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Summer Cannibals

2.84  ·  Rating details ·  207 ratings  ·  64 reviews
A bold and gripping literary debut about three very different sisters who return to their family home to face imminent tragedy and their tumultuous pasts.

Summoned to their magnificent family home on the shores of Lake Ontario--a paradisiacal mansion perched on an escarpment above the city--three adult sisters, George, Jax, and Pippa, come together in what seems like an act
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Penguin Books Canada
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Average rating 2.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  207 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Summer Cannibals is a tough book to rate and describe. On one hand, it is well-written, and I was intrigued by the original premise. The characters are rather hard to connect to, but I don’t typically mind that. Trying to understand the thoughts of these characters was fun, especially at first. I loved how the house and the gardens around it are characters in the book, and I thought that was a creative insight. I also enjoyed the dysfunctional family drama... to an extent.

What is harder to rate
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
2.5 stars.

I wasn’t deterred by the low Goodreads ratings for The Summer Cannibals because they seemed to be based on many reviewers’ dislike for the characters. I don’t mind novels with difficult or unpleasant characters as long as the writing is good and the story makes sense. Hobson is a very talented writer but I didn’t end up enjoying the characters or story much. The story started off well, with David and Margaret’s three adult daughters returning home to deal with a crisis involving
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

Loco; locoed; locoing; locos – definition: verb: to make frenzied or crazy

So, cray-cray!

Tracing back to royalties and referred to as ‘handsome’ because they resonated good breeding, the family of David and Margaret Blackford will meet at the family home on the shores of Lake Ontario for a little R&R.

This home happens to be a mansion with lush gardens that can be toured by tourists at times as well as on special occasions, such as Easter. David is the avid gardener in the family and
Ellen Gail
A pretty cover and sisters with a tumultuous past returning home? This could have been so good!

It wasn't though. No 288 page book should use the word "garden" 119 times.

Mainly, the biggest obstacle in this is that every single character is an asshole. But not like an interesting asshole. Unlikeable characters are encouraged if / when they remain interesting. Take for example my recent read, Baby Teeth. Hardly a likeable character from cover to cover. Still a great book though.

Like jeeeeeez, look
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: canadian, giveaways, arc
First, I received this book through giveaways so thanks for that. Secondly, what the fuck did I just read? I guess ill start with the only positive thing i can say about this book, it was well written. But it was not for me, the first half was incredibly boring and than it just got really fucked up and didn't really seem to have a definitive ending. Not one character was very likable, escpecically david i dont think ive ever wanted to throat punch a fictional character more in my life. All i can ...more
Mel (Epic Reading)
I missed the boat on this one by a million miles. I'm sure some people will say there is a lot to get out of Summer Cannibals. They will tell you the genius of Melanie Hobson's novel is her use of literary devices, comparisons, allegories, etc. But here's the thing; that only works if the story is remains interesting.

The one thing that Summer Cannibals does have is realism. These are real people, and yes they exist. Whether you find them shallow, snobby, or otherwise abhorrent; the
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
4.5 stars

I was thrilled to win this book in a Goodreads Giveaway (thank you Penguin Random House Canada!). I had an inkling it would be a superb read, and my inkling was not wrong.

This is a story of one family, the Blackfords. It isn’t their complete story though, rather it focuses predominantly on a 4 day period in which 3 siblings return to the home of their childhood, because of a crisis involving the youngest.

They were sisters: Georgina, Jacqueline and Philippa. Adults now, and with families
Robin Bonne
3.5- In a mansion on the banks of Lake Ontario, a wealthy family comes together when one of the three daughters, Pippa returns from abroad. The other two sisters, Georgina and Jax, return home to see her. Their father, a narcissistic patriarch, refuses to cancel his planned garden tour for his daughters’ homecoming. Then the secrets come out.

This family certainly has their share of problems and unresolved dreams. I found them all to be very unlikeable. The normalization of domestic violence by
Robin Bonne
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5- In a mansion on the banks of Lake Ontario, a wealthy family comes together when one of the three daughters, Pippa returns from abroad. The other two sisters, Georgina and Jax, return home to see her. Their father, a narcissistic patriarch, refuses to cancel his planned garden tour for his daughters’ homecoming. Then the secrets come out.

