May 3rd 2011
Anna is dreading another tourist-filled summer on Dune Island that follows the same routine: beach, ice cream, friends, repeat. That is, until she locks eyes with Will, the gorgeous and sweet guy visiting from New York. Soon, her summer is filled with flirtatious fun as Anna falls head over heels in love.
But with every perfect afternoon, sweet kiss, and walk on the beach, Anna can’t ignore that the days are quickly growing shorter, and Will has to leave at the end of August. Anna’s never felt anything like this before, but when forever isn’t even a possibility, one summer doesn’t feel worth the promise of her heart breaking….
I like reading books about summer. Come, say, a year ago, this is not something I would ever have wanted to admit, but I just plain do. And Sixteenth Summer is no exception. It's a great summer book with just the right amount of carefree-summeryness, teen angst, and a bittersweet yet absolutely perfect ending.
Anna was a really great character. I liked that she was just a normal girl, and I loved her need for adventure and getting away from Dune Island. Plus her character development was great! I like how her yearning was still there at the end of the book, but she loved Dune Island a lot more at the end of it too, and she sort of gained a new respect for it after she'd seen it through new eyes over her summer with Will. And Will was wonderful too. He was so lovely, and while I did think their romance happened very quickly, that was kind of the point of it. But he was really sweet and considerate, and totally loved Anna. They were so great together!
Their relationship was portrayed brilliantly and realistically (I think) and I love how it flowed through different stages. Through their first dates when they were awkward and self-conscious to when they started to get more comfortable around each other and have fun together, and when they realised that they loved each other (and it wasn't all like, 'I hate this guy, *wakes up next morning* wait, actually, I kinda like this guy' like some books are, it was sort of a slow realisation, if you get me) and then they went through a bit of a rocky patch but they made it through! And then they enjoyed the time they had left and had fun and were happy and I just wanted to hug them both and slap them at the same time for being so lovey-dovey ;)
But I think the best thing about this book was the end. Because with most summer books, there is the end, and it is happy, and they're all 'yay, we're totally gonna go to college together' or something, but this one was different. The ending was solid, but uncertain, and it was all about the now. It was that they might never see each other again, or they might get married and have children and whatever, and it was that that didn't matter. The now was all that mattered. Their time together then without great plans for the future was what made the book for me.
Another thing I thought was so good was the whole ice cream thing they had going on. What I wouldn't give to have parents that run an ice cream shop that I'd get to, like, make flavours for and to actually know how to make ice cream. From scratch! I just thought that was cool :D
A great, snarky (I forgot to mention Anna's snark, but it's awesome) fun, summer read which is cute and realistic, plus Will might make you swoon. Just a little bit ;) 4 stars :D