Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 3, 2011
ARC obtained through S&S GalleyGrab
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Anna is dreading another tourist-filled summer on Dune Island that follows the same routine: beach, ice cream, friends, repeat. That is, until she locks eyes with Will, the gorgeous and sweet guy visiting from New York. Soon, her summer is filled with flirtatious fun as Anna falls head over heels in love. But with every perfect afternoon, sweet kiss, and walk on the beach, Anna can’t ignore that the days are quickly growing shorter, and Will has to leave at the end of August. Anna’s never felt anything like this before, but when forever isn’t even a possibility, one summer doesn’t feel worth the promise of her heart breaking…."
Anna lives year round on Dune Island, a place where most people come to get away from it all. She spends her summers working at her family's ice cream shop, hanging out with her friends, and passing time at the beach. Things change when Will, a tourist living on the island for the summer, catches her eye at a bonfire. Will is unlike any boy she's ever encountered. Anna hopes one day to break away from Dune Island and explore the rest of the world; because of this, she finds herself instantly attracted to Will, a native New Yorker. She wants to enjoy her summer along with its newfound romance, but in the back of her mind, she can't help but worry that her heart is going to be broken come Labor Day weekend. Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton is everything you could want in a beach read.
Anna is a likable character that many young adults can relate to. She is the normal girl-next-door type and possesses flaws just like the rest of us. She tends to sabotage good things that come her way and I know many people just like that. On the other hand, Will is a dreamy character that's pretty mysterious. Readers don't learn too much about him, but I liked the fact that he was a downright good guy. Also, I must point out that Anna's family is wonderful. Her parents are supportive, involved and still married. I always like to see that in young adult literature.
The setting is stunning thanks to Dalton's vivid descriptions of Dune Island, which is situated off of Georgia. She describes what seems like a typical resort town, but I love that she includes southern aspects that one wouldn't encounter at any old beach town. I felt like I was there along with Anna going on date after magical date with Will. I could easily imagine the spray of the sea on my face, the southern oppressive heat, and the taste of the salt air. Reading this book was like going on a mini-vacation.
Sixteenth Summer truly captures what makes summer so magical for all of us and if you are an adult, I guarantee it will take you back to the summers when you were a teenager. Dalton portrays summer love beautifully, especially when it's experienced in an idyllic location like Dune Island. If you are looking for a fun contemporary romance, not necessarily one that is too deep, then you will enjoy Sixteenth Summer. All in all, I have a feeling many young adults may be reading this one on the beach this summer waiting to cross paths with their own Will.
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