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The Summer of Everything

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Comic book geek Wesley Hudson excels at two things: slacking off at his job and pining after his best friend, Nico. Advice from his friends, ‘90s alt-rock songs, and online dating articles aren't helping much with his secret crush. And his dream job at Once Upon a Page, the local used bookstore, is threatened when a coffeeshop franchise wants to buy the property. To top it off, his annoying brother needs wedding planning advice. When all three problems converge, Wes comes face-to-face with the one thing he’s been avoiding—adulthood.

Now, confronted with reality, can Wes balance saving the bookstore and his strained sibling relationship? Can he win the heart of his crush, too?

296 pages, Paperback

First published September 8, 2020

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About the author

Julian Winters

17 books805 followers
Julian Winters is the author of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award-winning Running With Lions; the Junior Library Guild Selections How to Be Remy Cameron and The Summer of Everything; and the forthcoming Right Where I Left You. A self-proclaimed comic book geek, Julian currently lives outside of Atlanta, where he can be found reading or watching the only two sports he can follow—volleyball and soccer..



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Displaying 1 - 30 of 327 reviews
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,443 reviews29.4k followers
October 4, 2020
When nothing in your life is going the way you want to, how do you find the courage to fight for it? Wesley Hudson needs to figure that out in Julian Winters' new YA novel, The Summer of Everything .

There’s one month left until Wes starts college. He needs to figure out what he wants to do with his life, because his father keeps suggesting potential college majors. But more than that, Wes is determined this will be the time he finally admits his feelings for his best friend, Nico. They have a month until Nico goes to Stanford and Wes goes to UCLA.

Wes can’t seem to find the courage to tell Nico how he feels, no matter how hard he tries. He's not even sure if Nico feels the same way about him anyway, so is it worth risking their friendship? To make matters worse, Wes’ beloved bookstore is on the verge of closing, and his older brother is getting married and his fiancé is hoping that the brothers can put their animosity aside. It's a lot of uncertainty and chaos for Wes to deal with, at a particularly stressful time.

As he tries to figure out how to save the bookstore with help of the motley crew of friends who work there, he needs to try and take action on everything else in his life, too. Will he succeed?

I was really hooked on this story. So many of us have had that crush on someone we care about and have felt totally paralyzed when it comes to expressing our feelings. Winters really captured those emotions, as you struggle to figure out whether what your heart wants and what your head tells you can mesh.

Winters creates such great, diverse characters you can see in your mind’s eye, and you root for them all the way. There was a lot going on in this book, and the truth is, I could have done without the brother storyline, but it helped show another dimension to Wes. But overall, this was such a good story, and I also recommend Winters' previous books, How to Be Remy Cameron and Running with Lions .

I was fortunate to be part of the blog tour for this book. Interlude Press and Storygram Tours provided me a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,654 reviews617 followers
February 23, 2021
Julian Winters is the king of adorable, fluffy contemporary romance. This was such an uplifting, heartwarming and, above all, nerdy and fun read. The main character is amazing - it's impossible to not love this gay nerd who's named after Wesley Crusher. And the setting? Most of the book is set in an indie bookstore! I feel like Julian Winters' writing gets exponentially better - this is perfect if you want to read something wholesome.

Rep: biracial gay MC, multi-gender attracted Mexican-American love interest, biracial side character, fat side character, Black side character, queer Hawaiian (Polynesian-Filippino-Japanese) side character, aroace side character, Black lesbian side character, non-binary side character

CWs: illness (cancer) of a side character, discussions of racism
August 28, 2021
| | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | |

3 ¾ stars

“Secretly, he wants to be the hero. He wants to be the difference-maker. All his life, he's wanted to be the person rescuing someone or something. But who rescues the rescuer?”

