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Every Summer After

Most novels focus on one overarching theme. Delving into too many different emotional topics can sometimes feel overwhelming, or it’s done in a way such that each one comes off feeling superficial. This story debunks both of those misplaced notions.

While there are many well-developed characters that complement the entirety of this story, I couldn’t help but become completely consumed by what I feel are the three main characters in the book: Percy, Sam, and Charlie.

A split timeline approach can sometimes be confusing and/or disjointed, but Ms. Fortune creates a compelling comparison of life as a teenager to that of an adult, as it pertains to both relationships and personal development.

While each reader absorbs something different and unique based upon their personal circumstances, this story shares some seemingly universal truths about love, communication, and fear.

First, the deepest and truest love is born from friendship, the kind where a solid foundation is laid, such that any emotional difficulties set upon it in the future can bear the weight in a safe manner, even if it is not easy. And that’s one aspect of this book that I sincerely appreciate. There are significant character flaws, ones that get messy and real. While it might be easy to conveniently brush them under the metaphorical rug, Ms. Fortune dives deep to reveal the emotional impacts of making a choice, dealing with the consequences, and then changing course with what feels like a frightening level of effort. It’s yet another novel that exemplifies my thoughts that stories help us to navigate life rather than escape from it.

Second, and related to the first, it is only through a genuine friendship that one might find the courage to share thoughts that are most intimate, personal, and potentially hurtful, to both self and others. But the trio of Percy, Sam, and Charlie demonstrate that open and honest communication might be painful in the short run but immensely therapeutic and healing in the end.

Third, there is an element of fear in confronting those things that are most important to us. And the courage required to overcome our apprehensions feels monumental at times, even bordering on impossible, especially when we know what we want and need to say will alter our life paths in an uncertain way. The feelings waiting for us on that far side of fear might be difficult to reach but having the faith to trust in that foundational friendship and the value of open and honest communication guides us toward a place where we can find peace.

I’m usually not a fan of explicit physical intimacy in a novel, and this one has plenty of it. But the manner in which it is shared feels natural and complements the emotional intimacy between the characters in a way that makes me feel it is almost necessary, so I wholeheartedly condone it in this story.

Reading the author’s thoughts at the completion of this novel, the story behind the book, created a warm and satisfying sentiment, that both reader and author or on the same page, both literally and metaphorically, when it comes to some of these elemental truths about the human condition.

This story was a joy to read during a span of time when it was needed most for this reader. The cover of this book, while depicting an important setting in the novel, seems to send a message, both before and after reading it.

Find your soulmate. Connect with them through open and honest communication. And never fear taking that leap of faith toward what matters most to you.

Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️☕️


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