist perfekt. Punkt. Zumindest für mich. Die Protagonistin Rosie hat mich mit ihrem Charme schnell um den Finger gewickelt. Im Klappentext steht zwar schon, dass sie spontan und impulsiv ist, aber trotzdem war ich nicht darauf vorbereitet, wie temperamentvoll sie wirklich ist – und das ist sie, aber hallo. Rosie besteht aus etwa 80 % Spontanität und 20 % Humor. Das mag jetzt vielleicht so klingen, als wäre sie total oberflächlich und es würden die ganze Zeit nur spontan irgendwelche Sprüche aus ihrem Mund fließen, aber so ist sie nicht. Ich finde, der Autorin ist es gelungen, dass die locker-leichte Sommergeschichte und die etwas ernsteren Aspekte sich die Waage halten. Im Klappentext wird schon angedeutet, dass Rosie sich während des Trips verliebt, aber in wen bloß? Logan? Spencer? Matty? Ehrlich gesagt war ich mir bis fast zum Schluss nicht ganz sicher, wer denn jetzt eigentlich der Love interest ist. Ich hatte einen Topkandidaten, aber ich schwankte immer mal wieder. Und das fand ich nicht komisch oder so, auch wenn sich das so anhören mag, aber das hat eine Portion Extra-Spannung rein gebracht. In dem Auto herrschte nämlich eine freundschaftliche Atmosphäre, die das irgendwie so REALISTISCH und echt machte, dass man es als natürlich wahrnimmt. Es passt, in die Geschichte und zu Rosie. Besser kann ich das nicht beschreiben. Okay, aber was ich an dem Buch am meisten geliebt habe? Den Humor! HMSWUIF trifft genau meinen Humor, wie es in letzter Zeit nur die Sachen von Tanja Voosen geschafft haben. Ich denke, damit ist schon genug gesagt.
Über die Autorin: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski is the author of the YA novels, How My Summer Went Up in Flames, Famous Last Words, which was a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, and the forthcoming The Summer After You and Me. Her first paid writing gig was as an editorial assistant for the North Jersey Herald & News, where, in addition to developing a life-long passion for coffee and news, she wrote obituaries for eight months. She also worked as a speech writer, bank teller, ghostwriter, bookkeeper in a lampshade factory, pet shop clerk, and music zine editor. She lives with her family in New Jersey and spends her summers “down the shore,” where she dreams of taking surfing lessons and observes sea life while keeping her toes in the sand.
Fazit Noch vor einer Woche konnte ich relativ sicher sagen, was mein liebstes Sommerbuch ist. Tja, es hat Konkurrenz bekommen. Meinetwegen könnt ihr auf die Übersetzung nächstes Jahr warten, aber LEST DIESES BUCH! Es ist einfach fantastisch.
Bleh. What was I thinking? I dont even like road trip stories.
I really think I was under the impression that this'll be different. I don't like road trips in book because there is always an unnecessary amount of drama added to it, along with the typical amount of 'oh-my-God-I-am-a-teenager-and-I-have-problemz' drama.
Rosie is one of the most ungrateful, bitchy and unlikable heroines I have ever read about. She stalks her ex after he cheats on her. Not cool. Then, she gets a restraining order slapped against her when she is accused of setting his car on fire. And what does Rosie do next? She drives up to his house and continues to stalk him.
She gets caught by her parents for this and naturally, they're angry. Who wouldn't be? But oh no, Rosie isn't having any of it. She whines about how her parents dont 'get' her, how she needs to do her 'thing' and cries unfair when her father tells her she has to work in his lamp factory as punishment. But when a friend of Rosie's, Matty, suggests that she come with him and 2 other friends on a road trip across the country, Rosie is horrified. Yes, how dare she waste the time she could be stalking her ex by driving across the country and exploring new places.
Her parents are intially not oboard with the idea, but decide its best that Rosie stay away from her ex till the court date. Rosie gets really angry and unhappy with this development. Seriously. I dont know what she's complaining about. If I ever got a restraining order at her age, my parents would put me on lockdown and take away everything dear to me till I'm 40. She clearly doesnt appretiate how easily got by, but let's move on.
Rosie is sad. And when Rosie is sad, she gets stupid. She leaves a message to her douchebag ex, telling him that she will take him back if he just apologize to her.
There is something called self-respect and you dont have it.
Source: Publisher/ Edelweiss: In exchange for an honest review
Three and a half stars: A light, fun summer road trip book.