The Summer of Everything tells a very wholesome story, part coming of age, part romance, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Our protagonist, Wesley Hudson, has just graduated from high school and is eager to make the most of his summer. While his parents are abroad, he has plenty of freedom and time to figure out what he wants to major in at UCLA. Wes hopes that during the summer he will just enjoy his time working able at Once Upon a Page, an indie bookstore that means the world to him, and maybe finally confessing his feelings to his best-friend, Nico.
When he discovers that a coffeeshop franchise is intent on buying out Once Upon a Page, Wes is crushed. When his attempts to come clean to Nico also don't go as hoped and his older and 'golden' brother begins checking up on him, Wes feels understandably stressed.
Alongside the other Once Upon a Page employees Wes hatches a plan to save the store, and the experience brings all of them closer together. When the end of summer approaches however Wes feels the threat of 'adulthood' all the more strongly.
This book is a truly enjoyable read. Wes' geekiness make him into a likeable protagonists, while his insecurities about his future make him all the more relatable. The mega-crush he harbours towards Nico will have him pining, a lot. Thankfully he has plenty of friends to keep his mind occupied, and while romance doesn't play a part in his story, character growth and platonic relationship are at the fore of his narrative. Wes contends with family pressure, wanting to succeed or to choose the 'right' path, as well as with his misgivings towards his older brother, whom he sees as an impeccable adult.
The friends in this novel are wonderful. Their banter is entertaining, especially when they are working together and talking about music, and their conversations are guaranteed to make you smile.They are also incredibly supportive of one another. While Wes is the focus of the novel, his friends are also given their own storylines, which made them all the more dimensional.
I loved the self-awareness of this novel, the way Wes would often compare his life to a Netflix movie (usually in a 'I wish' sort of way), and while the structure of his story is very reminiscent of those movies, the narrative didn't feel clichéd (perhaps because it was so meta). I also really appreciated the comic book references (I was a former comic aficionado) and to YA books & authors (even Holly Black gets a mention!). Winters treats his characters anxieties and fears without condescension and without minimising their feelings. And this book is so wonderfully diverse: we have a gay mc, bisexual, lesbian, ace, and non-binary side characters. Winters also has scenes in which Wes discusses race and privilege with his colleague, Zay (Wes is biracial and 'passes').
I wish we'd gotten more scenes between Wes & Nico and Wes & his brother but that is a very minor 'criticism'. What I could have done without was the quasi-love-triangle, but hey, it didn't really interfere with my overall reading experience (which was very positive).
Overall, this one was a sweet read. The romance was cute and so were the friendships, there is humor, there is some drama, and an overaching theme of self-acceptance and self-discovery.
If you are a fan of Kacen Callender, Lev A.C. Rosen, or YA books like You Should See Me in a Crown, you should definitely consider picking this one up.

Profile Image for hiba.
223 reviews294 followers
September 18, 2020
CWs: past death of a parent, side character with cancer

Rep: biracial (Black/white) gay MC, bi/pan Mexican-American love interest, fat side character, Black side character, aroace side character, bisexual side character, Black lesbian side character, non-binary side character, mlm Hawaiian (Polynesian/Filipino/Japanese) side character, biracial side character, Chinese side character

If you're looking for a light, fun, fluffy summery read then this is most definitely the book for you!

Wes is our highly likable and relatable 18-year-old MC who just wants to live in the moment, not think too hard about a future he's uncertain of, try to save the beloved bookstore he works at from shutting down and maybe possibly gather up the courage to finally ask out his best friend Nico.

All in all, this book delivers on exactly what it promises; the vibes are soft and nice, the romance is quite adorable and there are heartwarming friendships throughout. My favorite thing about this novel was how the author was so effortlessly able to weave in the diversity in his story; it felt so natural, like it was an organic part of the story rather than forced in.

Unfortunately, this story didn't entirely work for me...and I really wish it could have. A few issues I had:

✨ This was way more slice-of-lifey than I was expecting. Like, there's literally a chapter in which Wes does nothing but roam around his city. Ngl, I was a bit bored several times while reading.

✨ Apart from the rep, the side characters weren't all that memorable for me.

✨ I'm all for slow-burn romances - and this one was very cute, don't get me wrong - but it didn't quite have the payoff I wanted.

✨ Wes' internal monologue got pretty repetitive at times.

Overall, if you're looking for a cute and super chill read with a wonderfully diverse cast and a sweet m/m romance, I'd still recommend this one!
Profile Image for Adri.
921 reviews804 followers
June 23, 2020
4.5 Stars

CWs : Some descriptions of anxiety and panic attacks, mentions of parental death (of a supporting character), some references to chronic disease (cancer) and its effects

As I live and breathe, Julian Winters has done it again. This is a wonderful, heart-warming story about friendship, self-discovery, and coming to meet the future head on even when you don't have all the answers.

The Summer of Everything is a story that interrogates what it means to grow up and be an adult, and it especially challenges the idea that adults have control and know exactly what they're doing, because they don't always! Wes' struggle to figure out what he wants to do with his life really speaks to the gray area young adults often inhabit, where they're "too young" to be taken seriously and yet "old enough" to know what's good for themselves.

As Wes says, "I'm adult enough for expectations, but not adult enough to know what I want."

Wes is terrified of what he doesn't know and what he can't control, which is why he clings so steadfastly to the things he cares about most: the bookstore, his friends, his love for his best friend Nico. Over the course of the story, he is learning that he has to let the future happen to him, because it is real and unavoidable. He can either succumb to it or be the one who shapes it.

