Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief.
Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.
While this was a good story of grief, friendship, and forgiveness, it didn’t hit me like I thought it would. Don’t get me wrong, my heart hurt for these characters and their loss, but I think it’s the lack of connection I had to these characters that made this book less than a five-star read for me.
Lucy is probably more relatable out of her and Ben. She doesn’t seem to know how to handle all the grief at once, especially since Ben said horrible things to her after Trixie’s funeral. So it’s not just the loss of her best friend, but the boy she loves pushed her completely away. She did make a new friend in Hannah prior to the start of this story, but of course Hannah can’t replace those she lost. She also seems to let herself get persuaded too easily by newcomer, Simon, who I have to say was a complete creep.
Ben, on the other hand, can only think of how much he messed up with Lucy, and still blames himself for his sister’s death. He rightfully so loses his mind over it, and is just angry and hungover pretty much all the time. I did feel bad for Ben, since he really didn’t know how to cope with his loss and his mistake of pushing Lucy away – he was completely lost in this story and not until the end does he figure out how to find his way back.
As for side characters, let me reiterate that Simon is a creep. I didn’t have a good feeling about him at first, and then after he wouldn’t leave Lucy alone until, I was done with him. Unfortunately, he coaxes Lucy into a relationship and is immediately possessive of her and gets jealous when Ben happens to be around. Hannah, on the other hand, does have good intentions as Lucy’s new best friend, but in a way, she seems like a replacement for Trixie, even in personality. I did like Hannah, but she also fell a little flat as a character.
The setting was probably the best part about the book – based a resort on a lake in Minnesota, and I could feel like I was there. There was a small-town vibe to the people who lived on the lake, as everyone knew everyone, and the fact that Lucy and Ben’s families had been there for generations. Reading this made me wish I was up at a lake-house and relaxing in the summer sun (despite the fact I hate being outside) and want to live close enough to my friends to just walk or ride my bike over to their houses.
Grief is a major part of this story, obviously, and learning to let time heal it. Grief never fully goes away, but somehow you learn to celebrate the good memories and cast away the bad ones. It was something the characters had to come to realize on their own, along with how to forgive themselves and each other.
Overall, this is a good story, but it just fell a little flat for me character-wise, which is why I’m not rating it higher. It’s a book I don’t regret reading, but I know I won’t read again.
Rating: 3/5 stars