Being slapped with a Restraining Order and a court date for supposedly torching your cheating ex-boyfriend's car was not how Rosie planned on starting on her summer. She had big plans to work at a bridal store, walk dogs and spend ample time with her boyfriend Joey. When Rosie caught Joey cheating with a freshman, she couldn't contain her rage. In anger, she placed all her keepsakes from the nine month relationship in a box on his driveway and set fire to it. Somehow, the fire got out of hand and blew up his car, even though Rosie doesn't know how that was possible. It doesn't matter since she is currently being blamed. When Matty, her best friend and next door neighbor, comes to the rescue with a brilliant plan for keeping her out of trouble, Rosie is anything but excited. However, her parents agree to send her across the country in a car with three dorky nerds in order to keep her away from Joey. Along the way she might lose her heart again..... What I Liked: *This was an easy, breezy summer read with fun characters, a good story and a great cross country road trip. If you are looking for a fast, light read for a lazy summer day this is a good bet. It certainly made me smile. I am a big fan of road trip books, and I thoroughly enjoyed the cross country trip from New Jersey to my former home state of Arizona. I got a little nostalgic when they hit Arizona and visited many of the sights I am very familiar with. I soaked up every bit of the road trip! *I enjoyed the humor in this one. Rosie has plenty of spark and her sarcastic attitude made me smile. The geeky boys are also capable of making you laugh. This was just what I needed a happy escape novel. *I loved all three of the nerdy boys. Rosie is not one bit excited to be headed across country with three nerds, and granted, they do come across as geeks at first glance. Just like any person, though, once you dig a little deeper there usually is a sweet center, and that is exactly what Rosie got with Matty, Spencer and Logan. I completely enjoyed some of the nerdy behavior like having every little detail mapped out on an itinerary and the geeky conversations. These boys have big hearts and any girl would be lucky to claim one of them as a boyfriend. Matty, Rosie's best friend, is especially wonderful. He is so kind, caring and considerate. Who wouldn't want to have a guy like Matty for a best friend? *Rosie....let's talk about Rosie. For the first half of the book she is a bit of a pain. She is self centered, shallow, selfish and a bit obsessive. Of course, she is nursing a broken heart after her first love cheated on her and broke her heart. She is like any typical teenage girl who falls in love and ends up with heartache. She is hurt and obsessed as she repeatedly stalks her ex. Even though she is difficult, I think anyone who has endured a broken heart or two will be able to commiserate with Rosie. Even though she made me laugh, I did struggle with her selfishness and single mindedness. For instance, Rosie is one of those girls who believes she is going to marry her first love and live happily ever after in New Jersey without considering her future options such as college and career. Let's face it, how many high school couples get married and make it? Then when she gets dumped her whole future is down the drain and she is lost. Thankfully, during the road trip, she slowly begins to open her eyes and think about something other than herself and Joey. By the end of the trip, she has matured, and I was very pleased with her growth. Again, she isn't always an easy character to like, but I loved her voice and I totally understood where she was coming from. *The romance.... I was fully expecting Rosie to immediately end up with one of the boys in the car. Seriously, what teenage girl wouldn't like going on a road trip with three guys? I would! I was happy to see, though, that the romance doesn't ignite on the trip. It wouldn't be realistic for Rosie to jump into another romance while she is still trying to piece her heart back together. Thankfully, she refrains even though she is certainly tempted, and in the end there are a few sparks and a possibility. Where it will go is uncertain, but the author certainly leaves room for a sequel. I was afraid that it might steer into love triangle territory, but it doesn't! *I loved that Rosie's family played a big role in this book. More often than not, parents are mysteriously absent from YA books. Not in this case. Rosie's mom and dad and even her brother are very involved in Rosie's life, and it was very apparent that they cared deeply for her and were willingly to do what was necessary to see her through her rough patch. It was refreshing to see the family play an integral role in this book. *I was happy that almost everything tied up at the end. There is room for a sequel, but this certainly works well as a stand alone. No cliffhangers! And The Not So Much: *I was disappointed that Joey seemed to wriggle off the hook for his behavior. I was expecting after some of the revelations that he would get into more trouble, but it seems he for the most part gets away with his bad behavior. *Logan and Spencer, the two brothers, reveal during the road trip that they come from an unhappy home. Their father is an alcoholic and is abusive. There is very little detail on this story angle, and I found that I was wanting a bit more. I always appreciate when authors take on tough topics, and even though alcoholism is introduced it isn't really dealt with. Logan's answer to the problem is to run away to Arizona. While I understand that is reality sometimes, I was hoping for a better outcome for the brothers. I was also concerned about Spencer staying in the home without his brother. I wanted desperately to know if he would be okay. *I read a digital ARC version of this book, and it appeared my copy may have been missing some pages. There is a scene where the foursome is camping out at the Grand Canyon. Logan and Rosie have a moment in the tent, and I am not sure what transpired because this is where the book jumped ahead. The next thing I know Rosie is storming outside of the tent. I am curious to know what was chopped out of my copy.
How My Summer Went Up in Flames is a light, quick read that will be perfect for passing a few hours on a summer day. It is enjoyable even if it lacks a bit of depth and there is nothing overly thrilling or exciting. What it does have is great characters, major growth and a fun road trip. If you are looking for a easy breezy summer read pick this one. I certainly enjoyed it!
Favorite Quotations: "Take it easy, all right?" I'm not the problem, your bad temper is." "I don't have a bad temper." I look down at my purple toenails, away from Matty's beady blue-eyed stare. "I'm passionate." "Good way to keep busy after a breakup. Hoping incarceration would fill those empty hours?" "My parents thought it was best for me to attend an all-girls Catholic school because it's every teenage girl's dream to dress like a Scottish bagpipe player. All because I got busted at an eight-grade graduation party playing seven minutes in the closet with Armand DelVecchio, who, by the way, kisses like a seal. It wasn't even worth it." "Avery's not one of those princess bashers. I mean, I know women are supposed to stan on their own and all. I get that. But every once in awhile it doesn't hurt to wish for a fairy godmother, a little magic, and a happy ending." "When I look into his eyes, I want to cry. I get it; there's too much to say, so we aren't saying anything."
