Cool for the Summer

  • Review
By – May 19, 2021

Lara has had a crush on the high school quar­ter­back for years, and every­one knows it. Not just her close group of friends, who have had to lis­ten to Lara talk about Chase Hard­ing all through mid­dle and high school, but also the entire school and, quite frankly, Chase him­self. When every­one returns from sum­mer vaca­tion, Lara is stunned when it seems that her dreams of dat­ing Chase may come true. Instead of float­ing on air and falling in love, Lara is unset­tled. Then some­one from her past unex­pect­ed­ly shows up on the first day of senior year: Jasmine.

In alter­nat­ing chap­ters, we learn that Lara spent the pre­ced­ing sum­mer on North Carolina’s Out­er Banks, where her mom works as the exec­u­tive assis­tant for a wealthy busi­ness­man. There, Lara meets Jas­mine, the businessman’s daugh­ter, who invites her along for an unfor­get­table few months filled with bon­fires and sun­burns. Even­tu­al­ly Lara is con­front­ed with her roman­tic feel­ings for Jas­mine and strug­gles to fig­ure out what they mean. Over the course of the sum­mer and dur­ing senior year, Lara has to deter­mine who she is and what she wants.

As one reads this res­o­nant nov­el, it is easy to feel close to Lara, Jas­mine, and their friends. Dahlia Adler deft­ly evokes the process of grow­ing into one­self in high school; this book will cer­tain­ly bring back mem­o­ries for read­ers no longer in their teens. Although Judaism is not promi­nent in the plot, both Lara and Jasmine’s fam­i­lies are Jew­ish and have won­der­ful moments togeth­er — includ­ing a beau­ti­ful Shab­bat din­ner — that make Lara and Jasmine’s con­nec­tion even deep­er and more relat­able. The way that Cool for the Sum­mer alter­nates between cur­rent and past time­lines makes it easy to under­stand how Lara falls for Jas­mine (and vice ver­sa), and how chal­leng­ing it is for Lara to face (and to tell her friends about!) this once she returns home.

Writ­ten in a clear, acces­si­ble style, this book tells the com­pelling and sweet sto­ry of one girl’s jour­ney of self-discovery.

Jes­si­ca Sender is an aca­d­e­m­ic librar­i­an at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty. She has worked in pub­lic and aca­d­e­m­ic libraries, and in her free time enjoys run­ning, bik­ing, real­i­ty TV, and explor­ing Michigan. 

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