Review - The Summer We Came to Life by Deborah Cloyed

Title: The Summer We Came to Life
Author: Deborah Cloyed
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: may 31, 2011
Paperback, 400 pages

Barnes & Noble

I was looking forward to reading this book, as I love books about friends gathering and reminiscing, but I honestly got lost in all the death regarding Mina and Sam. I loved the idea that Mina could keep in touch and help all to resolve the unresolved issues regarding Mina's death, but I just felt odd about the entire business of Sam reaching out to Mina in the afterlife. I just couldn't get into the ideas and feelings behind it all. I don't want to reveal too much, as to each their own - I am sure lots of people enjoyed this book, but I frankly just didn't.

I am unsure as to what exactly it was about the dying and reuniting afterlife that I didn't like. It could have been the overall dream like state of it; the way it seemed so real life and yet, shouldn't have been. It could have been the way Sam pinned for Mina and just couldn't reach out to these "friends" of hers that were there for her all her life, even if Mina was her closest friend. It just didn't gel for me. I thought the journals were a fantastic idea to keep in touch and remember the person once loved.

I enjoyed the different stories of how the parent's met, lived and loved. I liked the cultural aspects and the in-depth looks at the different ways everyone can live. I really liked the shock when the parent's revealed all this and the children had no idea. Amazing the secrets we keep. But all in all, I just couldn't get pulled in when Deborah Cloyed talked about the way Sam reunited with Mina.

Summary -

Every summer, Samantha Wheland joins her childhood friends—Isabel, Kendra and Mina—on a vacation, somewhere exotic and fabulous. Together with their mixed bag of parents, they've created a lifetime of memories. This year it's a beach house in Honduras. But for the first time, their clan is not complete. Mina lost her battle against cancer six months ago, and the friends she left behind are still struggling to find their way forward without her.

For Samantha, the vacation just feels wrong without Mina. Despite being surrounded by her friends—the closest thing she has to family—Mina's death has left Sam a little lost. Unsure what direction her life should take. Fearful that whatever decision she makes about her wealthy French boyfriend's surprise proposal, it'll be the wrong one.

The answers aren't in the journal Mina gave Sam before she died. Or in the messages Sam believes Mina is sending as guideposts. Before the trip ends, the bonds of friendship with her living friends, the older generation's stories of love and loss, and Sam's glimpse into a world far removed from the one in which she belongs will convince her to trust her heart. And follow it.

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