Note all quotations are taken from an Advanced Reader's Copy and may vary slightly from the final version.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review. Published@Rainy Day Ramblings.
1. ROSALITA ARIANA CATALANO I've got 99 problems with this girl. Not only is she extremely unlikable, but she is extremely shallow. The matter of the fact is, you are stuck 320 pages with a girl who would rather oggle at guys, slut-shames, and care about how she looks than appreciate the fact that she is seeing the Hall of Fame much less on a road trip in general. She even knows she can be a pain in the rear but she doesn't care to change herself until probably the end bits where she does a complete 360. Wow, could it come any sooner?
2. ROMANCE Out of all the possible candidates on the road trip, it's basically insta-love with who she will end up with. There is basically no romantic build-up, they barely interact even though there were numerous times they could have. It didn't even have to romantic per se, just more of confinement in each other. I mean, you're on a road trip, you're basically stuck together. To top it off, he honestly was bland. There was also this weird love triangle/square thing that happened and then didn't so it honestly was inserted for no particular reason except to annoy me.
3. CULTURES We get Rosie who is a mix of Ecuadorian and Italian, but the only bit of culture we see present would be her mom occasionally speaking Spanish kinda just to remind us she is a color character. Love the mix race representation, but it did not FEEL like she was living in an Ecuadorian/Italian household. I don't know if you're understanding what I'm try to say, but parents from other cultures just have their little quirks and I felt Doktorski just made Rosie mix race for not the right reasons.
4. ROAD TRIP COME ON, IT'S A ROAD TRIP BOOK. This, as well, fell flat. I was amazed by the places Rosie and the three guys were going to, but the way Rosie reacted to being there just dampened my awe of the place. The only time she was truly just loving the place was Grand Canyon....which, I guess?
5. JOEY Yeah. At the beginning, Rosie is put on Temporary Restraining Order because she set her ex car on fire. This issue is definitely tackled throughout the novel as well Rosie trying to get over her ex. But, he is a douche! And there honestly could have been more WHAM to what he gets. Also, everything else about the issue just got swept, it fell flat as well.
How my Summer Went Up in Flames was such a fun read! (Although I can't stand the way the girl is standing on the cover. Can I say Ow?) At first, I thought it sounded cute but thought the main character would be kind of pathetic. Luckily, she was real, and fun, and not too pathetic.
Can I just start by saying I have a rocky relationship with road trip books? I tend to love em' or hate em'. In this one I thought the road trip aspect was handled superbly though. The characters go to cool destinations in the USA, plus the ratio of boys to girls is 3:1. So, we get a lot of fun comments from Rosie about the car ride with the boys. One of my favorite scenes is when Rosie tries to play a road trip game. (To the question "What kind of fruit are you?" Rosie get back an answer something like, "I am not sure about me, but you are definitely bananas!")
Rosie is, as already stated, an awesome narrator. She is spunky and you can clearly see the character growth by the end of the book. Also, her voice is easy to read and I was laughing, like, the whole time! This was a such a good book to read right after Prophecy which had nothing remotely laugh inducing within the pages. The other girl we get to know well is a character met half way(ish) through the book. I really liked her though. Just let me search through the book for her name... Avery! Yes, I remember!
Anyways, she is lots of fun and also induced some laughs from me. And, finally, we have the three boys, Matty, Spencer, and Logan. They were all great. Matty is the younger best friend that helps keep Rosie from getting into trouble. Spencer and Logan are brother who are both very, um, neurotic about the schedule and rules. I think I rolled my eyes at there freakish obsession with how they planned everything!!! Rosie feels the same way.
Also, I love how the dialogue feels real, and not at all forced, as that is one of my biggest pet peeves in a book. I read the book so fast, it was addicting. I love addicting books! And this book had everything else too: humor, awesome romance, a good message, cool premise, and a great pacing that had me zipping through the pages.
Overall, this was a great read! I would reccomend this to anyone looking for a light, fun contemporary full (and I mean full) of laughs. I cannot wait to read more by this author, Jennifer Salvato Doktorski!
4/5 bookcases (This was won in a giveaway, thank you Emily Crammed Bookshelf and Jennifer!)
How My Summer Went Up in Flames is one of those on the fence novels for me. It's good, but not great, and it's fun, but not hilariously funny. It's right in the middle.
I think the most interesting thing about this novel was how the author wasn't afraid to make Rosie unlikeable. I really disliked Rosie at the beginning of the novel. She was shallow, selfish, and really materialistic. She refused to own up to her mistakes, and instead of being grateful for the road trip that Matty was taking her on, she just whined.
During the first third of the novel, I really wondered if that was how she was going to be throughout, and I was getting annoyed. Luckily, Doktorski was pulling a fast one on me, and throughout the road trip, we really saw the real and true Rosie come out. The true Rosie is a lot better of a person than I expected, and she makes some real discoveries about herself that had me cheering at the end.
