Friday, August 30, 2019

Book Review: 'Loving Summer' by Kailin Gow

Loving Summer (Loving Summer, #1)
California author/filmmaker Kailin Gow has worked as an Exec in charge of Legal and Production at Walt Disney Company, a writer/producer for Cable Television, an Exec at high tech start ups, an Exec at Fortune 100 Hotel and Travel Corporations, a model, a tour director, journalist, re-organization consultant, and secret shopper. She holds a Masters Degree in Communications Management from USC and Drama/Film and Social Ecology Degrees from UC Irvine. Now combining her highly successful career as an author and filmmaker Kailin uses her personal life's adversities into an inspiration and drive to write empowering books and stories for girls and women of all ages.

In keeping with her mission to empower women Kailin has written a sweet romance that contains social issues such as coming of age, mental illness, divorce, depression, death, and family. How she makes these seemingly disparate themes related is evident in the opening of the Prologue of this story – ‘When I think of my summers spent at Aunt Sookie’s Malibu “pad” as she called it, I think about first kisses, first love, and first heartbreak. I think about my friendship with Rachel Donovan and her brothers Nathaniel (Nat) and Drew. I think of all the sunsets, dawns, and first attempts. And then there was this summer, the summer I grew up, in more ways than one, and everyone noticed, especially the boys, especially Nat." – Summer Jones.

Knowing that this novel is being transformed into a film it is good to note that Kailin’s ability to create characters and dialogue is unique and involving for movie audiences. She proves this rather early in the book with the following encounter: ‘When we all used to stay over at Aunt Sookie’s place on the beach every summer, it used to be great. It’s been three years now though. Maybe it won’t be so good. Maybe I won’t even know Rachel so much. We’ve talked on the phone and online, but a friend you spend all summer with is different to one you just talk to now and again, right? I haven’t seen any of the Donovans since they moved away to San Francisco. And what about Drew? What about Nat? I wonder what he thought about the picture I sent. Did he like it? Did he see that I’m not some little girl anymore? “Summer?” There’s a Goth girl coming towards me, all purple streaked black hair, ivory skin and dark makeup, in a t-shirt and jeans that go with her hair like someone has
streaked purple dye on them. I stare at her for a good couple of seconds before I see her face fully and rush forward to hug her. “Rachel!” I shouldn’t have worried about what it would be like with her back. Just hugging her, I know. I know that we’re exactly the friends we always were. Okay, so she’s done something freaky with her hair, but she’s still Rachel.’

Kailin’s synopsis outlines the excursion we are entering – ‘Summer has always looked forward to spending her summers at her Aunt's beach house with the Donovans. To her, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house was magical, especially getting to spend time with the Donovans - her best friend Rachel and Rachel's brothers Nathaniel, and Drew. Here at Aunt Sookie's beach house, they can be anyone and anything they dreamed. For Summer, she had always wished to become as pretty as Rachel and for her brothers to think of her as more than Rachel's friend. For Nat and Drew, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house meant fun and escape, a place where they go to with their mom and sister for the summer, escaped to the beach, away from city life. They never thought this summer would be different. They never thought things would change as much as they did, that there would be a second chance for everything good and bad, including love and romance...and it all began with them falling for and loving Summer.’

Solid writing lifting what could be a Chick Lit tale into a higher realm of character sensitivity, it is not surprising that this young lady is becoming a force in contemporary literature and film. Grady Harp, March 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.