I think Summer is the real season of change. It always has been in my life. I think it is probably because the British education system is structured that way to give you a huge block of free time in the summer. Even though I am now the librarian rather than the student, I am still gifted with that space in time and so summer still means that for me.
All the books I read for this feature seem to echo this concept. Summer is a catalyst for change. Maybe it is because we shed layers of clothing, like a snake sheds its skin. Our bodies are exposed to the world in our Summer clothes and suddenly this makes us look more closely at what we look like yes but also who we are. During the months of Summer, we can grow in confidence, take a bigger risk and somehow ask bigger questions of ourselves.
Of course in many of the novels I read for this feature explored the themes of loss and grief. It is not that these books on summer romance are filled with death but that summer somehow opens the door to dealing with grief in a deeper way. For Rain, it was confronting a space that represented her mother's childhood, visiting a place that she would never be able to ask her mother about. For Anna in Twenty Boy Summer, it was confronting the fact that she was the only one who knew the truth about her relationship with Matt and so the extent of her grief was hidden from those who could share in it.
Despite the fact that there was a great sadness running through these novels, there were also moments of pure joy. There are stolen kisses on the beach, meeting someone who sees you the way no one else who knows you sees you, exploring a new and beautiful place. Honestly, these things do not happen every Summer. For some people they might not happen any Summer. But it is undeniable that the season of summer carries with it the sense of possiblity and potential that something magical may just happen.
Now I'm sitting here trying to think about this Summer and if anything has changed for me, and it is really difficult. There isn't enough distance there yet. But this Summer has been about writing for me. I've tried to structure writing into my day. It is becoming a habit but that isn't actually a consequence of this Summer. I was working on that long before. Yet I still can't think of this holiday without understanding it through writing. I can't understand it better than that.
The biggest change in my life is my sister and her husband have moved closer to home. 9 days ago my sister moved about 300 miles closer to me. Now I can drive for an hour and see her which was impossible before. She is actually feeling rather overwhelmed by all the change she is going through: new job, new house, new area. It is fair to say that big changes can be terrifying and yet sometimes it can be so rewarding. (Or I am one of the people benefiting most from her change.)
Who knew this post would end out being so hippy?!
So for discussion then, is there a season that represents change for you? Are you like me? Is Summer the catalyst for your decisions, where you decide to take a certain fork in the road of life? Have you made a crucial decision this Summer? Please share any thoughts at all.
And what about covers? Do you have a favourite?
Is there one that really represents the themes as well as the genre?
I love how The Summer I Turned Pretty really captures the sort of brightness of summer. It is almost neon. But I think the cover for Twenty Boy Summer says a lot more about the story that's inside.
Thanks to everyone who has commented on the reviews of this feature. You have all been so fabulous.