The character development with the four main characters, Rosie, Matty, and brothers Logan and Spencer was great. The guys had a lot more to them than met the eye, and Spencer, in particular, displayed sides that I really liked.
While nothing wowed me about the writing in How My Summer Went Up in Flames, I did appreciate how quintessentially TEEN Rosie's voice was. I really feel like a lot of teens will relate to her. She definitely reminded me of how I talked and thought when I was a teenager.
Overally, I wasn't totally swept away by this novel. It's a fun road trip novel, but I guess it felt a bit like it had been done before and better.
Road Trip to Self-Discovery: Honestly, the road trip is what got me to read this novel. I LOVE road trip novels, and I love what characters learn about themselves while they're on road trips. The self-discovery aspect is particularly good in this novel.
Real Love Triangle: I know some of you out there HATE love triangles, but this is a really good one (unlike the Katniss-Peeta-Gale one) - mainly because I really couldn't decide what was going on or who to go for. There's no clear winner on who Rosie should pick, and I really liked that.
A Girl Who Owns Her Girliness: One thing I totally loved about Rosie was how much she owned her own girliness. She wasn't afraid to be the girl who was high maintenance: she liked mani-pedis, having her hair done, and wearing pretty dresses, and that didn't stop her from being sassy.
The Final Word
How My Summer Went Up in Flames is a solid debut novel, with an interesting concept and relateable characters who are well-developed. It won't blow your socks off, but it's a good, fast read that would be perfect for the beach.
Thanks to April of Good Books and Good Wine, I'd been warned not to have high expectations going into How My Summer Went Up in Flames. Doktorski's debut had been high on my must-have list ever since the cover reveal (will I ever learn), so this reality check was needed. Prepared to dislike the novel, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Though flawed, Doktorski's debut still kept me entertained and flipping pages.
Okay, guys, believe it or not, but I haven't actually read too many road trip novels. It's a super popular sub-genre of contemporary fiction, but I only really started reading contemporary novels this past year. How My Summer Went Up in Flames has convinced me that I need to read more of them, because this book totally simulated a vacation. It's like I got to visit a whole bunch of touristy places I wouldn't actually want to go, so I can cross them off. Success!
Driving across country with her best friend Matty and brothers Spencer and Logan, Rosie visits so many sights. They pack a lot into their trip. It's seriously impressive how much they get done. Also, I love how much focus Doktorski gives to the music playing as they drive. Music is essential to a road trip, so I loved knowing what they were listening to. Also, Spencer rules for playing Al Simon as they drove to Graceland. *sings "We're going to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee"*
Doktorski also does a great job with the characters. All four of them felt like real people, though Rosie I didn't like, and I'll tackle that soon. However, I thought Matty and Spencer were utterly adorable and delightful. I only wish Rosie wouldn't roll her eyes and turn her music up over their dorky discussions of Star Trek, because I dig that. Logan, too, though not my favorite, has depths to him. Doktorski captures a lot of the awkwardness of time spent trapped together: the tiffs, the silences, the uncomfortable moments where personal space is invaded.
With novels in a first person perspective, one's enjoyment can be seriously impacted by the personality of the main character. In this case, the MC was the big negative to the book. Rosie, short for Rosalita, should be awesome. She's half-Ecuadorian and half-Italian, and she's very passionate. Plus, she has a distinct personality, so I do give Doktorski serious props for that. However, Rosie's also seriously obnoxious. She is seriously judgmental, selfish, and hypocritical. She slut-shames, even though she almost had sex with her boyfriend (she didn't because she wasn't ready which is great, but also means she's not opposed to sex before marriage), she judges girls who show too much skin, and she judges girls who drink, though she does a couple of times too. There's also a double standard to her mean thoughts; Rosie's predisposed to dislike females she comes in contact with, but sizes up every guy as a dating prospect, not judging them for drinking, bare skin, or sexual activity.
I'd been hoping that Rosie set his car on fire in a bit of overenthusiastic vengeance. Instead, it was an accident that happened while she was stalking him after the breakup. Rosie's crazy, completely obsessed with Joey. His birthday is even the password to her voice mail. All of this made her really difficult to relate to in any way. Also, I couldn't support the romance, because she's obviously not mentally stable enough to be in a relationship. I wish the ending had stayed more open-ended.
For those who can stomach Rosie, How My Summer Went Up in Flames will be a fun, summery read. Doktorski's well-drawn characters and humor show talent, and I still hold out hope for her sophomore novel, Famous Last Words, to be released later this year.
“I know women are supposed to stand on their own and all. I get that. But every once in a while it doesn't hurt to wish for a fairy godmother, a little magic, and a happy ending.”
I had been eager to read How My Summer Went Up in Flames since I first received it for review, mainly because I’m yet to find that road trip book that I could totally fall in love with. I was hoping that Jennifer Salvato Doktorski debut novel would be it, and while it wasn't, I certainly enjoyed reading it.