This book is just even more of what Julian Winters does best: found family, A+ group dynamics, incredible banter, nostalgic summer fun, and a super sweet romance to top it all off. Wes definitely goes on a journey to figure out what he wants, but it was a journey I was glad to be on with him. Definitely recommend along with all of Julian Winters' work!
Profile Image for kav (xreadingsolacex).
177 reviews344 followers
September 10, 2020
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my opinion.

The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters is a YA contemporary novel about Wesley Hudson, an 18-year-old ball of chaos determined to make the most of his summer. This summer, Wes has three problems to solve: the fact that he has no idea what he envisions for his future, the unexpected reveal that Once Upon A Page, the local bookstore that has been his safe haven for as long as he can remember, is being closed down, and...oh...the fact that he's in love with his oblivious best friend, Nico Alvarez.

So here Wes is, stuck facing his worst nightmare - adulthood.

The Summer of Everything is an absolutely beautiful story that sends the reader on an emotional rollercoaster . Wes' journey is filled with friendship, family, heartache, romance, finding yourself, queerness, stubborn but lovable nerds, and more.

The Characters:

Wesley Hudson is going to UCLA in the fall, so he is determined to make the most of his summer. He will conquer adulthood; he will proclaim his love to his best friend; he will spend all his time at Once Upon A Page. Unfortunately, life's rarely that easy. Unexpectedly, Wes is forced to deal his older brother whom he cannot stand, and reconcile with the knowledge that his second home...his sanctuary is being snatched away from him. He's also forced to learn that he's not quite as prepared to proclaim his love to Nico as he thought.

Wes' character is simply perfection . He is a perpetual anxious mess with very flawed opinions on Tracy Chapman, and he is most certainly a stubborn comic book geek who brainwashes his younger friends, and he also has the capacity to love people and places on an entirely different scale.

Wes is the type of character the reader merely wants to protect. He is so passionate and intelligent and lovable...and he's also the single most oblivious boy to ever exist.

A large part of Wes' story is dedicated to his struggle with settling himself into adulthood. Not only does he have no idea what he's doing with his future, he has no idea what he's doing with his now .

If that's not relatable, I don't know what is. We desperately need more novels about characters at this age who have no fucking idea what to do with their lives.

Winters handles that theme perfectly. Wes' struggle with "being an adult" is brilliantly encapsulated in how it affects his bigger life decisions, as well as his day-to-day experiences. It is so intricately tied to his very essence as a character.

His journey just feels so...so perfectly him .

Nico Alvarez has been Wesley's best friend for, well, ever. Though he may be a geek as well, one who's obsessed with Pinterest at that, Nico is also unacceptably cool. He can effortlessly skateboard, keep his emotions in check, and beat you in a game of "who can drink the most Orange Crush?" He's the perfect older brother, and the perfect best friend. Loyal to a fault, Nico's energy automatically draws people to him.

Quite frankly, I cannot even begin to tell you just how much I love Nico. His character is simultaneously ~ quirky ~ and cool. There is just something so magical about his relationship Wes - about how loving he is. He has that older brother energy that makes you feel so protected and safe, yet he can also be a toddler causing mayhem.

Nico's character is so expansive , he contains multitudes of layers, some of which we may not have even seen. I genuinely could not hold my joy in whenever he appeared on the page; the amount of love I have for him surpasses the capabilities of my heart.

The rest of the crew: Ella, Anna, Zay, Cooper, Kyra, and Lucas are all brilliant as well. I love all of them just as I love the Boys, but three especially stood out to me: Zay, Cooper, and Lucas.

I cannot tell you why, but I can tell you it's true.

When Cooper was introduced, I was not prepared for a character with his ~ energy ~, in fact, I thought I'd end up hating him. Now I think he and Nico are likely my favorites of the novel, so look how that turned out I guess?

His character is, without a doubt, the most chaotic of the group, possibly one of the most chaotic characters of all-time, and I love him. At 16, he's the ~baby~ of the group, and this boy is most certainly a teenager.

His introduction almost makes him seem like someone the reader should be prepared to hate, when in reality he's just this sweet, innocent child (who really needs to stop getting high) with acceptable (*cough*ellaandwes*cough*) music taste and a big heart.

Zay may actually appear in the book a little less than Cooper, he left a lasting impact. While, yes, his and Wes' conversations on race and racism were so valuable and poignant, Zay, despite also being one of the youngest in the group, is really their wise old soul. He is brave enough to be honest and call people out on their shit; he offers advice that should not be capable of offering at his age; he has set his sights high and is determined to achieve his goals.

I think his duality of being mature beyond his years and a stubborn child, while also having enough sense to appreciate Tracy Chapman, solidified him as an absolute favorite of mine.

With Lucas ...I think it's impossible to not treasure their phenomenal growth throughout the novel. The way they essentially weave their way into the crew is unquestionably fantastic. Though we only got a snip-it of it, I am confident their story is beautiful.

