Midwest Book Review Takes a Look at “Summer Girl” and “Sarah & Zoey”

Summer Girl
Linda Watkins
Argon Press
9781944815042 (eBook) $4.99
9781944815059 (Print version) $14.97


AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Girl-Novel-Linda-Watkins-ebook/dp/B076PH3DBX/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1510242801&sr=1-1&keywords=summer+girl%2C+a+novel

It would be too easy to bill Summer Girl as a young adult romance story; for it contains all the elements of a breezy summer fling as sixteen-year-old protagonist Jake meets vacationer and new best friend Andi during her seasonal sojourn on Cutter Island in Maine in 1965.

However, take a deep breath; because Summer Girl isn’t formula writing about a summer fling, but a deeper story of coming of age, sexual abuse in families, and methods of survival that enter the picture of a blossoming interpersonal relationship, crafting an unexpectedly complex atmosphere to Summer Girl’s plot.

This intricacy is strengthened by the perspective of three different characters who narrate events: Jake, Andi, and Sammy (who views their evolving romance from a distance and harbors his own secrets). It also includes flashbacks and changed viewpoints on all sides as readers are treated to Andi’s musings about her continued connections to the past, (cemented by letters) and her observations not only of how her world has evolved, but what it might have been: “…after I’d read what he’d written, I watched his hand move, reaching for me, and I knew that if I’d been given the chance I would have taken it and RUN . . . run away from this cottage . . . away from this life . . . run with him as fast as I could, the wind and salty air putting roses in our cheeks, the sound of the waves pounding in our ears. Run. Run until we found a beach . . . any beach . . . anywhere . . . where we could lie in each other’s arms and, if only for one night, tell the stories written in the stars once again. Consequences be damned.”

The process of falling in love is closely examined in a moving account that is especially powerful for its inclusion of not only Andi and Jake’s perspective, but that of an outside observer. These three threads create a potent story of one fateful summer of change and its lasting impact on participants and observer alike.

Readers who enjoy coming of age stories given from the perspective of maturity and the passage of years will relish the unique detail and perspectives Summer Girl embraces, which sets it apart from other coming-of-age romances and makes it accessible to new adults as well as mature teen readers.

~D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

Sarah & Zoey
Linda Watkins
Argon Press
9781944815035, $2.99

Ordering Link:

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0777V925V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510087976&sr=8-1&keywords=sarah+%26+zoey

Sarah has everything good in life: a career, family, and nice home. Mindy Sue is her opposite: she has none of these things and few joys in life – just her dog, Zoey. It’s ironic to find that a dog will bring these disparate worlds together in a meeting that portends changes for both, and intriguing to read the process whereby Sarah and Mindy find their very different lives on a parallel trajectory.

Animal lovers will relish the clear contrast between a woman who feels truly blessed with her life and choices and one who feels trapped; all set against the backdrop of a special dog who brings them together.

For Sarah, this involves a day when everything changes and her perfect world comes apart in an instant. For Mindy Sue, it’s when the final blow sends her dog and herself to the brink of death. Mindy must consider what’s best for Zoey’s future. Sarah is deep in grief.

Three disparate lives – two human, one canine – whirl through a circle of circumstance that is poignant, involving, and especially moving to dog lovers who want a novella about crisis, escape, and recovery.

Sarah and Zoey can be read in short segments, so it’s perfect for busy fiction readers who want high drama packed into succinct chapters. The mechanics whereby loss and endangered lives heal are nicely portrayed in a winning story that emphasizes hope and offers an involving tale dog lovers will relish.

~D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

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