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The Summer of Secrets

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  181 ratings  ·  82 reviews
'A wonderfully atmospheric first novel' Claire Fuller
'An evocative and atmospheric coming-of-age story' Carys Bray

The summer the Dovers move in next door, sixteen-year-old Helen's lonely world is at once a more thrilling place. She is infatuated with the bohemian family, especially the petulant and charming daughter Victoria.

As the long, hot days stretch out in front of th
Kindle Edition, 351 pages
Published August 13th 2015 by Transworld Digital
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3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  181 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite a slow moving read, not as pacey as I would normally like, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it nevertheless. Sixteen year old Helen lives with her father and they have quite a quiet lifestyle, almost boring in fact. That is until the arrival of the Dovers who are renting a house nearby. A wild bohemian family, they are laid back and casual and Helen is immediately enthralled by them and Victoria Dover in particular. Victoria is 15 and seems to be everything that Helen is not.

The auth
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Summer of Secrets is a darkly atmospheric tale of growing up, secrets of the past, and the impact they have on those involved.

This is not a quick thrill of a book, but quite a slow moving, descriptive and somewhat unnerving story that gets under your skin. It took me a few days to read, but it stayed with me, following me around like a rain cloud hanging over me wherever I went.

It is very much a character led story, with an interesting mix of very real feeling characters, and explores the dy

This is a great read, but be aware its very slow at the beginning. You may feel like giving up but its well worth sticking with.

We have all at some time had friends who have influenced us. Led us to do something that maybe we thought about later.

In some ways this is an unsettling read and gets you a little anxious and nervous.

It has two timelines in this book. A prior time and a recent time which sometimes got me a little confused until I got used to the authors way or writing.

Secrets and lies.
Liz Barnsley
The Summer of Secrets is a slow burning, hauntingly atmospheric novel - a coming of age tale with a lot of emotional resonance and a real feel for the teenage mentality.

Told in two timelines, we see the relationship between Helen, on holiday and ignored pretty much by her Dad - and Victoria - a girl she meets whilst there. The two become friends, Victoria's family fascinates Helen and she becomes very obsessive about the friendship. Then something happens...something that affects Helen's whole l
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This is a book to be experienced. It evokes and recreates for all the senses those endless teenage summer days, the awkwardness and self-consciousness, the intensity of teenage female friendships, the teetering at the edge of adulthood, the excitement of the unusual. Every page is suffused with a stifling heat - the heat of the sun coupled with the tension, much of it driven by the intensity of the relationships and the sexual undercurrents, that makes it into a pressure cooker waiting to explod ...more
David Reviews
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I absolutely fell for this wonderfully atmospheric book. It is beautifully written and reminds us of school days and dreamy long hot English summer holidays. The whole book was just a delight from the cover to the last page. We can even forgive Sarah Jasmon the final part of the story where it all becomes so stunningly sad.

Sixteen year old Helen is not looking forward to her summer holidays. She has remained living with her unhappy father after her mother left him. Helen is lonely with no friend
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jasmon was published on 13 August 2015 in paperback by Black Swan (an imprint of Transworld), and is the author's debut novel.

Sometimes slow, often evocative and always beautifully written; The Summer of Secrets is a coming-of-age story set during the summer months of 1983 and is interwoven with the present-day life of lead character Helen.

In 1983, Helen is a lonely, quite introverted girl who lives with her father. Her mother left some time ago. It is the summer h
Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on [Between My Lines]

I have a bit of a conflicted feel about this book, parts were FAB but at the same time I struggled to read it at times. So let’s just go with a list of pros and cons and you can see exactly what I’m talking about.

First Line of The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jasmon:
"So much blue."

The Pros of The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jasmon:
The writing gave me shivers at the start. It’s descriptive and really carries you right into the setting. There
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sixteen year old Helen doesn't have any friends from school to spend the summer holidays with. Her parents have split up, her Mum moved away and Helen lives with just her Dad who is busy working on his boat. When the Dover family move in next door they seem exciting to Helen and provide a welcome distraction from her loneliness. But something happens during that summer, something that changes everything.