This family certainly has their share of problems and unresolved dreams. I found them all to be very unlikeable. The normalization of domestic violence by
Lynne Lambdin
May 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
My hopes were so high for this one. The cover is porn. The title is enticing. The synopsis engaging. But...I did not like this book hardly at all.

After struggling to read the book, I can't really say that I could sum up the story. None of it really seemed complete if that makes sense? Hobson had so many little stories about each character going on that I don't really feel like much of anything happened. And what did happen, I couldn't quite comprehend or understand the point. Hell, I am not even
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
If I had to label Summer Cannibals, I would probably classify it as a family drama about a family in crisis. David and Margaret Blackford's mansion is on the shores of Lake Ontario. They have summoned their three adult daughters (George, Jax, Pippa) to spend a four day weekend at their family home. Each daughter comes with her own emotional baggage, which is nothing compared to the parents' outlook on life. The word cannibal very well describes these people. It was difficult to spend time ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
via my blog:
'They were handsome and they knew it to be true, and theirs was a world that rewarded such things.'

David and Margaret Blackford are waiting for the return of their three daughters, George, Jax and Pippa. Something is wrong with the youngest, Pippa who is pregnant with her fifth child living in New Zealand, and she has phoned asking to come home. Naturally this troubles Margaret, already exasperated with her husband’s ‘mania’ about his grand
Stephanie (earlgreyreads)
This unique story takes place in Hamilton Ontario, where David and Margaret Blackwood are at home in their sprawling estate awaiting the arrival of their three daughters. Sisters Georgina, Jax, and Pippa are returning home for the Summer since the youngest, Pippa, is pregnant, unwell, and in need of support. David is preparing the gardens for a tour scheduled for the following day, which causes tension with his wife and leads to mishaps later on.

The story unfolds slowly, with more and more
Kyrstie Pounder
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book as a giveaway. When I read the synopsis I was very excited to read this, I love reading books that are set in Ontario and I always enjoy when family skeletons are exposed.

What I loved:

The opening line and first chapter did an amazing job of setting up the story and the setting. I was very engaged in the writing and found myself flying through chapters. I loved the descriptions of the house and gardens.

What I didn't love:

I found the characters so flawed and unlikable that I
Cherise Wolas
Dark, atmospheric, and disturbing. There's the gorgeous ancestral home with its lush gardens. There are the parents, who have endured decades of a marriage with its secrets and sexual appetites and violence, and there are the three adult daughters, George, Jax, and Pippa, who all have secrets of their own, and are all dealing with troubles and disappointments. For the first time in years, the family is gathered together because Pippa, pregnant with her 6th child, has arrived from New Zealand, ...more
Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
Thank you to PenguinRandom House Canada for a free copy of this book for review. I was initially interested in this book because it was supposed to be about three adult children returning to their family home and joining their parents to deal with a family crisis. This ultimately is what the story is about but the plot gets bogged down with so much dysfunction in the family. I don’t need to like the characters to like a book but these characters were not only unlikeabke but also seemed to ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really good, but, omg, these people need help, serious mental health care help! They might actually live in their heads more then I do! lol. Seriously, very good, very thought-provoking. I loved seeing the different family members experiencing the same event, how the event is totally different from each point of view. Virile king or aging "daddy"? Manipulation or survival? Art or a disgrace? Depression or suppression? Ivory tower or the daily grind?

The one thing about this book that really upset
Well, okay. This book is neither as good nor as bad as people are saying, although I understand why it's polarizing. The prose is actually quite nice and I think Hobson is a good writer. As for the plot however, it's a bit confused. It's too aggressive for regular readers of family dramas, too tame for those who like psychological thrillers, too dry and/or creepy for anyone looking for eroticism, and too restrained to be considered horror. So what is it? A week spent with a terribly awkward ...more
Susie Williams
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
(I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)

This wasn't the book for me. I should start by saying that Melanie Hobson is an extremely talented writer and this book is beautifully written... My review certainly isn't a reflection on her talent. I just didn't like the plot and had a difficult time getting engaged in the story.

