Kiana's Reviews > Girls of July

Girls of July by Alex Flinn
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really liked it
bookshelves: cute-beach-read, noteworthy, relatable

If I had to use one word to describe Girls of July, it would be “cozy.” There is nothing groundbreaking or challenging about it, but it’s a comforting, familiar summer friendship story, complete with swimming, stargazing, and s'mores, that reminded me of the books I loved as a middle schooler where a bunch of different girls are shoved together and end up bonding, like The Beacon Street Girls or The Mother-Daughter Book Club. (The fact that I spent my childhood summers at a secluded east coast lake made this feel like even more of a nostalgic throwback.) I appreciated how simple and bighearted Girls of July is and, despite it looking like a hefty read, it goes by super quickly.

There are places where the story could have been better—balancing four narrators is always a tough task and, while Flinn gives each girl a distinct personality and they never blend into one another, the actual friendship between the four of them never felt quite genuine. Each girl had her own subplot with other characters that they meet in the woodland community (with the possible exception of Britta and Spider, who share a lot of scenes and undergo the traditional “hate each other and then become friends” arc) and, as a result, they never spent that much time together—all of which would be fine if the book wasn’t pushing the “four of them became best friends forever over one summer” message, which I’m pretty sure this one was.

But, all in all, I really, really enjoyed this, far more than I was ever expecting to. After an increasingly disappointing run of uninspired and lazy fairytale retellings (Towering and Mirrored especially), it seems as though what Flinn really needed to do as an author was tell a different kind of story, and Girls of July feels like a small-scale revelation. Though it is about as familiar a YA friendship story as they come, it breathes a level of life and enthusiasm into the story that makes it shimmering and welcome—not new, exactly, but cozy, as I said, like returning to a childhood space or curling up under a favorite blanket. In the midst of all the fast-paced, high-stakes YA books that I normally read, it's refreshing to find something so understated and wholesome.

4 stars.

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Reading Progress

July 6, 2019 – Started Reading
July 9, 2019 – Shelved
July 9, 2019 – Shelved as: cute-beach-read
July 9, 2019 – Shelved as: noteworthy
July 9, 2019 – Shelved as: relatable
July 9, 2019 – Finished Reading

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