How My Summer Went Up in Flames starts with Rosie, a teenage girl who recently had a temporary restraining order put against her after she torched her ex-boyfriend; Joey’s car, when she discovered he was cheating on her. Rosie can’t quite get her head around all the trouble she is in, and still doesn’t abide by the law when she’s caught kind of stalking Joey. So, the only way her parents know how to deal with her is to send her on a road trip with her next door neighbour Matt and his friends, hoping she will discover herself along the way.
As I said before, I definitely enjoyed reading this story, it's an ideal read if you've just broke up from school for the summer and you're looking for that read that can take you the places you've always wanted to see. How My Summer Went Up in Flames certainly delivered with that aspect, with my favourite part being where the characters where visiting the Grand Canyon. I'd love to go there one day!
Rosie was a fun character - one who has her issues, but hey, what seventeen-year-old girl doesn't? I felt some of her reactions were way over the top but that's Rosie. I enjoyed how she started finding herself along the way of the trip, I didn't like how much she kept pining over Joey, but him cheating on her was the plot of the story. Now I loved Avery! I wouldn't mind reading a book all about her. And then we have the guys; Matty, Logan and Spencer. I really liked them all. Rosie didn't end up with the guy I thought she would but still, it was still interesting to see her figure things out.
The story itself was enjoyable at a good pace, there was enough entertainment through-out and enough laughs to keep the humour going. What I felt lacked and really did affect my overall rating of this book, was the romance. It definitely fell short and there just wasn't as much as I would have liked. At one stage you have no idea who the main character Rosie's love interest really is, because she has moments with all the three guys she's on the trip with. To me, that's too much, especially since the romance isn't the key factor of the story - it's all about the road trip and Rosie finding herself. I sometimes felt that Rosie was put into these moments with the guys just to fill the story....and the guy she kind of ends up with, she doesn't really get a lot of swoon-worthy moments with him, and I need that swoon in the story.
In all, even despite the minor issues I had with this story, I still enjoyed it. It's one I'd recommend to any road trip fan because they may enjoy it even more than me.
From debut author Ms. Doktroski, she is a fresh face in contemporary fiction. I really enjoyed How My Summer Went Up in Flames. Let’s face it—we all make some mistakes when we are teens. How many of us have not done something we felt foolish over or wish we hadn’t done? Ms. Doktroski’s book introduces us to Rosie just after her school year ended. She is devastated that her boyfriend cheater on her and goes a bit crazy. I mean, how many of us destroyed things that our ex-boyfriend gave us…maybe just not to the extent Rosie did though.
Rosie is a great character that I think many teens can relate to in some way shape or form. She is self conscious about her curvy figure, her not feeling as smart as her companions on the road trip but she has a great heart and is protective of those she considers friends. There are moments in the book that Rosie made me laugh and of course smile through her antics.
Throughout the car trip as miles go by, Rosie begins to see through her actions that lead to her TRO (temporary restraining order) and she begins to grow. She does not have everything figured out when she gets home, nor should she but she is on a better path than she was heading down prior to the trip.
The rest of the cast of characters are intriguing in their own various ways. Logan is using the car trip to get Spencer away from their father and a real vacation for the first time in years. He is intensely smart and is gorgeous too boot. Matty is Rosie’s neighbor who is more like a brother and a boyfriend. Matty is such a great friend and we would all be better people if we had him for a friend. Spencer is one of the good guys—those that girls typically overlook. He is passionate about his music and is brainy, a planner and an organizer. Lastly, there is Avery—Logan’s friend that instantly bonds and connects with Rosie after stopping at her house along the way. It is through Avery’s interactions that we see Rosie begin to think beyond the past and now and to begin to think of her future.
What I truly appreciated about this book is the characters feel completely believable to me. The story is engaging with laugh out loud moments but some seriousness filtered in throughout it. Ms. Doktorski’s writing is fresh and attention grabbing—ll important things in writing young adult novels. I am hoping to see her stick around for a long, long time and she could easily become a household name in young adult contemporary fiction.
How My Summer Went Up in Flames was a bundle of joy. I had SO much fun reading this book, laughing with the characters, yelling at the main protagonist (more about that later), witnessing all the sight seeing they got to see, and basically solidifying my love for road trip books. Why aren't authors writing more road trip books? Don't they know the book would become an instant success among contemporary lovers? Like many readers, I have yet to read a road trip novel that I didn't enjoy. Of course How My Summer Went Up in Flames might have won itself merit points at the beginning for being a road trip novel, but the characters and the plot (at least second half of it) are what made me love this book and devour it in a single day.
Rosie, a couple of weeks after breaking up with her cheating ex-boyfriend, finds herself the culprit of a burnt car belonging to said ex-boyfriend and the holder of a temporary Restraining Order (TRO) her ex-boyfriend took against her. Her parents decide for her to go on the road trip her neighbor, Matty, who she has known all her life and is a year younger, and his friend Spencer and Spencer's older brother Logan were taking to Logan's university, cross country. At the beginning, I was SO annoyed with Rosie and her desperation. It really left a sour taste in my mouth. She broke her TRO several times and couldn't stop thinking about that douche. Where is your self respect girl?! I was so happy when she finally went on the road trip and the whole obsession over her ex-boyfriend started to diminish.
