AMAZON RATING: 4.4 out of 5 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.79 out of 5 | MY RATING: 4.5 out of 5
So I’ve sucked about keeping up with writing reviews, but I’ve been busy. I got a new job, I moved to a new house with my amazing husband, the holidays came and went and my family had FOUR birthdays (including my own!). But here I am, trying to catch up!
So I’m very picky about what I read lately. I have so many things on my TBR pile that lately, if it’s not capturing my attention, if I just don’t really care how it ends, I’ll just stop reading it. Some people can’t start a book without finishing it; I’m not one of those people.
I finished COLD SUMMER by Gwen Cole pretty freaking quickly.
I’m not really even into historical fiction normally. I wanted to read this book because the author is a local Richmond author, and I met her at one of her readings at Chop Suey Books in Carytown (P.S. you should definitely go to the bookstore if you’re ever in Richmond. It’s awesome, and there’s a cat that lives there. What more do you want from life?) I was hooked by her writing style and the way her father read it to us at Chop Suey, but I still was worried I wouldn’t really thoroughly enjoy it. Time traveling? World War II? Not usually my thing. (Disclaimer: This book is not strictly historical fiction. Read on.)
I loved Kale and Harper, though. These two main characters had a ridiculous amount of chemistry that’s extremely hard to come by. Harper’s concern for Kale and his situation was real, and I felt it along with her. They made me want to go call all my old childhood friends and ask if they remembered jumping into lakes on hot days, as well. But it’s hard for them to spend time together, because Kale isn’t always around.
Kale is an unwilling time traveler. Every few days or weeks, he jumps into World War II in the winter, battling the Germans and hoping he can make it back home before he meets the same fate as many of his soldier friends. He’s seen too much for someone who isn’t even in the army. He’s disassociated himself from his life back in Iowa and his time in the service, shivering in the holes in the ground and hoping to survive. And it’s especially hard when he can’t tell anyone in the war what’s happening and just prays he doesn’t disappear while someone’s watching, and almost nobody at home will believe him. Except Harper.
But Harper is worried, and rightfully so. Her curiosity gets the best of her one day when she Googles Kale’s name, and finds him listed as a war casualty. Suddenly, Kale and Harper are in a race against time (literally) while Harper desperately tries to find a way to keep Kale from returning to the place where she knows he won’t make it out alive.
Again, my favorite part of this book was the chemistry between the characters. But I also really felt their struggle. I cared about them. I wanted Kale to stay put so that Harper can finally feel loved by someone. And I really, really wanted Kale to survive. Read the book to find out for yourself!
In the meantime, I asked Gwen herself to answer a few questions about her book, and she generously agreed! I love when I can actually get the author to weigh in, because their perspective is the most interesting. I’d love an IMDB but for books, so I can scour the trivia section and read all about how their book came to life like I do for movies. But, until that exists, here’s Gwen on her book, COLD SUMMER:
- How did you come up with the idea for COLD SUMMER? About five years ago I was binge-watching the HBO show Band of Brothers and some of those episodes stuck with me for a long time. Some of the WWII scenes in Cold Summer were the first ones to be written, but I didn’t want to write a historical fiction—I wanted to have something normal and something not normal mixed together. So that’s when the time traveling aspect came.
- Who is your favorite character and why? This is hard because it’s like picking a favorite child, but I loved writing Kale’s chapters the most. His voice came the easiest to me and it was his story that came first. I just loved the idea of this kid from nowhere special Iowa being more different than everyone. But I also love his best friend, Miles. And Uncle Jasper. See? Hard to choose!
- Did anything in your life influence the plot of COLD SUMMER? Plot? No. But certain little parts in the book did. One of them was the story Miles told about him and Kale going to a theme park and cutting in line. 😉
- What’s one thing you want readers to take away from the book? Only that they enjoyed reading it. If they happen to find a deeper meaning, great, but I just try to write books that lets the reader succeed in getting lost in the characters and the story.
- You have a new book coming out in 2018, RIDE ON! What are you most excited about for this book? Yes, I can’t wait for people to read Ride On! This one was probably my most favorite book to write just because it’s so different from everything else I’ve done so far. Outlaws, standoffs, a sky with no sun, and two teens against everyone, it’s got it all.
Gwen’s new book, RIDE ON, is expected to be released in May! You can bet I’ll keep an eye out for it 🙂
Next to be reviewed is EVERYTHING EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon, and GUYS. I love it. Stay tuned.
I’ll also be heading to a launch party for REIGN OF THE FALLEN by Sarah Glenn Marsh this weekend and will definitely be devouring that book the second it’s in my hands, so keep an eye out for that!