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Young Adult Fiction 61
The Edge of Summer
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THE EDGE OF SUMMER by Erica George is a YA contemporary novel in which Coriander returns to Cape Cod for the season like she’s done for years, only this time she’s without her friend, Ella, who died a year ago in a tragic accident. As a way to prove that Ella’s life and friendship mattered, Coriander is completing a bucket list they started, which includes interning at the Marine Research and Conservation Alliance. Even though working with and saving the whales is Coriander’s life mission, she gets distracted by a local lifeguard, Mannix, who forces her to take a good look at her priorities and how she shows up for the people she supposedly cares about.

There are a lot of elements in this book that I absolutely love, most notably, the setting. Cape Cod and Provincetown are their own characters in this story, and it’s fun to be dropped into a beachy town and its goings-on. They contribute to the overall atmosphere of the book, which is captivating in both a familiar and unique way. It’s also nice to learn about whale conservation, which instead of interacting with this cause in an academic way, the readers get to emotionally engage through Coriander’s experiences and interests.

That being said, even though I like the plot points, the overall pacing of the novel feels off. Things happen at jumps and starts and the storylines could have been interwoven differently to create more tension. As a result, the ending feels rushed. There isn’t enough space for Coriander to truly face what’s happened with Ella or to have a satisfying conclusion with Mannix. Without Coriander really coming to some kind of breakthrough regarding Ella and her behavior, it almost feels as though nothing was learned, especially when we never got a full explanation of Coriander and Ella’s last moments together.

Overall, though, THE EDGE OF SUMMER is a captivating book with a ton of potential, and I’d love to read a sequel that answers all of my lingering questions and allows for Coriander to grow from her past lessons. The book will appeal to Sarah Dessen fans, those who want a beachy romance with a darker edge.
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