The dialogue in this novel was stolen by Matty and Spencer, mostly Spencer and all his adorableness. That guy is a nerd to the max but oh so sweet, caring, and funny. As for Logan, he is the hot guy who is also a nerd; basically every girl's dream guy, looks AND brains? who can say no? However his moodiness and sneering and dislike for Rosie crashing his road trip was obvious. Yup, you guessed it. He is the love interest. I loved Logan, when he learned to loosen up he was as cute as Spencer; These two brothers charmed me to the extreme! Doktorski's writing flowed easily, with a ton of dialogue and a ton of playfulness you expect from road trip books. This is a book to pick up when you want a smile on your face and a ton of free time for the day because once I started this book, I could barely put it down. I honestly would recommend all contemporary and road trip fans to read it because this road trip book is full of all the ingredients that make us readers love contemporary novels!
An awesome, sweet, cute read that kept me entertained from start to finish. Rosie was a great character that I totally gelled with.
I loved getting to know the guys along with Rosie and I fell in love with all of them, Matty, Spencer and Logan. The romance wasn't really an integral part of this story as Rosie's feelings are kind of all over the place having only recently had a bad break up with her ex, Joey and then finding herself served with a Temporary Restraining Order after she blows up his car.
She is on the road trip because her parents felt it was a good idea that would keep her away from Joey until her court date. But it gives Rosie time to think things over and I felt she did a lot of growing up over the nine days with the lads and emerged from the trip a different girl.
I would recommend this book to everyone, because I'm not a big contemporary fan and I loved it!!! I want to go on a road trip now :)
First things first - Rosie set her ex-boyfriend's car on fire by accident, okay? But of course no one believes her, not especially when she frequently sends him text messages and stops by her ex's job to watch him. She just wants to know why he broke up with her. But when she's slapped with what could be a permanent restraining order, her best friend Matty decides to invite her along to a roadtrip with some of his other friends. Her parents agree that a change of scenery would be good for her. Plus, Rosie won't be able to see (Read: stalk) her jerk ex. Coming with them on the roadtrip is Matty's friend Spencer, and his brother, Logan. On this trip, Rosie discovers that aside from the fact that she's better off without Joey, change can be good - if she's willing to accept it.
Rosie is surprisingly lovable. All her insecurities and feelings of inadequacy just made us want to hug her and tell her that everything will sort itself out. Her banter with her new friends was also downright enjoyable.
Rosie's romance with Logan was not something that was forced, and we just had to give kudos to that. Both came into their own feelings in their own time, and because of that, there was none of that weird awkwardness typical YA protagonists face after having a romantic interlude. Spencer, Matty, Avery, and Lilliana (So that's basically everyone then, except the cheating fink, Joey.) were awesome, and almost made us wish that we could hang out with them as well. That road trip they took? We would definitely jump on the chance to have one just like that.
Oh, we've been on road trips before and have always enjoyed long drives. They provide chances to forget all your problems and just focus on yourself and having fun. Rosie's road trip was something of that sort. She got to visit different states - the scenes were very well described - and her foray into Dollywood was highly amusing. This road trip also served as an escape for Rosie, to keep her far away from her ex, but the trip was also a time for Rosie to think about everything she's done and the grief she must have put her parents' through thanks to her antics. Rosie's burgeoning acceptance of her identity without Joey made us feel like we were finally getting a long lost best friend back from her dark cave of despair.
What truly made her summer unforgettable was that she realized that the changes that were happening to her were for the better; life really doesn't end after a bad break-up and you can find love and friendship in the oddest of places.
How My Summer Went Up in Flames is basically one of the best light-hearted contemporary reads out there. While Rosie's impulsiveness and obsessiveness were quite annoying at the start, it was hard not to grow to love her and the rest of the gang. If you're thinking of picking up a light book to get away from it all, get this one and it'll be almost as if you went on a road trip as well.
This review was originally posted on ALICE IN READERLAND: Rosie isn’t normally the kind if girl who starts off her summer vacation being served a temporary restraining order, but that changed after she allegedly made her ex’s car catch fire.
Lighter fluid and stuffed animals aren’t a great combination. She also tosses away a few assumptions made about her in the first chapter: The car didn’t “explode”, it just caught fire. She doesn’t have a “bad temper,” she’s just passionate. And she’s not “hostile,” just a bit high strung lately. But Rosie’s in for another ride: literally. Her parent’s are sending her off on a nine-day road trip with her long-time friend and his two friends AKA three nerds. After all, how much trouble could Rosie get into with a GPS in her phone, miles between her and her ex, and being babysat by three responsible nerds who insist on sticking to the schedule (when they’re not discussing superheroes or dissecting all six Star Wars episodes)? But after all, this is Rosie we’re talking about, and she seems to have a knack for making things interesting…
Since I read this book back in November, I couldn’t stop talking about it, this book is just so much fun! First of all, I adore road trip books and this book had so many interesting locations and conversations that took place while driving that it really felt like you were on a road trip when you read it. This book also has so much humor in it. Seriously, if I didn’t have the ARC, I would be posting a whole list of quotes from it! Rosie has such a fresh, funny, sarcastic, and opinionated voice that gave this book such a great narration. All the other characters add so much to the book with their personalities. There’s just so much fun dialogue as you watch Rosie try to get along (or not) with Matty, Spencer, and Logan; their personalities clashing with each other definitely made for some great scenes, and then it was cute to see them all finally get along. I also like how Avery’s character was portrayed. While Rosie initially couldn’t help but see the rich, adorable blonde as the “competition,” they became friends and Avery was shown to be really sweet and supportive. It was really refreshing not to see any pettiness between the two, as a lot of YA novels I’ve read lately will have the two girls in a group fight, not stick together.
