Friday, May 3, 2013

ARC Review: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
320 Pages

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…



How My Summer Went Up In Flames is a book that many girls (and women) across the globe can relate to. Rosie Catalano doesn't always think with her mind, but rather her broken heart. That much is obvious when her cheating, jerk of an ex-boyfriend serves her with a restraining order for blowing up his car and following him around. With her family already struggling through their finances, this is really the last thing they need. To keep her from continuing on the reckless path she has been following, her parents send her with her best friend Matty and his two friends on a cross-country road trip. The farther away they get, the more Rosie sees that maybe she can find a better romance, a bigger spark with someone else.

The main character is obsessed--absolutely obsessed--with her cheating ex-boyfriend. As creepy as it may be, I was really reminded of myself in high school. I didn't go as far as to set fire to my ex-boyfriend's car, but I did obsess over him after our break-up. So Rosie and my high school self are truly kindred spirits. While her perspective was relatable and hilarious, at some points, Rosie got on my nerves. It was difficult to sympathize with her at times because she seemed to be setting herself up for it. In several scenes, I wanted to take her aside and shake her until she got a grip on reality. I adored Matty, though the minor twist that he presents was a little too obvious and stereotypical for my taste. Her family also was a great addition to the story. Especially the friendship between Rosie and her brother, Eddie. It's not often that you see siblings who have such an open-relationship.

The thing I liked most about How My Summer Went Up in Flames was how the author tackled something that most authors just shy over. Some girls are crazy, even though they mean well. Rosie is proof of that. She's impulsive, not always easy to get along with and very flawed. That makes her one of the more realistic characters I've read about. This is how teenagers really are. Many of them do things without thinking them through. This novel weaves a comedic spin on the psychotic nature of teenage girls, but also shows the heart of the characters and the angst that all girls have felt at one point or another.

The plot moved a bit slow for my taste, but it was a pretty short read. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed every minute. The thing that made it slow was really just Rosie's inner monologue. She over-analyzed a lot and made some stupid decisions that caused long detours in both the story and the trip being written about. The end was totally swoon-worthy, though. So worth it! I wish it had been longer, but even with non-issue, Rosie's adventure was a hysterical read that will make many laugh and smile. 

Ms. Doktorski has so much talent. Before I picked this up, I read a galley of her sophomore novel, Famous Last Words, and it was absolutely fantastic. That's why I picked it up way earlier than it was released because I just had to get more of this author. While I did not like this as much as her second book, it was definitely something I'd recommend to fans of contemporary young adult and road trips. (And who doesn't love a good road trip?) Ms. Doktorski is an author that I truly look forward to seeing more of in the future!

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Edelweiss.

2 comments :

  1. I love reading road trip books, the crazy adventures and fun times with friends make and enjoyable read. I also love that the parents are present in the main character's life, too often the parents are convenient out of the picture. Happy you enjoyed the book! :)

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