Every Summer After by Carley Fortune is a Goodreads Award nominated book which follows Persephone “Percy” Fraser when she ventures back to a small lake town where she spent her summers in order to attend the funeral of a family friend. There, she encounters Sam, the family friend’s son, who she developed a friendship and romantic relationship with during the summers of her childhood, but she has spoken to in twelve years. Every Summer After is a dual POV book, which focuses on one weekend in the present day as well as across several years in the past.
I put Every Summer After on my TBR after seeing many positive reviews about this book online. However, I also saw online that this book contained many similarities to another book on my TBR, Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren. As a result, I wanted to read these books within a short time frame so I would be able to see the similarities and differences. I will discuss these similarities and differences more in depth in a future post. That being said, like other readers, I noticed several strong similarities in plot, tropes, and even conversations between the characters.
As for my reading experience specifically with Every Summer After, I did enjoy this book. However, I think I may have enjoyed it more if I didn’t see all the hype before I read it. Going into Every Summer After, I expected this book to be a five star read. Ultimately, I rated Every Summer After as four stars, but as I continue to think about my reading experience, I fluctuate between 3.5 stars and 5 stars. While I did enjoy several aspects of this book, there were several moments and plot points which hindered my reading experience.
One aspect of Every Summer After that I thought was well-executed was the dual timelines. I’m typically not a huge fan of dual timelines because they can throw off the pacing of the novel. While I did have some issues with pacing more towards the end of the novel, these issues didn’t necessarily come from the dual timeline aspect of the story. I thought Fortune did a good job of selecting scenes that gave us an idea of who the characters were at each stage of their lives and each scene was cut off at a good stopping point.
Like I mentioned, however, I did have some issues with pacing mostly at the end of this novel. As I was reading, I thought the story would culminate at the funeral. However, once readers reach this book part of the story, there is still one third of the book left. What happens at the story is heavily foreshadowed throughout the rest of the book. It seemed like this part of the story was really dragged out and moved much slower than the middle part of the book. Then, there is a huge reveal which is quickly wrapped up and readers get an epilogue of a year later in the story. As a result, the pacing of the last act of the novel felt very inconsistent.
Speaking of the end of the novel, there is a major plot point which annoyed me. I won’t give away any spoilers, but it felt really inconsistent considering the development of the characters. This plot point wasn’t surprising considering the hints sprinkled throughout the story, but it was still frustrating. There are so many directions that the plot could have taken which would have been more true to the characters and the twist felt like a quick way to some last minute drama. It also irritated that this big event which caused the characters not to speak for twelve years seemed to easily be solved and led to a quick resolution.
While I did enjoy parts of Every Summer After, I did enjoy it as much as I had expected to enjoy it. Like I mentioned before, I originally rated this book four stars, but I find myself fluctuating between 3.5 and 4 stars.