Author: Casie Bazay
Reviewed by Chloe Fuksa, Putnam Six Bookstore
Not Our Summer is the debut Young Adult novel by Casie Bazay, released in 2021. The author actually lives in Northeast Oklahoma, and that region, along with Northwest Arkansas, is where the story is based. The book alternates perspectives between the two main characters, with a third voice interjecting from time to time. Not Our Summer is the tale of a family feud, mixed with once-in-a-lifetime trips and an unforgettable summer.
KJ and Becka are cousins who despise one another, ever since a rift between their mothers fractured the whole family. After their grandfather dies though, in order for all four to receive their inheritance, the two cousins must complete five tasks together over the course of their summer vacation. They set out to ride mules down into the Grand Canyon, hike in Yellowstone, whitewater raft in South Carolina, scuba dive in Key West, and participate in a hometown rodeo. As they go on these adventures, they find that their sky-high walls are slowing starting to come down. When they receive shocking news, though, the real reason behind the tasks, their new friendship is quickly put to the test.
The writing in Not Our Summer can feel quite clunky at times; it lacks that beautiful, descriptive flow. But the overall plot is fun, the trips are envious, and there are some good messages to take away. Maybe readers aren’t dealing with a life-changing inheritance like the characters, but they can still relate to all the emotions and difficulties of that coming-of-age phase of life. The book comes in at only 280 pages, so it is very accessible – it would make for a quick, pleasant summertime read!
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