The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams ( web | tweet)
Publication Date: July 14, 2009
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: summer camp, growing up, friendships
Format read: Borrowed from the library.
Other book I reviewed by this author: Pizza, Love, and Other Things That Made Me Famous…
Summary: Another summer, another couple weeks of summer camp – a tradition that Helena looks forward to every year — only this year she has been promoted from camper to counselor. While she’s excited about this change, the one downer is her best friend, Katie Bell, still has one more year left as a camper. Though Helena is determined to overlook this difference as best she can, soon she has no choice but to accept that her job title is just the beginning of change occurring this summer.
While Terra Elan McVoy’s The Summer of Firsts and Lasts made me fall hard for summer camp, Kathryn William’s The Lost Summer had me practically smelling the fresh air and hearing the bugles opening every morning.
But oh, the innocence, of summer doesn’t last forever when Helena arrives as a counselor and her best friend, Katie Bell, is still a camper. At first, Helena tries to make it seem like every other summer but when the afterhours meet-ups start happening and she thinks her long-time crush, Ransome, might actually notice her, a whole new world opens itself up and she can’t turn back.
Inevitable changes in an otherwise routine summer are what start to push Helena and Katie apart. In fact, Helena is kind of helpless because she has no choice but to do her job and the prospect of spending more time with Ransome is practically a dream come true. Katie doesn’t take it too well either, starts to act out and we see how naturally growing pains can come between even the closest of friends.
Williams is so spot-on with this familiar problem. Friends growing apart and there is nothing you can do about it. An age-old issue where distractions and time come between the two of you and you’re not so sure you can overcome it. It was painful to read because you could see how much these two girls loved each other, and yet it was so understandable – sometimes it’s no one’s fault and things like this just happen.
But can it be fixed?
The Lost Summer hits on that awkward summer, when you are on the cusp of adulthood but so much want to crawl up on the couch near your mom and have her solve all of your problems. It’s a great mix of fun, and first love, and feeling out friendships and learning a little about trust.
There’s a big game changer of an event that occurs toward the end of the book, and I’m still up in the air about how it popped out of nowhere and changed things even more drastically for the main character. In the end, this event brought many truths to light… even if it was a harsh way to learn a life lesson.
After reading Pizza, Love… and enjoying it for its fluff and lightness, I was very satisfied with all the mature situations Williams presented in this novel and how real the emotions felt. I was so wrapped up in this inviting setting with multi-dimensional characters who face a life-changing summer that I read most of it in one sitting.