I admit, I was originally sucked in by the beautiful cover and the synopsis made the book sound like something I'd enjoy: A
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Summer Cannibals
by Melanie Hobson
Black Cat
4.3 / 5.0

Wow. I loved this very dark, but enthralling story. Its fucked up but that's why I loved it. This is a story of a wealthy family and the secrets they can't seem to their perverse and abusive tendencies.
David and Maria Blackford have a home in a rural area surrounded by a beautifully tended garden. They give guided tours of their gardens, which David leads. When a tour bus breaks down and the tourists start roaming his garden unattended he
I have finished this book with mixed feelings. It depicts a family battleground of strong personalities locked in a toxic dynamic. I understand it intends to provoke and disturb. At times the writing is excellent and compelling. I picked it up for the local setting and out of curiosity eager to discover new talent. I found the characters and the family quite repulsive and I persevered reluctantly in this, what seemed at times an Edward St. Aubyn territory, but I finished the novel unsatisfied. ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This may be the physically most beautiful book I've ever held in my hands. The cover, the deckled pages, the thick paper. It really is a masterpiece. The story it contains has its own beauty in the writing but not the subject matter. This family has some seriously dark secrets and are incredibly messed up. Some of the behaviour was quite bizarre especially that of the parents. It's a shocking and often vulgar story which I can see wouldn't be to everyone's taste. Pretty outside and pretty ugly ...more
Kathleen Gray
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
George, Jax, and Pippa- three sisters- and their parents David and Margaret- are one of the most dysfunctional families around. Good grief these people are unlikable to the extent that you will wonder if that's the point. Thanks goodness they don't get together very often. There are secrets, lies, bad behavior, inappropriate behaviors and so on. And only over the course of four days. I liked Hobson's writing style. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. This one is for fans of the bad family ...more
Beck Fraser
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Wow what have I just made myself read? It is a story where three grown up daughters return home to see each other. It’s no wonder they are as screwed up as they are with parents like this! 'They were handsome and they knew it to be true, and theirs was a world that rewarded such things.'
I spent the whole time thinking, I must find one redeeming feature in these people. They are beautiful and spoilt and made me happy to be normal. I wouldn’t particularly recommend this book and give it 2 stars.
Ligia Perez
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If dysfunctional families with a privileged life and hating the characters to a novel is your type of read than this is for you. I enjoyed loathing the 3 sisters of this novel because of how odd their relationships are with each other and other family members. Great summer read!

Thank you Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for this E-ARC!
Sep 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
I don't know why I finished this book. I think I was hoping that there would be some sort of redemption for at least one of the characters. But no. Every single character was horrible and stayed horrible. Well, maybe one was only unfortunate due to horrible experiences but not personally horrible. What a miserable book about horrible people. I actually just threw the book in the trash can--I don't want anyone else to suffer it, so I refuse to even put it in a little free library.

Did I mention
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
This is Melanie Hobson's first novel. This story is about a broken family, broken hearts, broken vows, broken flowers, and a broken window. Three sisters come back to their childhood home in Hamilton, Ontario due to a family crisis. One sister is pregnant and suffers from pre-natal depression. She comes home in hope to get away from her husband and find family support. One sister takes advantage of the crisis to come home to help and get away from her routine. One sister comes back home to see ...more
Shannon Kirk
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. Vivid and colorful.
Paulina (aspiringliterati)
"Summer Cannibals" by Melanie Hobson is a tale, written with skilled penmanship, of the rotten underbelly of what is seemingly a pristine family life in a picturesque mansion on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Sisters Georgie and Jax return to their family house when their youngest sibling Pippa flees her family life in New Zealand, pregnant (again) and severely depressed, seeking refuge in her parents’ mansion back in Canada. There they will all be forced to face themselves as well as each other as
Hayley Guertin
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
"They were handsome and they knew it to be true, and theirs was a world that rewarded such things" (Hobson).

Summer Cannibals is an enthralling story of control, power and selfishness. It follows the Blackford family as they navigate 4 days together again in their childhood home, bringing them back to their original tendencies.

The novel starts off with an early memory of their calm, joyful past, before throwing us into the tumultuouspresent that is their lives.

I have to say, the book was fairly
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