Published by UQP on July 29th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Will and Summer meet online and strike up a friendship based on coincidence.
Summer lives in Will's old hometown, Kettering, a small Tasmanian coastal community.
Summer isn't telling the whole truth about herself, but figures it doesn't matter if they never see each other in person, right? When Will returns to Kettering, the two finally meet and Summer can no longer hide her secret – she is deaf.
Can Summer and Will find a way to be friends in person even though they speak a completely different language?
A simple refreshing contemporary novel that takes part at sea and on the coastal shores of Hobart Australia. This story sets itself apart and also adds itself to a great list of diverse YA novels coming out recently by introducing the reader to the concept of life without hearing and the use of sign language in the central plot and romance between our main characters Will and Summer.
The story is a clean and refreshingly simple one told from alternating chapters between our protagonists Will and Summer and the two strike up an unlikely online friendship over a mutual interest in Jessica Watson and her solo sailing voyage at only 16 years of age. Summer lives in Will’s old town – Kettering and feeling homesick after being away sailing with his dad for the past year, Will is excited to chat online with another teen who recently moved to his old home. Summer has never been sailing and is fascinated with the concept hoping someday she will have the opportunity to learn.
When Will’s dad gets a great job opportunity back near Kettering the two move back to Tasmania. Will and Summer’s new blossoming friendship meets its first hurdle when Will soon realises that Summer is deaf and has never mentioned it to him during all their correspondence. Feeling hurt and betrayed it takes awhile before they get past things and Will starts to understand that communication with someone who doesn’t hear is still possible and if anything much easier that he realised.
As their friendship grows he undertakes an AUSLAN course to learn sign language as his interest is piqued and the friendship slowly blurs the lines into romance as they spend more and more time with each other.
The characters are interesting though I found Will to be possibly a bit unrealistic – he was certainly very different and much more mature than any 15 year old boy I met when I was in high school. His best friend was much more in line with my memories of boys in high school in any case, perhaps I just didn’t meet the rights ones 🙂
The story culminates with the kids sailing around a nearby island without adult supervision and while there is a few bits added in to make things a bit more dramatic overall everything runs quite smoothly. In some ways you want more action but in others I like that this is a bit more realistic to normal life making this a really relatable book for teens.
The one thing that I really found frustrating was that there was no quotation marks when the characters were talking which is found slowed me down as it sometimes made it difficult to realise that someone was talking not just thinking something. Perhaps I’m just picky 🙂
Aside from this small grammatical/aesthetic issue I enjoyed this fresh simple love story and think this one will be make a great summer read!