Summer’s Road is Long and Winding

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I received an ARC of Summer’s Road in exchange for an honest review. I had started reading this book at the end of March and had intended to have a review ready on release date. I had problems to where I couldn’t get the book read and as I read more and more of the book, it was a bit difficult for me to really get into.

It follows a woman in her mid-20s named Summer, hence the title. She recently finds out that the home that was left to her in her late father’s will was never changed over from her absent mother’s name to hers. This is where the drama of the book begins, and it is also how I thought the book would go, focusing on the stress and reality of her absent mother returning. Yet there was barely any of this and it felt very stiff when their relationship finally came full circle.

The primary plot of this book follows Summer and Ian’s relationship as both friends and then the possibility of it blooming into something more. While Summer is currently in a relationship, she has never toyed much with the idea of being with her best friend from childhood. Instead, she holds onto the relationship she is in until real feelings for Ian begin to develop more than just friends.

Summer’s Road jumps around with the POVs of Ian and Summer in the same chapter. If you’re not paying enough attention, it’s easy to forget and get lost. Or if the POV switch alert is at the bottom of the screen (I read on my kindle app), it is hard for me to see it and make the mental switch between Summer and Ian. While two perspectives isn’t terribly difficult to juggle with, there is also the element of using flashbacks for both Ian and Summer. It is with these that the storyline feels a bit muddied.

As I am getting nearer to the end, I feel myself getting nervous because I don’t know how this book is going to end. The ending felt very rushed in comparison to the novel length. I would have liked to see the relationship of Ian and Summer–in the present–blossom much more than it had in a few weeks’ timespan. I think it would have heightened the believability in spite of their longstanding relationship as friends.

The ambition behind this book is reminiscent of Alice Munro’s writing. Where it falls short and doesn’t achieve the same standard as Munro is that Kelly Moran doesn’t make the transitions from past, present, and POV switches to where they’re fluid with the plot line. There were minor characters that also had small plot arcs that I would have liked to maybe have put less attention on them and more on Summer and Ian’s relationship.

I do think that Moran succeeded in tackling a tough issue such as depression. As a person who suffers with depression on and off since I was about 14, this aspect of the book was discussed at large. Summer was aware of the depression as well, and it took her a lot of courage to be able to recognize it and to treat it instead of letting the symptoms take hold of her and let suicidal thoughts loom over her mind.

Overall, I give this book a 3-star rating. For the length of the book, I anticipated more romance and building of the romance for the ending to have much more believability. I did enjoy the main characters Summer and Ian, they were refreshing viewpoints of the contemporary romance genre. What I would like to see more of is the exploration of the relationship instead of paragraph summaries of what Summer and Ian had done in the short time frame the story took place in.

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