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Estelle: Sweet Summertime Reads – A Jennifer E. Smith Party!

Once I read The Statistical Probably of Love at First Sight, I was dead set on reading all of Jennifer E. Smith’s books. So I did. And this is what I discovered:

  • Her writing is always rich, lyrical, and beautiful.
  • Her characters are relatable and multi-dimensional.
  • Family is always a central theme.
  • Her books are dependably funny, touching, lovely and full of self-discovery and sweet romance.

Have I sold you yet?

They also pinpoint a few of the reasons I love summer:

baseball.

Jennifer’s debut novel, The Comeback Season, is all about a girl named Ryan whose memories of her deceased father are tied to the Chicago Cubs. After reading all of Jennifer’s books, THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE. She amazingly weaves the history of the Cubs team within the story of Ryan and her family, and then Ryan and her relationship with another Cubs fan, Nick. The Comeback Season is a beautiful story about moving forward, getting up to bat, change, and love of many kinds.

As you can see from the pictures, I was born into a baseball loving family. Sure, we are Yankee fans but I spent many Sunday afternoons at the stadium as a kid keeping score and watching the team lose before their huge winning streak in the 90s. I might have lost some interest in college, but it picked right up again when I started dating my husband. We watch every single game, go to the stadium together, and enjoy having sports-like convos with our dads. Baseball is in my blood. It seems silly. But I think The Comeback Season depicted the tradition of baseball within the family perfectly. It means much more than a championship or a home run derby.

(My review.)

road trips.

You Are Here is born when Emma discovers she has a deceased twin brother — a fact her entire family has kept from her. She doesn’t exactly ask for permission to steal her brother’s car and road trip to uncover this secret part of her life. When her quiet neighbor, Peter, joins her unexpectedly (but thankfully) it seems that he’s a little mysterious and directionless himself.

We all know road trips are awesome. There were quite a few summers (evidence above) when my family and I zipped down to Florida — our car jam packed with movies, books, and snacks. Our destination was always Walt Disney World (surprise, surprise) and once in awhile we would stop for a night in St. Augustine. Sure, it took a lot longer than flying but I used to love writing in my journal on the open road, staying in hotels, and the excitement when we finally pulled up to the WDW entrance.

I really enjoyed You Are Here because it focused on Emma and her relationship with her family, especially with her older siblings. It was a quiet sort of novel with a lot of description and not as much dialogue but it was also lovely that Peter had his own story and his own conflicts to conquer. It was a novel you had to take your time with.

(Goodreads)

possibility.

There’s no photo collage I can make to really describe the possibility that summer brings. After the cold weather, I am desperate for fresh air, spending time in the sunshine, and stretching my legs. The summer could bring a million things: romance, new friends, old friends, family time, travel, new projects, a stretch of time in between school years, the much needed relaxation we all look forward to, a sigh of relief, the guts to do something we never thought we could do.

In STAT, Hadley didn’t know missing her first flight to London would mean meeting the cutest British boy she could ever imagine. In general, as a novel, STAT surpasses the romantic cover and actually has much more to do with Hadley’s relationship with her father, who is remarrying a woman she has never met. You never know what’s going to happen from June to September, and with Hadley, she had no idea what 24 hours would bring.

(My review.)

As you can tell, each Jennifer E. Smith book has felt extremely personal to me.

I hope you’ll add a few (or ALL) to your TBR lists for the summer!

Go team!

(Be sure to head over to Tara & Ginger‘s for more SWEET SUMMERTIME fun!)

April 23, 2013 - 9:01 am

It's That Time of Year..., Estelle - […] read this one last year and it has remained my top Jennifer E. Smith reads. Smith manages to weave the tragic history of […]

July 11, 2012 - 6:07 pm

Sweet Summertime Reads: A Round Up - […] on Wednesday (Summer Edition) 5/31: RBR – The Summer My Life Began Review 6/1: RBR – Jennifer E. Smith Party 6/2: GReads – Summer at the Bookstore > Fiction Folio: Bookstore Time! > RBR: Our Local […]

June 2, 2012 - 9:43 pm

VeganYANerds - I love that you can connect so strongly to all of Jen’s books, Estelle and I really enjoyed the photos you included in this post! I did like TSPOLAFS so I would like to read her other two books 🙂

June 2, 2012 - 12:03 pm

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - As usual E, you’ve managed to convince me that I MUST read the rest of her books. I just read STAT during my vacation, but I’m now looking forward to reading her other novels!

June 1, 2012 - 11:27 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - This is such a great post! I love the photo collages and the personal connections to each book! I’m waiting for TSPoLAFS to come in at the library, but I’m excited to see that ALL of her books are equally amazing! I love discovering a new writer and then devouring her books one by one (like my current Magan-inspired Morgan Matson binge!!!!)

June 1, 2012 - 1:15 pm

Ginger @ GReads! - Oh how I adore this post!! Love all the photo collages & how you identified personally with each book, Estelle. I’ve only read STAT, but I seriously enjoyed it. Based on your reviews here I think I need to pick up the Comeback Season really soon. Thank you for spotlighting an author I don’t see too much attention on, but definitely deserves it!

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