Just One Summer: A Novella Collection - 'Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants' for the Contemporary Audience

Friday, July 10, 2015

About the Book:
Publisher: Independently Published
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2015
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Genre: Fiction; New Adult Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5   
Have you ever read a book you thought sounded like a charming bit of fluff? You know the kind. That was my initial reaction to Just One Summer. A novella collection brainstormed by four talented authors who are taking the indie world of publishing by storm. What I did not realize was just how fast and thoroughly I was going to fall head over heels in love with the four stories they created. There’s such a diverse world of emotions captured in this fleeting bit of joy. As a whole story, it works almost in sync with its counterparts despite it being able to pull individual sets prompts, each with their own voice. 

The overall plot is about four lifelong friends who are stepping out on their own for their first summer apart. Who do we meet? First is Joss, a girl tired of pretending everything is right in her family; Sydney is trying to find her independence after a bad relationship with a guy wanting her to follow her father’s idea of “perfect”; the homeschool graduate, Darby, who finds herself while working at a tattoo parlor along with some help from her boss, Lennon; and finally there is Avery, who has ghosts of her own to confront – even if it means visiting the grandfather she never wanted to know to do that. 

This is really just the briefest of overviews for this collection. Not just as a whole, but also the individual vignettes. These ladies packed a lot of content into the brief snippets they invited us into of these girl’s separate lives. Four lives that are spread out across the Country. The book begins with one of the sweetest little stories I think I can safely say, I’ve ever read. 

Nicole’s delicately beautiful Joss, and the boy-next-door character (A Summer Remade) we meet are darling. I enjoyed their interactions and his genuine affection for Joss as he tries to entice her into living more colorfully, unafraid. 

Following this are the two “edgier” stories that tell Sydney's (Waves of Summer) and Darby’s (A Painted Summer) stories, respectively. Sydney’s probably has the most compelling and interesting backstory (kudos to Tammy) as she struggles with her mother and the repeat pattern she keeps falling into. 

Darby’s story is unique because she’s trying to find her own voice and while I can appreciate this, I also don’t believe that her education should be considered any reason to hold her back. She’s got what it takes to do whatever she wants and in all honesty, I probably enjoyed her budding romance the most. Amy's leading man, Lennon, is awesome

Finally, there is Jenny’s story, Wild Heart Summer. Having her name on any work of fiction means we’re ensured a hilarious good time. What I appreciated about 'Wild Heart' was its softened narrative voice, and the way Owen sweetly pursues Avery, a girl who was already skittish thanks to a past riddled with regret and fear she’d end up like her mother.  

Aging up the characters for this collection was a wise decision. Instead of a young adult novella, this fits better with the New Adult crowd though there is bound to be crossover. None of the stories are overly focused on any kind of spiritual themes, which means this won’t come off as “preachy” to anyone. Friendship and the places we have to go before we can “grow up” are the forces navigating this. What more I can say, I really don’t know. I’m delighted I had the chance to read this. An amazing co-mingling of talent is woven together seamlessly to create a summer this reader isn’t soon to forget. To try and put more perspective on these stories, this made me all nostalgic; really, it’s like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants for this generation. 

The girl’s personalities and the men who sweetly capture their hearts are darn cute. Each of the budding romances flow well and though enough time isn’t given to each (due to the length), every single one feels natural and as if it’s all happened in the perfect time. The end leaves the girls healthier emotionally and on the cusp of being truly in love.  

Searching for that ideal beach read may be closer than you think. Reading Just One Summer should be the one objective anyone remedies before taking the effort of looking for that next summer read. Make a date with these four girls. Friendship, romance, sass (this wouldn’t be a complete collection without some), adventure and coming-of-age stories don’t get superior or better plotted than these four. After this, what's left to say? Just read them. ♥

Synopsis: Four Best Friends. Four Love Stories. Just One Summer.

Four college girls, best friends since childhood, have found one constant in their ever-changing lives--summer. Every June the girls choose a destination to reconnect, only this summer is different. This year, each one must face life's challenges on her own, overcome fear and failure, and learn the beauty of falling in love for the first time.

A Summer Remade by Nicole Deese
Joss Sanders needs an escape, a reminder of a sweeter, simpler, and steadier time. Only her family's cabin isn't exactly how she remembered it as a child, and neither is the charming boy who lives next door. Change is everywhere. If Joss doesn't stop living in the past, she just might miss the promise in her future.

Waves of Summer by Tammy L. Gray
Sydney Andrews wants nothing more than to get away from a controlling ex-boyfriend, find some clarity and enjoy a drama-free vacation. But nothing in Sydney's life is ever that easy. Especially when the sexy bartender she meets at her mother's wedding wants more than just her friendship. He wants the girl she's forgotten how to be.

A Painted Summer by Amy Matayo
Darby Sparks has lived a very sheltered life. A homeschool graduate, a small town resident, and the only child of two over-protective parents. But she's had enough. She wants to see the world and chase her dreams, and that's just what she does...until she runs out of money. With limited options, Darby finds herself working for dangerously hot Lennon Dixon, the owner of a downtown Los Angeles tattoo parlor. To call the job unfamiliar is the world's biggest understatement. And to call her attraction to Lennon unexpected is a very close second.

Wild Heart Summer by Jenny B. Jones Twenty-one year old Avery Crawford has had to fight for everything in her life, and this summer is no exception. When her culinary internship in a chic restaurant falls through at the last minute, she gets an unexpected offer to work on a dude ranch in the quaint town of Sugar Creek. While Avery's up to her apron in cattle drives, trail rides, and kitchen duty, the cute ranch manager Owen Jackson is determined to sweep her off her feet. Just as Avery finds herself unable to resist Owen's Southern charm, her own family secrets begin to unravel, pushing her away from the ranch--and the love of one handsome cowboy. - Goodreads

Sincere thanks to author, Jenny B. Jones for providing a complimentary e-copy of this book.


  1. Thank you! What a fabulous review! Made my week.

    1. Hi, Nicole. Thank you for visiting. Always a pleasure to discover a genuinely wonderful novel. You ladies accomplished that and then some by putting your heads together for this one. Well done. :)

  2. Thanks so much, Rissi! Loved the review.

    1. My pleasure, Jenny. Thank YOU for sending a review copy. This was truly a wonderful read for me. :)

  3. Great review! I'm definitely getting this collection.

    1. Thanks, Heidi! I really loved this collection. Such a talented group of ladies, who put it together for us. :)

  4. Such a good review, Rissi, thanks for sharing. I've been wanting to try this one out ever since I had a good novella experience with 'This Quiet Sky' and am happy to hear this one had more depth than initially thought. It sounds super cute! Love this review!!

    1. Thanks - as always, for reading, Bekah. I don't know how coherent this review is... because well, I did love this collection. Adding it to my literal shelves (rather than just virtual) is a must. Hope you enjoy it if/when you read the books. :)

  5. This stories are so much fun! I confess to wondering whether I'd like Darby's story or not and it ended up being one of my favorites! Although I'm not sure I can pick which story is my top fave, because they're all adorable! And those guys. Oh my heart, they're so swoony! Now I can't wait for more from these authors. :D

    1. You and I both, Kara. I liked something unique about each story, so picking a favorite would be a challenge. Probably a *very* hard one to boot. The guys were amazing - and swoony. ;)

      Here's hoping these ladies write more individually and perhaps if we're nice, they'll write something together again. :D


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