I'm going to open my rambling review with a warning. Grab some tissues, and possibly some comfort food, before you read this book. There is so much emotion packed into these pages that it is impossible not to feel something while you read. My personal emotions ran the gambit from complete adoration for these characters, to empathy, right on down to loathing. Invincible Summer is an emotional roller coaster ride of the truest kind. Hannah Moskowitz knows just how to draw her reader in and keep them there, before completely ripping their heart out of their chest. The best part? You're just okay with it when it happens. Yes, this book is that good.
Chase, Noah, Claudia, all the characters in this book are gorgeously and vividly written. They feel like old friends you might have been missing, because you know them so well in and out by the end of the book. Each one of them is fighting their own inner demons, but at the same time they are trying to learn how to help one another and just coexist. This is a story about families, and how they sometimes fall apart. It is a story about not being sure that growing up is really all that great. It is also a story about being so completely invested in someone that the mere thought of loosing them tears you apart. There are so many bittersweet relationships to observe that after a while I felt as though I just couldn't take it all in. Emotional overload would be a good description.
From the prodigal son who can do no wrong in his mother's eyes, despite his constant running away, to the lone girl in the family who feels as though she might just be a little overwhelmed by it all, there is something for everyone to relate to. This isn't really a happy story by any means, and there are times when I did feel uncomfortable with what I was reading. Sometimes the interactions between these characters are awkward, or terse, or even downright odd. However it is that fact that really proves that Hannah Moskowitz sees into the heart of her characters, and thus the hearts of her readers. No life is perfect, why should our characters be?
Am I rambling yet? I'm sure I am. There is just no way for me to legitimately explain to you how much I not only loved Invincible Summer, but also how deeply it touched me. Hannah Moskowitz has written something that is definitely not "your typical beach read" and thank goodness for that. This book is raw at times, and completely introspective at others. It is beautiful in the most tear-your-heart-out way possible. I will definitely be buying a copy of my very own and wearing the pages thin with rereading it over and over. Hands down, this is my favorite book of the year so far.