Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand – Book Review

Have you read Summerland written by Elin Hilderbrand?

About The Book:

It’s June 15th, the night of Nantucket High School graduation. Four juniors are driving home from a party when something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash. The driver of the car, Penny Alistair, is killed, and her twin brother, Hobby Alistair, is left in a coma. Penny’s boyfriend, Jake Randolph, and Penny’s friend Demeter Castle are unhurt–but suffer tremendous emotional damage. Jake and his family move to the other side of the globe–to the west coast of Australia–in order to escape the horrors of the accident. Demeter falls prey to alcohol abuse and other self-destructive behaviors that nearly lead to her destroying her own life.

SUMMERLAND delves into the circumstances surrounding this accident, the roots of which lie deep in the past, with the first interactions between these four friends and their parents. It’s a novel about how tragedy affects individuals, families, and the island community as a whole, and how healing can happen, in even the most devastating circumstances.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book. It grabbed my attention right from the get go, and it held it all the way to the end. It wasn’t a book filled with one big event after another, but it had enough mystery to keep you interested. The story is very everyday. It’s just the life of people in a small town as they try to return to normal after the tragic events of a car crash. Penny’s death and Hobby’s coma are obviously devastating incidents, but I was also heart broken for Demeter and Jake, who were both unharmed. The struggles they faced with guilt and loneliness were equally as devastating. Then of course you have the parents of these teenagers, the mother, coping with the lose of her child and the relief that her son survived, is the obvious victim; but it was also sad to read about the parents of Demeter and Jake and see how they struggled with emotionally losing their children while having them physically still there.

The moments leading up to the car crash are mysterious ones. It caused the reader to make a mental check list of possible scenerios and then as you watched the survivors struggle to find closure and return to normal every day life slowly you can cross off one scenerio after another, as you come closer to gaining the answer everyone is looking for.

I loved the ending of this book. It was not a “happily ever after” ending. The events of the fatal car crash do not allow for that kind of ending. The lose of a young person so filled with potential is a trama that the friends and family will never fully over come. But it was an ending filled with hope. It was refreshing to read of how the characters all came to terms with what happened in their own time and way and how they each decided to face what will be their new normal.

I give this book 4 stars.

*Reviewed by Amanda