Alli's Reviews > The Summer of Firsts and Lasts

The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy
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's review
Apr 02, 2011

liked it
Recommended to Alli by: galley from S&S
Read from April 22 to 25, 2011

So this is actually a difficult review to write because there were a lot of things I really loved about this book and a lot I really didn't like! But I'm going to try to explain. Because I did love this book despite it's flaws!
It takes place at a summer camp which I actually ended up loving when I didn't expect to! It follows three sisters (Calla, Violet, and Daisy). While I loved all three characters, I kind of wish it would have only focused on one! They were each developed really well and all stayed in character but I felt like the book lacked.. Something. The supporting characters were hard for me to care for. Maybe because there were so many on top of having three narrators. They all seemed one dimensional and there was no reasoning given for them. When I really wanted some sort of explanation!! Especially for Brynn. The troublemaker. She wasn't cruel exactly (at least not like some of the others), but she still caused a LOT of problems!
Speaking of characters, I have to talk about the boys. I didn't fall for any of them. Not because of their flaws exactly but maybe because we don't see much else! While I can appreciate a book where the boy storyline is subtle, it still has to be believable! Again, one storyline would have really helped this! (or even two!) Although honestly, I'm not sure they story would have worked without all three of them as narrators. But it bothered me. While I totally knew where the sisters were coming from, I was totally lost on the boys! They just seemed confusing! Maybe that was the point! But I wanted more. (Which is saying alot, because the book was 400+ pages.)
Calla has been in love with Duncan for five years. Every year at camp, they bond, and are best friends, and Calla is smitten. So a part of me was like aww, and a part of me was like REALLY? FIVE YEARS? Do something woman! I still can't decide how I feel about Duncan. He really confused me.
And James was Violet's interest, but he was barely in it enough to be called an interest. He was talked ABOUT a lot, but actually getting to know James? No, that didn't really happen. Which both bothered me, and made me love him more than the rest. It's hard to explain.
I know what you're thinking: Geez Al I thought you liked this book! And I did! The girls were uniquely awesome! Crazy codependent but the love between them was palpable! I liked that the camp was used as a way to force them to grow up, no matter what that meant for each other! Could have used fewer nicknames though! Plus "sissy" just bothers me. I can't explain.
Of the three sisters, I think Calla was my favorite! But that changes a lot! She's really idealistic and I loved that about her! It's her last summer before college, and she's working in the office of the camp, but it's not working the way she wants. I loved her even though I related more to Violet! Vi seems to find herself in bad company, but she likes the thrill of it which I can kind of relate to. Sometimes you just need the anti-you to know who you are.
At the heart of this story, it's about three sisters who have to learn how to let go, and pull each other closer at the same time. And THIS aspect of the story, the author excelled at with flying colors. I loved watching each of the girls stand on their own just as much as I loved them when they came together when they needed each other the most. It's about finding balance, and happiness, and understanding that sometimes summers are short for a reason. That kind of magic can't last all year long.
Anyway it prob didn't come across in the review, but I do recommend it! It really does hold your interest. I was up until 4 AM finishing it! Makes me wish I'd spent a summer away at camp! No, it's not a must-read, but still a good summer choice! It'd probably be better for girls that have sisters they are really close to. (I do not.)
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Reading Progress

04/22/2011 page 68
16.0% "I really like it so far!"
04/22/2011 page 330
76.0% "So good! I should have been to bed hours ago!!"
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