So...the point? I require a spin-off about The Adventures of Zay, Cooper, and Lucas immediately. I'll be waiting Mr. Winters.

The Setting:

I don't know that I've ever dedicated an entire section of a review to setting before, at least not for a contemporary novel. The Summer of Everything, though, may have been the first time I've ever paid close attention to setting.

Winters gracefully goes into such detail to establish such an exceptional environment.

I am a California Kid, though I don't live down south with Wes and his pals. I have been to Santa Monica and L.A. a number of times before, though. Winters' intricate painting of Wes' world made it easy for me to visualize the Santa Monica I know, as well as the Santa Monica Wes knows.

I can honestly say that I have not understood the value, or the importance, of setting until now.


There is so much more to say, but this review is already ridiculously long.

The Summer of Everything is legitimately the perfect . This novel offers lovable misfits, passionate romance, badass friendships, powerful self-growth, and more.

It sends the reader on a rocky, stressful, emotional rollercoaster , and every second of the ride is worth it.

representation: gay, black MC ; latinx, queer (not specified) LI ; queer supporting characters (aroace, nonbinary, lesbian, bi) ; black supporting characters ; asian (not specificied) supporting character ; fat supporting character

content warnings: panic attacks, death of a parent, mentions of cancer, mentions of fatphobia and racism (challenged ofc)
Profile Image for Jordan.
66 reviews91 followers
June 2, 2021
*I received an eARC from Edelweiss+*
*Review does contain very minor/vaguespoilers*

I want to start by saying that I REALLY wanted to like this one. I've seen lots of people who like it. People who said when they finished they had "all the feels" at the end. However, I found myself only finishing this one because I was given an eARC and felt I needed to for a review.

I think the premise is amazing. Wes is 18, caught in the summer between Senior year of high school and Freshman year of college. He is madly in love with his best friend, Nico. He doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. But at least he has Once Upon a Page, the bookstore he grew up in and works at. But Once Upon a Page is about to be closed and converted into a Starbucks-esq coffee/tea chain store.

I found the overall delivery of this novel to fall flat. The characters felt like placeholder archetypes, there are too many plot points happening, Winter's describes EVERYTHING to a point is obnoxious, none of the plot points felt like the came to any conclusion, scenes jump around too much, and I would have rather read other character's stories/POV because Wes was just annoying.

Overall, I just didn't enjoy this book. Is it bad? No. Will I buy myself a copy? Probably not. Will I read other books by this author? Yes.

Below are more detailed points and my opinions on the book.

Let me get the good things out there first:
1. I really enjoyed Wes and Nico's friendship. It was sweet and comfortable. They are touchy feelie without ever having to throw out a "no-homo". I would have loved it of there was no romance between these two at all. I think their friendship is something that should be shown more, especially between males.

2. The premise was a fun idea. Wes and his friends/co-workers come together to save the book store they love so much.

3. Lots of diversity. Like, a whole bunch of it. Really great job here!

4. The writing was good. Very descriptive, but at the same time overly descriptive.

That's about all I enjoyed about it. I think Winter's laid the foundation for a lot of good things, but he never managed to fully construct anything solid. There were too many things happening. Too any ideas vying for a spot to be told. It felt messy and cluttered.

The things that I didn't like about this novel:
1. There was too much happening! Wes' feelings for Nico. Saving the bookstore. Wes trying to figure out if what he wants to do with his life. Drama between his friends. Side stories with his friends. His brother Leo's wedding. A lot was happening, and nothing felt like it came to a nice close.

2. For working in a bookstore, and apparently all the characters loving books, there was little to no book talk. The argued and discussed music a lot, but nothing about books. Sure, Wes LOVES comis and has a lot of opinions on them. But, I would have liked to seen more book talk and less music talk. It made it seem like an Empire Records rip off.

3. Speaking of Empire Records, just watch that movie because this book is basically that idea. I don't think that would be a bad thing if I felt like it had been executed better. It all just fell flat.

4. The wedding. Why was this even a side plot? And Leo and Wes never really seemed to have a moment where they settled their differences. Sure, Leo eventually apologizes and it seems like all will eventually be well, but it was just mashed up against everything else.

5. Wes wanting to tell Nico he likes (loves) him and wants to date him. Oh my god, this is the MOST annoying part of this book. Wes pines over Nico for 80% of the book before ANYTHING happens between them. And in the end Nico is the one that says he likes Wes first. It was just annoying and a let down.

6. The characters felt like placeholders. Each character is just this archetype with no real depth to them. You have: geeky boy who has a secret crush, goth punk girl who's secretly a softy, skater boy who everyone loves, spastic sidekick guy who is irritating but in a loving way, and the black friend (Zay really just felt like he is there for Wes to make a half hearted comparison of race against).

