The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Published May 1st 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk - Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor. Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?
This book, you guys this book!! I am not the biggest fan on contemp romance stories. There has to be some really good stuff for it to impress me. I myab be a bit biased since I am a Jersey girl and spent all summer at the Jersey Shore my entire life BUT there was so much more a connection. Yes I totally fangirled over all the locations I knew, especially at the mention of the Barnegat Lighthouse, which I dutifully trekked to the top of each and every summer. Here is a pic of ol' Barney from last year.
The devastation that Super Storm Sandy reeked upon the Eastern coast was horrific. The summer home I had spent my childhood in was washed away. We sold it a few year back but it still hurt to know if was no longer around. I live and hour inland in south Jersey and during the storm we lost power for a full 7 days. It was pretty scary for us so I can't begin to imagine what the shore dwellers must have felt. The sense of nostalgia that rolled through me during this whole book was indescribable.
Lucy is trying to pick up the pieces of her normal summer routine now that summer is about to kick off. There was a ton of things left hanging by the storm including a brief romantic encounter with her gorgeous neighbor Connor. They have barely spoken since the storm rolled through there lives and now Lucy has moved on and is in a serious relationship with her best friend turned boyfriend, Andrew. The only problem is she can't get Connor out of her mind and it seems she isn't the only one with the preoccupation. I know what it sounds like but before you start rolling your eyes at the implied triangle SLOW DOWN! It's not that bad I promise. This is one of those instances where it is done quite well and it spurs the story on. It is quite obvious that i have a soft spot for the setting but the thing that hooked me was the characterizations. Doktorski (also a fellow Jersey girl) was able to infuse her characters with such subtle nuances that became multidimensional very quickly. There is so much good stuff between Lucy's family. They have been hit hard by this disaster and while it is painful to see how they must pick up the pieces, it is also very realistic. There interactions were very sweet at times as well. Lucy wa a fabulous m.c. because not only is she smart but she doesn't take any bull form anyone, no matter who they are. I was cheering out loud for her quite a few times. It's so great to see a girl with a head on her shoulders.
The fact that i adored this contemp should be enough to make you want to read it on it's own. Just in case it isn't, you can definitely rely on The Summer After you and Me to be the perfect beach read. You can read about the beach while on the beach! What could be better?!?!