“Just because you’re telling a good story, doesn’t mean it’s the right story. And I think that it’s really important to tell the right story.”

Dahlia Adler, Cool for the Summer

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Year: 2021
Page count: 272
Format: Physical Book
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.

Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.

Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?

I have heard really mixed things about this, so I had no idea what to anticipate going into this. While it wasn’t an all time favorite, it was a quick summer read that also had some serious notes in it.

Like the synopsis says, this follows Lara, who has a seemingly perfect life. She is popular at school, has a great group of friends, and the perfect boyfriend who also happens to be the star quarterback. Even so, Lara can’t get Jasmine out of her head, a girl who she spent the whole summer with. Now, Jasmine has transferred to Lara’s high school with no warning, and Lara can’t get her out of her head.

To start off with positives, I think this book really touched on some great topics. We have Lara, who has always assumed she was straight, until she met Jasmine. This book shows that the journey to discovering your sexuality is not the same for everyone. While Lara still doesn’t have a label for herself, some of her friends have known they have been bisexual since grade school. It shows the reader that no everyone’s journey is the same, and that’s okay.

Along with that, this book was just a lot of fun. Even though it does read like it’s written for a younger audience (which it is), it was still fun to read about high school parties and homecoming dances. It read really quickly, and I finished it in about 2 sittings.

That being said, there was quite a bit in this book that I didn’t like, starting with the characters. While Lara was the most developed character in the story (which makes sense, as she’s the protagonist), I still felt like I didn’t really know much about her. The author describes the summer as a time where Lara really discovered who she was without her high school friends, but I didn’t really understand who that was. I felt like her only character traits were loving reading and writing (which I feel like is a cop-out, because most people who read books also like reading and writing), and stuck in a love triangle. I feel like the reader was supposed to believe she went through this incredible transformation, but I just didn’t see it.

Along with that, I found both the love interests to be almost like stock characters, especially Chase. Chase is the star football player who all the girls are pining over. He is in the running for homecoming king, and has a bunch of college scholarships lined up. We have all read about this character before, so I didn’t find him to be super memorable. Along with that, Lara had been crushing on Chase for years, and his interest in her felt too sudden to be realistic. She had been trying to date him since middle school, and suddenly she chops her hair and he decides to make her his girlfriend.

While Jasmine was a bit more developed, I still felt like I knew nothing about her. She is the character that is untouchable- she always looks flawless, her style is immaculate, and everyone wants to be her. This is another character everyone has read about. I wish the author would have given her a bit more characterization, because I still felt like I knew nothing about her by the end.

Along with that, this book relied very heavily on the “miscommunication trope,” which is probably my most hated. This entire book could have been avoided by having one conversation at the beginning of the novel. It just made my reading experience frustrating.

I also read a review that mentioned they felt like the author was trying to fulfill a “minority checklist,” which I didn’t notice while reading, but looking back can recognize. You can read Cosette’s review here if you want to learn more about that.

I feel like that review was a bit mean, because I really didn’t hate this book. It was a fun YA romance, and I do think it would make for a super cute Netflix rom-com! I would definitely read from this author in the future.

What did you think about this book? Let me know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

  1. I felt very much as you did about this book. It’s fun but needed more character development. But it did hold my attention which is always a good thing. Great review!


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