7. I would have rather read this from wither Cooper or Nico's POV. They felt more fleshed out and more interesting characters.

8. The writing was a but much. The 3rd person felt so disconnected from the story being told. I hated that Wes parents were always referred to by first name. Sometimes it felt like a more adult voice while other times it felt like a younger voice. I think first person would have been a better choice.

9. At the start there are points where it jumps into first person, which I believe is Wes writing notes to himself. It does this maybe 2-3 times in the firs few chapters then just never happens again! Really odd choice. Also, I did not like the "excerpts" form Wes' moms novels. They seemed out of place and had nothing to add to the story.

10. Winter's describes everything. Every building. Every person. Everything someone is wearing. His description left nothing to the imagination and felt controlling. It was like Winter's doesn't want the reader to use their own imagination to picture anything. I quickly becomes obnoxious.
Profile Image for Cassandra.
661 reviews84 followers
August 24, 2020
Now I really want to go to Santa Monica and work in a bookstore with a great diverse group of friends.

Why’d you show me this life, Julian Winters? I will never be satisfied.
Profile Image for Gordon Ambos.
Author 2 books52 followers
May 7, 2021
"If the worst thing you do in this lifetime is fall in love with your best friend, then I'd say you're doing pretty damn good."

This was EVERYTHING. This is my new favorite book. I loved the characters, I loved the writing, I loved the ending. WOW.
Profile Image for Lu .
337 reviews34 followers
September 7, 2020
An huge thank you to Edelweiss for the chance to read this amazing book. It is one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it didn't disappointed me! It was unbelievably amazing.

Wesley Hudson is a comic book geek, he loves his job at the bookstore Once upon a page, chilling with his friends, above all with his best friend Nico, his secret crush. But articles about dating or online suggestions aren't able to help him tell Nico the truth, too scared to lose his friendship with him and ruin everything.
To top it off, the bookstore is threatened by a coffeeshop franchise that wants to buy it and his brother wants help organizing his wedding and his parents are pressuring him to choose what he wants to do in college. Wes is, so, forced to confront the reality, while trying to save his childhood heaven, the bookstore, navigating a strained relationship with his older brother and trying to conquer his crush's heart.

I loved so many things about The Summer of Everything. I need to do a list.

The characterization is amazing.
The story is told by Wes's point of view and he's such a relatable, complex and realistic character. His fears, his lists (I basically him, to be honest), his paranoias, his being uncertain about the future, what it means to be adult, what do to, everything was very realistic. I was really involved and able to identify in his feelings and thoughts.
Wes is a wonderful comic book geek, I love his passions, his geekiness, his being so wonderfully complex, with his lists, his books and crush.
He loves reading, he found in the bookstore a piece of heaven, a haven and when it threatened his world falls apart and he tries everything to save it, helped by his friend. Wes is burdened by the fear of the future, so relatable, because he doesn't know what to do,what to choose in college and he feels pressured by his parents, above all his dad. He fears the changes and that's so understandable.

Nico is an amazing and complex character, he's funny, supportive, talented and his relationship with Wes is so pure, made of jokes, understanding, love, games, books. The way they get one other, how they help, support, understand and cuddle each other is beautiful. The way they act as boyfriends even before they are is so cute. There are so many fluffy and cute moments between them and I was constantly saying "AWWWWWWWW!"
Nico is also burdened by his father's death and his need to do something, to become a doctor to help people. He's a loving friend and brother and an amazing skater. Seeing everything through Wes's eyes it's impossible not to love Nico too.

Ella is Wes's other best friend and she's a whirlwind, stubborn, boisterous, supportive. She also, as Wes, has complex and outiright difficult relationship with her parents, above all her mother, battling with her about her physical appereance, to be what she wants to be.

Besides Nico and Ella, Wes's best friends, he's surrounded by a group of miscellaneous characters. Cooper, boisterous, funny and obsessed with social media, Anna, described as a wood nymph, but with an amazing brain, Kyra with her energy and colorful sneakers, Zay with his friendship and music taste. I love their friendships, made of jokes, shared or not, discussions about music and foods, their bickering, their being so close to one other.

The rep in this book is absolutely fantastic. Wes is gay and biracial, Nico is Mexican-American and attracted to multiple gender, there's a fat rep with Ella, Cooper is aroace, Anna is bisexual, Kyra is a Black lesbian, Zay is Black, Manu is a queer Hawaiian and Lucas, a customer that bond with Wes and the others are non-binary.

The way the author deals with themes like responsiblity, being anxious and indecisive about one's future, the uncertainty of the future itself is really realistic and relatable. Wes's anxiety is absolutely understandable, above all if he compares himself to his friends and brother who know what to do.

