Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the Random Things Tour for Katie Bishop's The Girls of Summer

It's been over a decade since the fateful summer Rachel spent in Greece. But a surprise trip planned by her husband not only brings Rachel back, but puts her face to face with one of the last people she expected. 

Now, reminded of everything that occurred, including her first love, Rachel is having a difficult time going back to life as she knows it. 

So she doesn't. 

Instead, she tracks down her long lost love. And as she reignites that long ago flame, she looks back at everything that happened in Greece. But in looking back, she realizes things aren't quite as she remembers them. And that glittery, balmy summer in paradise...wasn't all it was cracked up to be. 

A #metoo era read about the heady teenage years of love and longing. And how those years, once picked apart by an adult mind, can be seen as something very different. 

Rachel and her friend decide to take a gap year. Except it's not really a gap year because they're still in school, meant to go back for one more year after their trip before college. But still, it's meant to be a summer of adventure and simply enjoying being young. 

When they meet another group of girls staying longer in Greece, Rachel decides not to go home as planned and instead takes a job in a bar. And the prompting of this stay: a man. Not a boy. A man in this thirties who Rachel is so head over heels for that she'd do just about anything. 

But the summer ends (and the book begins) with tragedy. And Rachel and her beloved are separated. Until she decides to find him once again. 

I don't think it's a spoiler to say that The Girls of Summer is a bit of a disturbing read. It's a reminder that the innocence of the young can be easily taken advantage of. And that those involved, don't always realize it even years after it's happened. 

The story alternates between then and now. And while the reader has the benefit of knowing things are not what Rachel imagines, a big part of the story is seeing Rachel's own perception of that summer while it's happening and then through the lens of her experience as an adult. 

Even in paradise, danger awaits!