This is a very impressive debut novel and I loved all the characters, especially Helen. The
Rebecca McNutt
This book is well-written and a very intriguing mystery, and it was written in a really vibrant way.
Sarah Jasmon has written a stunning debut novel evocative of youth, the long hot days we all insist lasted all summer long, the search for friendship and acceptance and the ache of loneliness. It's almost a coming of age novel but it has a small part set now and a much greater part set in the 1970s.

The main character Helen really resonated with me, I am almost embarrassed to admit how much of her I could see myself in.

The part which begins in the present day sees Helen as an adult, she seems to
Bernadette Robinson
Thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. I gave this a 4 stars or 8/10.

Told as a dual time frame story with alternating modern day and past told at the same time. Helen is a lonely teenager who lves with her father, she has few friends that she can claim as her own. Enter the Dover family they live a carefree lifestyle completely opposite to Helen.

Helen sparks up a friendship wth Victoria and as I read the story, I found myself try
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, kindle, n, net-galley
Helen is bored, living with her father as her mother has moved away. He spends a lot of time with his boat and she feels a bit neglected. When Victoria and her family move in next door she is thrilled. They seem so exciting and enticing. The descriptive style takes you back to your own childhood summers. The characters are so interesting and well drawn.
But after a tragedy everyone disappears including her father. What happened? It affects the rest of Helen’s life.
After 30 years Victoria reappear
Jo Barton
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1983 Helen is an introverted sixteen year old living a rather sad existence. Her mother is no longer on the scene having left the family home some time ago, leaving both Helen and her father with a palpable air of abandonment. Helen is apathetic and the ennui of a summer holiday stretching ahead of her offers no charm or promise of anything resembling fun. That is, until, the enigmatic Dover family, move into one of the nearby canal cottages, bursting into Helen's life with a bohemian air of ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sarah Jasmon has written a wonderfully atmospheric coming-of-age story set mostly in the 1980s. She has described perfectly the long hot summers that we all think we remember. In 2013, Helen sees a poster for an art exhibition by Victoria Dover which affects her profoundly. Her reaction makes it clear that something has happened with Victoria which has had an effect on her throughout her life. We are transported back to the long hot summer of where we start to learn just what that something is.

Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this story we follow Helen, in 1983 and the present.
In 1983 Helen is 16, she lives with her father and has no friends then she meets the Dover family and becomes friends with Victoria, who is the same age as her. Even though they have their ups and downs they have a wonderful summer together, until something happens one night. Helen wakes up the next day not remembering what had happened and the Dovers have disappeared.

Then in the present she see's an opening for an art exhibition which wil
Louisa Treger
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This compelling debut evokes the enchanted atmosphere of the summers of our youth: hot, dreamy days, when anything seems possible. There’s a dark, brooding undercurrent, beautifully sustained and coming to the fore at the climax.
Sixteen year old Helen is bored and isolated; her mother recently left home, her father is preoccupied with his own troubles, and she finds it hard to fit in at school. When the bohemian Dover family moves in nearby, she is thrilled, and she becomes increasingly drawn t
Joanne Robertson
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is a really atmospheric book that brought back memories of my own teenage years in the 80s and the feel of those long summer days when there was no school.
In 1983 Helen becomes friends with the mysterious Drover children, especially the 15 year old Victoria. They have appeared almost overnight to live in a cottage by the canal. Helen is bored and living with just her Dad so the excitement of this almost magical family becomes what her summer is about. In the present day Helen comes across t
This is a beautifully written coming-of-age mystery with a dash of thrilleresque plot and a stark reminder of how relationships and events from our earlier years burden the present or future.

Helen is intrigued by the Dovers, a family that unexpectedly move into the neighbourhood with their secrets, mayhem and friendship. The repercussions of that summer and the sudden disappearance of the family has far-reaching effects on Helen's life.