His relationship with Leo, his older brother, is complex, strained because in time they grew apart from one other and now they are struggling to be again brothers. Wes has problems talking with his father and brother, but I love how this book is hopeful about reconnections and to try again to listen and understand one other.

The relationships in this books are sweet, cute and intense. Wes is surrounded by supportive, funny and amazing friends, he loves Leeann, his brother's future bride and their connection is beautiful, full of understanding. Leeann is a strong character, ready to face the Hudson boys and to push them to talk and understand one other.

I loved the importance of books in The summer of everything, how books were and are for Wes an escape, a haven, a world where he belongs, how books can change someone's life and how the bookstore was for Wes a piece of his childhood, a piece he wasn't willing to let go, a constant in his changing life.
Books and friends can change someone's life.

I love the setting, in a bookstore, because I love books and I was really invested in this book. Wes is a captivating and realistic character and it was funny and heartbreaking seeing him pining after Nico, trying to confess his feelings for him, following unrealiable lists on Internet about dating.

The writing is really good and I could almost see Wes in the bookstore, admiring Nico skaterboarding, taking pictures of the sunset, smell the ocean's salt, hear the music. It was really atmospheric and I love the way his characters jumped out of the book, because they were alive, relatable, Wes above all.

Wes and Nico relationship is wonderfully fluffy, made of jokes, games, food, understanding, love, pining and while reading this book I was constantly facepalming myself because they were two idiots too afraid to talk to one other, who clearly were pining for one other and love each other.
The romance, the pining, the angst and the sweet and hopeful, heartwarming ending.

The summer of everything is a book about growing up, facing reality and at the same time, fighting to keep something from your past and childhood, some memories you will treasure forever. It's about family, loss, friendship, adulthood, about adapting to changes and learning to move on and grow.
Profile Image for Gerald The Bookworm.
140 reviews176 followers
September 3, 2020
While reading this, namiss kong magkacrush!

Bago ako magsimula, gusto ko lang sabihin na I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour.

Anyway, The Summer of Everything. Ang libro kung saan susundan natin si Wes, an 18 year old stunner (char) na naloloka kung paano magtatapat ng feelings niya sa bestfriend at long-time crush niyang si Nico while at the same time ay namumroblema sa adulting, start ng college life, relationship with his father and his brother Leo, at ang pagsasara ng Once Upon a Page, ang bookstore na minahal niya mula pagkabata at kung saan siya kasalukuyang nagtatrabaho kasama ang iba’t-ibang characters na very diverse at talaga namang nagdagdag ng kulay sa istoryang ito.

Una sa pinakanagustuhan ko talaga dito ay ang mga characters, they have different personalities and are very diverse and sobrang enjoyable lang ng interaction nila sa isa’t-isa; their banters, debate about music, their I-hate-you-but-I-really-treasure-you-as-a-friend relationship is just everything! This new-found family kind of trope just warms my heart and while reading it, the fire in my heart, the gusto kong magtrabaho sa bookstore or magtayo ng indie bookstore as a business ay talaga namang nag-aalab ng bongga.

And now na nabanggit na natin ang indie bookstore kung saan nagtatrabaho si Wes, it’s also the perfect time to say na I luuuve na most part of this book happens sa Once Upon a Page, the indie bookstore where they are working. As a bookworm, sobrang nakakatuwa na nangyayari ang istorya sa isa sa pinakapaborito kong lugar sa buong mundo and their group conflict will revolve in that bookstore.

Now let’s go to the romance. The romance in this book is suuuper slow burn to the point na gusto ko nang sigawan si Wes ng “JUST FUCKING SAY IT!” Kasi, jusko naman, ang lala na ng romantic at sexual tension sa pagitan ni Nico at Wes. Kaloka! Pero I can understand Wes’ internal conflict din naman when it comes to having doubts sa pagcoconfess ng feeling niya kay Nico because there is the possibilty na baka masira ang matagal na nilang pagkakaibigan. So in a way, I am okay na hindi siya nagcoconfess tapos minsan gusto kong magconfess na siya so… pati ako naging conflicted! Hahaha.

I can also relate a lot kay Wes in the having-a-crush-tapos-minsan-nagseselos-to-the-point-na-hindi-ko-alam-kung-may-karapatan-ba-akong-magselos kind of moment. I relate so hard sa nararamdaman ni Wes kay Nico. Very close to home!

Ang isa lang na medyo hindi ako makarelate is kapag nagtatalo na sila about music, which is marami dito sa librong ‘to, so medyo lost ako sa part na yun.