Cynical Cindy Says
I rolled my eyes quite a few times because I couldn’t understand why Rosie did some of the things she did. But, overall, Rosie was still a great character who accepted the consequences of her actions and grew up over the course of the book.
With road trip fun, great characters, and lots of laughs, I highly recommend this book!
I must start off by saying that I am a sucker for any road trip book! I personally enjoy road trips myself and to read about one! Ugh, it is just pure awesomeness!!! This book did not disappoint!
“You flambe one car and now you think every song with fire is about you," Logan says. "Get over yourself, Catalano.”
Let's talk storyline....
The storyline is kind of humorous! Rosie and her boyfriend break up. She begins literally stalking him! Calling him and driving past his house. She never intended to start his car on fire. She just wanted to burn a pile of stuff in his driveway. This brings on a restraining order, that she doesn't acknowledge anyway! She still calls him and texts him. Her parent's think it would be a great idea for her to get out of dodge, so they send her on a trip with her neighbor. Rose does not want to go, but is forced to go.
Now, on to characters......
Rose is funny and snarky! She is also a little tiny bit of a doofus. just sayin... She is one of those types of people that do things without thinking of consequences. You know, ask questions later. Which leads to some trouble on her end. She learns a lot about herself on this trip and it actually turned out that it shows her what may really be important in life.
Matty, oh sweet Matty! Matty is Rose's neighbor. He is in love with Rose. I am sure we have all seen one of these on TV. You know, the nerdy next door neighbor that you don't really like in that way, but they would do anything for you so you take advantage. They are too nice and you don't really want to hurt their feelings but, there would be no way that you would ever date them!
Logan is sweet but tough. He doesn't take any crap from Rose and in the end, it works! He really does get through to her!
The book wraps up nicely. I kind of wished that I could read a little more but, all the loose ends were tied up.
I am giving this book our 4 star rating. I really enjoyed reading it! I would suggest this book as a beach or pool side read! It is a great book for the summer full of road tripping, love, friendship and a little mischief!
I really, really enjoyed How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. I thought it was a fun story full of flawed and realistic characters and it was exactly what I was hoping for when I picked it up.
I've read that some people had trouble connecting with the protagonist, but I actually really liked Rosie. She was so freaking confused and made so many mistakes and that's what I liked about her. She never really had any dreams and her whole life revolved around Joey, so it totally threw her when he cheated on her. And then she had to figure out what the hell was next. I felt like her confusion and her lashing out was very realistic. It wasn't pretty, but it felt real. She was spoiled and rude, but so are a lot of teenagers. Plus the growth in How My Summer Went Up in Flames was phenomenal and I really liked Rosie figuring herself out a bit more and getting a bit of a reality check.
I also really liked the secondary characters - Matty, Spencer, Logan...they were all really interesting guys with their own storyline and growth to make throughout the story. While there was a love triangleish thing, it was never really a love triangle because you could just tell where the real chemistry was and you knew that Rosie knew it too. Although I will say, as always, I picked the wrong guy. ALWAYS.
And of course, I'm a sucker for a good road trip.
Like I said, I just really enjoyed How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. I thought it had a great combination of fun plot and realistic characters who were getting life experience for the first time and growing because of it. So if you like contemporaries and road trips and realistic characters, definitely pick up How My Summer Went Up in Flames. It's a great debut and I can't wait to read Famous Last Words.
Rosie is in a bit of a dilemma from the start. She’s found herself in trouble with the law, her ex, his family, and has been served a temporary restraining order after causing his car to set on fire. Well, isn’t that a rough patch?
To keep from any more harm, she then goes off on a road trip with her childhood best friend and his two buddies. The more distance between her and her ex, the better is what her and her family thinks. As I progressed into this story, I really enjoyed the witty humor and banter between the characters…but the set-up for the road trip may have been slightly hard to take serious when it comes to a seventeen year old girl and three guys. Or maybe I’m just an over-protective parent? However, Rosie’s mom and her never-ending check-ins did seem realistic. I did want to imagine the characters older at times, though. But that was just me.
I admit I wasn’t fond of Rosie in the beginning of the story. Her attitude turned me off at times--clingy, over-reacting, judgmental--but she developed through passing time and grew into a likeable character that I wanted more of by the end.
The trip and places were fun. I could easily imagine most of the stops--most particularly places I’d even been to on vacation before--and I enjoyed reading about the mini-adventures along the way. I didn’t really see the romance coming at all until closer to the end. I mean, I knew it was building…the tension could be felt between Rosie and Logan… but not much gave way until closer to the end. Is this bad? Of course not. I wasn’t bombarded by insta-love and that made me happy. :)
I also found it cute that I could practically imagine the music along the way. It was a topic picked on often. :P
It was an entertaining ride-along of a read and I look forward to reading more of Doktorski’s work in the future.
