This is a spoiler-free review.
Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Expected publication May 11th, 2021 by Wednesday Books.
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?
Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.
Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.
OMG, you guys-
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK! Like, literally, SO MUCH. 💖
Look, I may be biased because I am also a bi-Jewish girl, and so definitely saw myself in the leads and related to them immensely. But what’s wrong with that?! I’ve hardly have ever felt as seen in a book as I did while reading this one.
Both Lara and Jasmine were very easy to root for. My heart went out to both of them! I have definitely been where each of them were at different points in my life, and so it was impossible not to be hit with all those emotions again as I read this novel.
I found the struggles Lara faces in this book to be deeply relatable coming from someone who is also bi, and didn’t fully realize my queerness for a long time, and even when I did, struggled with identifying as queer myself for many years because I also liked boys as well as girls and consequently, wasn’t sure where I fit. This internal grappling is something I think the novel captures very well.
It’s hard not to gush about this book because I’m wracking my brain as I write this, but I can’t think of a single other novel that has tackled all that before (I’m sure others have, but I just haven’t had the chance to read them!), so I really appreciate what Adler did here?
Queer people who can also “fit” into the heteronormative mold are still valid and still queer. And that may seem obvious with hindsight, but as a queer teen, I really struggled to accept that for myself. So I really admire that this novel puts girls like that at the helm of its story. 💗
Overall, this book is exactly what it advertises itself as: a cute, sweet, indulgent sapphic romance. While I felt a lot of emotions while reading it, the book itself is not super heavy. I’m so glad I read it in the summer because it really is the perfect summer read. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for something easy, breezy, and nostalgic. ☀️
My only note is that I would have liked for the background characters to be slightly more fleshed out for this novel to be absolutely perfect – specifically Lara’s friends. I feel like that was a little bit of a missed opportunity! Meanwhile, I understand why Chase’s character felt one dimension, and I think that made sense given where the story took Lara and his relationship.
The only other comment I’ll make is to address this: I’ve seen lots of people say things like miscommunication and love triangles are overdone in romance novels – two literary devices this book makes heavy use of. And usually, I’d agree, but in this situation, I’d say: 1) miscommunication is super realistic in a scenario like this, and 2) straight love triangles are definitely super overdone, but I’d argue that I’ve almost never seen a bi love triangle done like this before. The idea of which excited me to no end. And the execution? Perfection. *chef’s kiss*
Have you read Cool for the Summer?
What did you think of it?
Let me know!