BUT ALL IN ALL, I enjoyed this light, sweet, and fluffy gay romance book. I like how this ends and I also appreciates how this is not just about Wes and Nico, there’s a lot of issues and factors about gender and slight discussion about racism that adds flavor into this book.

If you’re into a slow burn but cute gay romance, diverse characters, lots of talk about music that is set in an indie bookstore, then you should give this book a try!

You can also read this review on my blog -
Profile Image for Noah.
70 reviews18 followers
May 7, 2021
This was so good!

I loved everything about this book: the friendship group, the pining, the themes around growing-up, finding your own way, dealing with loss and sometimes complicated family dynamics.
Profile Image for Alexx.
288 reviews61 followers
August 11, 2020
I received an e-arc via NetGalley in exhange for an honest review. Thank you Duet Books!

(Oh, look, I finally wrote a coherent review!) My first impression towards this book? Funny, light, a lot of romcom feels. And this book was that, don’t get me wrong! But oh, I did not expect to be bawling my eyes out as I read the last few chapters.

(tl;dr) The Summer of Everything is a beautiful and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and adulthood, meant to make you smile and cry all throughout the book.

I was so wrong about this book and I love that. At first, I thought The Summer of Everything would be cute and funny all the way. And in a way, yes, it was in fact cute and funny (I was laughing out loud 5% into the book!), but after reading it, I can say that the story is so much more.

First, the writing was so good. It was so good in a way that I could relate to Wes effortlessly, I could feel his emotions, I could see his thoughts so clearly. I also loved how the tone can shift from every scene perfectly. The book was comedic, yes, but the more serious scenes are also heartfelt and powerful.

Second, the characters were great. Seeing a diverse group of people bond and forge a friendship like no other (and come together to save their workplace/bookstore) was amazing! I have to say though, I didn’t immediately like some of the characters when I first met them, but they did grow on me as the story progressed. I loved that they all had their own stories and personalities, and their character developments completed the story.

The plot was simple, and for a while, the pacing was slow and it took some time for something big to happen. That said, it doesn’t mean that nothing interesting happened in the story. We see Wes and his friends try to grapple with their newfound problem. We see Wes try to figure out his relationship with his brother. We see him meet new people and make new friends. We see him try to confess to Nico and more. It was such a journey from start to finish, and I loved being on that journey with Wes!

And another, this book gave me various LGBTQ+ representations to root for. There’s an aroace character, a trans, non-binary character, awesome moms, gay and bisexual characters, and more.

Above all, this story did not exactly give me the “happy ending” I expected. Instead, it gave me something more realistic, something more honest and raw. A different kind of happy ending, if I do say so myself. Through Wes’s journey, it showed me that sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned, and that’s completely okay! We accept things that are beyond our control, and from there, we learn and we grow.

Overall, The Summer of Everything is a beautiful and heartfelt story that will captivate you as you read. It’s releasing next month, so give it a try!

(This review was first published on Enthralled Bookworm.)

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Profile Image for Mari.
386 reviews28 followers
September 2, 2021
I've read every single Julian Winters, which is amazing because I've been able to see how he grows as a writer.

This one though.... it's my least favorite book yet. I just didn't connect with it almost at all, and I should have! I'm in the same situation as Wes was, kind of. I just got out of High School, I'm trying to figure out what to do with my life and even though I am kind of enjoying college, I questioned whether I wanted to go for a good few months.

So... what went wrong? Not sure, I think it was just too many plot points, not enough time. There was this terrible thing in the end that was so freaking sad and should have made me cry, but the character involved was barely in the book at all, I swear it was the first time they even talked. I don't know, the whole book made me feel like it was so close to be something amazing, but it just never got there. I liked the characters but I didn't love them, I wanted to know how it was going to end but I could have lived without reading it. My care was surface level, and believe me when I say that makes me very sad, this book seemed like my perfect rom com, with the beach, the bookstore and a queer found family.

The writing, though, was finally pretty good , it flowed nicely, which was my problem with his first book.

So, even though I didn't love this, I'm excited to see what he comes out next, I still love How to Be Remy Cameron a lot and enjoyed Running With Lions.
Profile Image for Saimon (ZanyAnomaly).
405 reviews217 followers
October 1, 2020
The Summer Of Everything was a beautiful, heartwarming book about a gang of chaotic queer kids trying to save their favorite independent bookstore from shutting down, while the MC tries to grapple with their lifelong crush towards his best friend. I absolutely loved reading about these soft queer boys, everyone should read it for a feel good read.

a longer review to come!!
Thanks to Netgalley and Interlude press for the advanced reading copy!!!!
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,333 reviews232 followers
September 24, 2020
This was a super sweet story. I always love the characters Winters creates for us, and I agree with everyone who said this had an Empire Records vibe. This was definitely the I'm-in-love-with-my-best-friend story I was promised, but it was also about Wes and his struggle with all the impending changes in his life. That time after high school can be both exciting and scary, and I appreciated the way it was explored. Another solid book from Winters.

