April 29, 2011

The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy

Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 432
Review Source: eARC from S & S GalleyGrab

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Three sisters. One life-changing summer.
Calla loves summer because summer means Duncan. They’ve been best friends for years, but Calla has never worked up the nerve to tell him how she really feels. This summer, the summer before college, is Calla's last chance.

Violet isn't much of a rule breaker in real life. But this isn't real life, this is summer, and Violet is determined to make the most of it. Besides, a little sneaking out never hurt anyone. And sneaking out with James is 100% worth the risk...even though James is completely off-limits.

Daisy has never been the sister that boys notice, but when sparks fly with Joel at the first bonfire of summer, it seems so easy and right. So why is being his girlfriend so complicated?

My Thoughts:
‘The Summer of Firsts and Lasts’ is a story which is told from the perspective of three sisters named Calla, Violet, and Daisy. While I like this idea in theory I think I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if it had been from the POV of only one of the sisters. This is because in the end I didn’t really feel like I fully understood any of them. The reader just doesn't get to spend enough consistent time with any of the narrators to form a full connection. I kept finding myself interested in one girl's story only to be torn out of it and into one of the other sister's dilemmas as the next chapter began.

One small advantage of the three different perspectives was that you were able to see each girl from a different angle, with their sisters pointing out things about each character that they didn’t realize themselves. This is really cool in some respects, yet, again, it made it confusing because you wondered which version of each girl was the real one. Three separate points of view also made it hard to keep track of all the characters. When each girl has a circle of friends around them at camp, keeping track of all the people got difficult. Another confusion came from the girls’ nicknames: they each had several of them, and they weren’t normal sounding, so at times I had no clue who the sister was referring to. All of this makes it sound like you need to be a rocket scientist to read this book which obviously is not the case, but all of these things put together added up to a less than satisfying reading experience.

I can see the potential of this book, and I did enjoy some aspects of it, but because I failed to connect with any of the characters or their stories, it’s mostly forgettable to me. If you can keep track of a large cast of characters you might enjoy this one more than I did. I think what this book is really about is the love between sisters and the bond that they share, as well as about spending time at summer camp. Perhaps if I had sisters I could have connected to this element more, and if I had enjoyed summer camp more (I only went once, and it was such a dreadful week) I would have appreciated that part of the book. I’ll say this, though: Terra Elan McVoy made me wish I had sisters and summer camp experiences to look back on. Summer as a teenager is a magical time and McVoy does write about this beautifully, sharing a story about summer camp, love and crushes, friendship, and, most of all, sisters.


Find The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca


  1. Really great review Ashley, it gave me a good feel for the book. Multiple POVs are usually hit or miss with me. I like them when they're well done and I get more insight into characters than I would have with just one POV, but sometimes it all gets a bit confusing and it sound like that was the case here. Love that cover though, so summery and pretty:)

  2. What a shame this didn't live up to expectations. I agree with your previous commenter, that it takes skill to pull off an enjoyable multi-narrator story. Thanks for the thoughtful review :)

  3. Hmmmmm this doesn't sound like the book for me, and I'm sad to see it didn't live up for you either. I love that you were so honest though...multiple POVs are tricky :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; I appreciate each one!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...