Published: April 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it
Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?
Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive…
I don’t know if I can even find words to review this book, but I’m going to try. Firstly, Invincible Summer is about so much more than a boy and a girl. In fact, I’d have to say that Chase’s and Noah’s relationships with Melinda take a back seat to the family relationships. Melinda is just one small part of the whole story.
Chase is the second oldest in a family of four, soon-to-be five, kids. Noah is the oldest, Claudia follows Chase and Gideon is the baby – until the new baby arrives. Chase is our narrator and we follow him through four summers of love, grief, joy, emotional turmoil, lust, anger and a whole lot of drama. Chase is growing up, and we get to experience it with him through his summers at the family beach house. And Chase is such a teenage boy! Loves his family, discovering girls, responsible but still reckless. He makes some unwise decisions, but with everything that’s going on in his life and with his family, it’s like he doesn’t know any other decision to make. He just goes with it, and yes – maybe he shouldn’t have, but he did. And he grows and learns and is just so…I don’t even know. All I know is I just wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be ok in the end.
Invincible Summer is one of the few books I’ve read that made me feel as if I was actually listening to teenagers talk. There is a ton of swear words in this book, and I say good. Because the way Chase and Noah and Claudia talk to one another? Is how teens talk. It’s how adults talk, and it’s how tweens talk. There is no shorter of swear words in the schools and home of kids now-a-days, at all. The relationship between Chase and Melinda (girl in the family who rents the beach house next door) and the relationship between Noah and Melinda – I can see it. Two brothers acknowledging that they both have sex with the same girl is a little awkward, but it worked with the relationship between Noah and Chase that we’re presented with. Nothing is stronger than their bond, no matter how much Chase might wish Noah was around more.
There is so much going on in Chase’s life, and at times I just wanted to weep for him and his situation. His family life starts so normal and as the pages of the story unfold we realize there is so much more going on underneath the happy exterior that it is heart breaking. But there is a strength in Chase and his siblings, and even if everything is crashing down around them, Chase is determined to keep his ties with Noah and the others as tight as possible. The summers at the beach house may not be what they were at the beginning of the book, but they are what they are, and sometimes you have to make the best of things. Invincible Summer is rough and tough and pulls on heartstrings while being an incredible story about family, change and what it means to grow up.