Profile Image for Andrew.
1,849 reviews44 followers
February 25, 2021
Wes works at an Indie-bookstore trying desperately not to pine for his BFF Nico, making lists to cope with the impending looming doom of college, loving comic books and ultimately, save the bookstore from closure.

Winters does a fantastic job of building up angst, addressing tough topics for teens (body image, sex, sexuality, family dynamics, gender identity, racial issues, college, adulting, and relationships), but overall delivering positive supportive messages.

He is always honest in his writing and keeping teens real, he always shines with his characters and moving their stories forward, which I like. Always a 5 star read! Be sure and check out Winters' other books, Becoming Remy Cameron and Running with Lions

Good read-alike authors are Cale Dietrich, Greg Howard, L.C. Rosen and Adam Silvera;
Profile Image for Emily.
1,264 reviews331 followers
September 13, 2020
The Summer of Everything was my first Julian Winters book, and this was exactly the cute & lighthearted rom-com that I needed right now. The characters work in a bookstore, and I enjoyed reading about this friend group. There was good representation.

At times, it felt like thet were a few too many storylines, and I wish the book would have been a little more focused. It still works well, and it's a good read. This story is so cozy and comfortable, and I kind of want to live here. I loved the mention of bookstagram! I will definitely check out more from Julian Winters.

CW - mentions of racism & homophobia, panic attacks, cancer
Profile Image for Mariana.
104 reviews32 followers
September 9, 2020
this was such a joy to read! if you're in need of some uplifting, this is the perfect feel-good queer romance. wes and his friends are amazing and i loved their relationship. go read this if you're looking for a cute diverse read about friendship, awkward crushes, and nostalgic summer vibes.
Profile Image for dani.
65 reviews26 followers
March 11, 2021
julian winters simply doesn’t miss
Profile Image for Drakoulis.
176 reviews18 followers
February 20, 2022
This book suffers from an underwhelming ending.

I really enjoyed the whole concept. The bookstore, the falling-for-your-best-friend tope, the geekiness, Wes' friend group, the mother/famous-author.

And the buildup was great.

For me the author either downright refused to write a good ending for his own reasons or couldn't.
It's a pity because it was a great story that didn't get the closure it deserved...
Profile Image for Michael.
631 reviews
December 13, 2020
A gay, dorky, comic book fan who works at an indy bookshop who pines for his best friend? Yep, I’m in and I loved it.

This felt real, heartfelt, and carried me away into the after high school-before college life of a confused, lovelorn guy trying to make sense of all the changes. His best friend seems to have no idea he is in love with him, his parents are pushing him to decide on a career path, and his dream job is at risk of disappearing along with the best boss he can imagine.

What really works is how this avoids the tropes of the last minute rescue and the heavy handedness of a loss which teaches us valuable lessons. In this one, life goes on, and we are ok with it.

The book is not really about the bookstore like Empire Records was not about the record store. It is about the people and the families we choose to build.

This is relatable and lovable, complex and interesting. But the heart here is that they each allow the others to grow while we watch.
Profile Image for Alex.
144 reviews18 followers
November 5, 2020
"Maybe life truly is just a Choose Your Own Adventure and picking the wrong next step is the only way to get somewhere. Anywhere."

Honestly, I was ready to give this 4 stars and be on my merry way with a succinct "cute read, nothing extraordinary" - but then the second half was the book really hit me in the feels. It wasn't life-changing or super special but it was the kind of atmospheric, feel-good content that I am definitely a sucker for. It was this SoCal bubble with its surfers and skateboarders and hipsters and indie bookstores but it was also realistic enough with the overarching 'what the fuck am I even doing with my life' theme. (Like YA realistic. You know the one.)

And I totally appreciated the friendships in this, especially the Wes and Ella one. The 'you're my best friend but I also have other friends and I will call you out on your bullshit when I think I need to' kind - way better then most syrupy YA friendships.
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,299 reviews412 followers
September 14, 2020
A Joyfully Jay review.

5 stars

This novel is such a journey—one that questions everything a person on the cusp of great change could ever question and worry over. Poor Wes! His life is complicated, not only by his own indecision and fear about Nico, the best friend he has had a crush on since forever, but also college looming in two months, his workplace threatening to close down, and the pretty terrible relationship with his only sibling, his older brother, Leo. It’s all threatening to crash down on top of Wes and he is just not prepared.

This story is so complex. This is an eighteen-year-old new adult who feels like anything but that.

Read Sammy’s review in its entirety here.

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