P.S. That cover is one of my favorites this year, too! So adorable!
This was a perfect summer read and surprised me on how much I loved it once I finished it. These type of books are exactly the type I like to read when I'm looking for a light, fluffy read. Plus the witty banter between all the characters was very funny. I would just start cracking up...it's hilarious, trust me.
I always love it when the protagonist has a guy best friend, it always bring a new element to the book that I love. Like its fun to joke around with a guy without it being romantic or venting all your problems to a guy and getting a different perspective from them then getting it from a girl. Matty was absolutely perfect for this but I felt he had a little crush in Rosie which is always bound to happen sometime or another. But Matty was just incredibly sweet that halfway through the book I switched from Team Logan to Team Matty (I always have to pick sides...I'm sorry!) even if I knew it wasn't going to happen which just made me feel for Matty more! WHY CAN'T I HAVE MATTY TO MYSELF!?
Logan was another story. I was rooting for him, but then I switched and then I switched back. I knew Rosie was going to end up with him but I wish there was more time with them together without all the mixed emotions that Rosie had about him. For example, if they were together would it last? Or should I even go for it? Or even considering going out with Matty even if she knows that it's probably not gonna happen, so why does she even think about it? And then she's wasting her time thinking about being with Matty! I wanted her to just go for it with Logan, even if she is impulsive.
Ughhh I can't wait to read more from this author!
After reading this, I realize I need to stop reading good books because when I finish I always get upset.
I love a good road trip book. I don’t know many YA fans that don’t. They speak to the need of adventure in all of us. How My Summer Went Up in Flames was everything that I love in a good road trip book and more!
Rosie is the type of character that you can’t help but love. She’s a lot of fun and maybe just a tiny crazy, but the good kind of crazy. Rosie’s personality was infectious and I really couldn’t wait to see what she’d do next. I loved that the TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) was handled with more humor than angst. She does spend some time raging, pouting, and trying to understand her ex’s motives, but it’s still written in a light and fun tone.
The boys were unique. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about them at first or how I was supposed to feel about them. I ended up loving each and every one of them, though. I was happy to find out that there isn’t a ton of romance in How My Summer Went Up in Flames as well. It’s more about Rosie finding herself and getting past what her ex boyfriend did to her.
I adored all the road trip elements of the book. Especially because they travel to Pigeon Forge, TN and Dollywood, which are basically in my back yard. It’s always so fun to see the places you know and love in books. It’s been quite awhile since I read a road trip book that actually spends so much of the book on the trip. They visited so many fun and out of the ordinary places. I thought Spencer’s excitement and knowledge of each stop added a lot for me.
Overall, How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski was a super entertaining read. It’s really a perfect book for summer.
I loved, loved, loved, loved everything about this novel. Funny, endearing, rateable, funny, frustrating, and funny.
The novel starts off with Rosie getting served a temporary restraining order put against her by her ex bf. He cheated on her with some blonde "slut" and she took a box of his things and set the box on fire, somehow causing the car to get caught on fire. She still tries to contact him and is finally whisked away by her neighbor (kinda sorta brother) on a read trip from Jersey to Arizona.
The road trip is funny. As Rosie's learning her life lessons, she's also learning more about herself. I liked Rosie from the beginning. I can totally see her being my friend. She's witty, sarcastic and funny. I like that. I liked the kinda sorta romances in the novel and the different scenarios.
The boys, I loved the boys! The interaction between them and chemistry between all the characters was just brilliant. It's something hard to get when you add a bunch of guys. I think it was nailed in this novel.
Have I mentioned I loved it?? I love the novel. Definitely recommending it to anyone! I hope another one is made!!
This book was adorable and fun and fast and light. A perfect summer read about a girl sent on a road trip to get away from her cheating ex-boyfriend and the temporary restraining order he serves her with. The only problem is that she's going across country with 3 boys, one is her best friend and two are complete strangers. There is an itinerary, country music, motels, sightseeing, cute boys, an escape attempt, limited cell-phone service, a mysterious cowboy, lots of stars, and perhaps a kiss or two. We also get a bit of detail from the boys' lives, some figuring out of the future, and some growth from our MC. If you're headed to the beach or pool for the summer, this is the perfect book to take along with you. It's not too deep or emotional, easy to pick up and put down, and already out in paperback. I gave How My Summer Went Up in Flames 3.5 stars.
That awkward moment where you desperately want to love a book but end up feeling indifferent towards it. I was totally psyched for How My Summer Went Up In Flames by debut young adult author Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. Yet, I ended up feeling super irritated during the first half. I enjoyed the end. But, I never really cared too much for the main character, instead Rosalita just grated on my nerves the whole time. However, this book mostly keeps it light and does make for a fun summer read, overall thanks to the secondary characters. Read the rest of my review here Review link goes live 4.1.13
How My Summer Went Up in Flames is a very funny and entertaining read. Rosie is a bit too impulsive for my liking, but I really liked the boys and Avery. This book was enjoyable, but lacks depth. It's a good book, nonetheless.