This has it all: great, flawed characters, twists and unexpe
Graeme Shimmin
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-novels
This novel will stay with you for a long time.

Did you ever want to be exciting and fun, but your stupid parents were getting in the way and spoiling everything?

Then you'll relate to 16-year old Helen, the narrator of The Summer of Secrets

Did you ever wish you could be part of a cool family who always seemed to be doing interesting things?

Then you'll love the Dover family who move in near to Helen.

Do you secretly regret being so conventional, and wish you could turn your back on it all and live
Christina Banach
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Told in dual timelines, this gently unfolding coming-of-age story pulls you into its web with each turn of the page. On the surface it’s an evocative tale of a carefree summer in the 1980s, a story full of period detail and charting the developing friendships between the teenaged main character, Helen, and the bohemian Dover family. However, beneath the depiction of lazy summer days spent by the canal there’s a much darker and deeper story at its heart. Atmospheric, intriguing and beautifully wr ...more
Beth Miller
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book beautifully captures the emotions and senses of the half-forgotten summers of our youth. Those dreamy, lazy days, the stifling boredom which is relieved when someone intriguing moves in nearby, the depth of the pain when that person toys with your feelings... ah, it took me right back!

Terrifically well-written and perfectly imagined, the feelings of the book stayed with me long after I had finished reading.
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
Helen meets Victoria and her siblings in her garden in the summer of 1983. Thus begins a summer of excitement, experimentation, friendship and heartache. Helen is living with her father after her mother leaves, Victoria lives with her mother. The story toggles between the present day and that summer. Secrets are revealed and hearts are broken. As a debut novel, Sarah Jasmon has written an absolute winner. A fantastic read that draws the reader in from the first chapter.
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Provided by Netgalley and publisher. Helen is lonely and a bit of a misfit so is really happy when the Bohemian Dovers move in nearby - but only for the summer. The author captures Helen's awkwardness and the Dover's couldn't care less and selfish attitude so well. What a brilliant debut - a fantastic book with characters who will be hard to forget!
Karen Mace
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperbacks
This is one of those books that slowly, but surely gets under your skin to keep your attention from start to finish. Its the story of one summer and the repercussions of that summer many years later.

written extremely well with many twists and turns this was an enjoyable but sometimes dark story that I'd highly recommend
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely coming-of-age story about one long hot summer in 1983, when Helen bored and lonely meets the bohemian and eccentric Dover family and is immediately cast under their spell especially the capricious Victoria. A wonderfully atmospheric first novel.
Linda Hill
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A no spoilers review here of a gorgeous debut
Renita D'Silva
Poignant and beautiful
Jackie Law
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Summer of Secrets, by Sarah Jasmon, is simmering, evocative and charged with an undercurrent of apprehension. The author perfectly captures the concerns of the teenage protagonist, Helen, as she struggles to deal with her parents’ separation and rejection by her peers. When the bohemian Dover family appear on Helen’s doorstep it is no surprise that she is drawn to them. Their friendship will prove devastating for both families.

Helen is sixteen years old and is looking forward to a summer of
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written coming-of-ages mystery story. It is very atmospheric, also very dark and it is becoming terrible sad at the end.

Helen is fifteen and she is not looking forward for her long lonely summer holiday. She lives with her father after the separation of her parents. Then a bohemian family moves in one of the nearby cottages. Helen meets first Pippa, one of the siblings, a girl who is all chatter and excitement. Will is her twin, and then there is the charismatic and good-lo
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I'm a writer, I live on a boat, and I fit a surprising amount of reading into my time. Luckily, my kids like reading as well, so they don't mind too much when a book is so good that I forget to make dinner. The dogs aren't so understanding: I often feel a nose nudging me when it's time for a walk.

My debut novel, The Summer of Secrets, will be published on August 13th this year.