Monday, June 25, 2012

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

Everyone knows the old adage, "never judge a book by its cover."  This sentiment definitely applies to Elin Hildebrand's latest novel, "Summerland" (available tomorrow).  Upon first glance at the cover, "Summerland" looks like a frothy summer beach read full of beautiful sun rays and romance.  While it's a perfect beach read and set in the beach vacation mecca of Nantucket, "Summerland," is far from frothy.

Told through alternating voices of family, victims, and nosy locals, "Summerland," unravels the tragic mystery of what caused 17 year old Penny to crash her boyfriend's Jeep which resulted in her death and caused her brother to fall in a coma.  The other passengers in the vehicle, Penny's boyfriend Jake and her friend Demeter each have their own ideas of what caused Penny to crash the vehicle.  Meanwhile, their parents also have their own ideas, and everyone involved is hiding deep secrets that are unearthed before summer's end changing all their lives forever .

While the alternating voices are each distinct and interesting, as are the secrets they're hiding, at times there were too many alternating voices narrating on different timelines that it was little confusing as to who was doing what when.  One secret involves a hotbed political issue that I felt distracted from the novel at times.  However, overall this was an interesting read that was hard to put down.  The author does a wonderful job of describing her native Nantucket. You'll think you're a nosy tourist getting an earful of the locals drama.  You'll develop your own ideas as to what caused Penny's accident but will still be surprised and thinking about the ending for days afterward.  If you like thought-provoking drama, this is a book for you.

Note:  I received no financial compensation for this review.  I received this ARC at BEA from Little Brown & Company.

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