The Summer We Forgot by Caroline George

Book Blurb:

Caroline George once again transports readers with lush, evocative prose, leading them to ask the question: what happens when we can’t even trust ourselves?

Some memories are better left forgotten.

Darby and Morgan haven’t spoken for two years, and their friend group has splintered. But when the body of their former science teacher is found in the marsh where they attended camp that summer, they realize they have more questions than answers . . . and even fewer memories.

No one remembers—or no one is talking.

The group of reunited friends begins to suspect that a murderer is stalking the coastal highway 30A, and they must try to recover their memories as quickly as possible . . . before the history they can’t remember repeats itself.

Everyone has a secret.

As tensions rise and time runs out, Darby and Morgan begin to wonder if they can believe one another . . . or if they can even trust themselves. 

I received this book for free from Netgalley. All comments and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.

AnnaScott’s Review:

It’s official. I have absolutely no self control when I am reading a good book. I literally read this in one sitting, with only a short break for dinner (and that was only because I had to).

Caroline George is an actual genius. She mastered the period drama vibes with Dearest Josephine, and then did a complete one-eighty and nailed this teen murder mystery. Very rarely have I seen an author that can execute multiple genres that are this different from one another so well. And her writing style is literal poetry.

Now for the plot. It really is original in so many ways. The closest thing I can compare it to is the Netflix show Outer Banks, but while they are similar they are also super different. I loved that a significant portion of the detective work is psychological as they try to recover their lost memories. It added a unique twist that kept me fully engaged (and completely unable to put it down). And the ending was totally unexpected but absolutely perfect!

Moving on to the characters. I adored Darby and Morgan so much. They are both so real and relatable, and their relationship is absolutely adorable. They genuinely care about one another as people. YA books can have a tendency to base relationships on appearances and chemistry, and so this was a breath of fresh air. Caroline did an amazing job creating all of her characters so that they were three-dimensional people with a real-world balance of good and bad (even the ‘bad guys’).

The overall message of this book is that life is messy, and that’s ok. The harder we try to fight for perfection, the messier everything becomes. It’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok to feel hurt, it’s ok to be human, and it’s ok to let others see that we are not perfect. Some of the best relationships are built around pain and imperfections, as this story shows. This is such an important message in today’s world of social media, especially in the young adult genre.

My single, teeny tiny critique is that I wish that some of the other counselors had gotten more screen time. Because the story is told from the perspective of Darby and Morgan, they are obviously the focal point (and I wouldn’t have it any other way), but I would have loved to have gotten to know some of the others a little better.

Overall, this is an amazing book that I would highly recommend reading (but maybe not in one sitting, if you can help it 🙃).


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