Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski


Pages: 320
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 7, 2013
Source: Edelweiss
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious. To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…"

 Rosie has been a bit impulsive her whole life and everyone knows this about her, but she has never done anything like this before.  She finds out that her boyfriend, Joey, cheated on her and while burning all of the gifts he has given her, she accidentally sets his car on fire.  She tries repeatedily to apologize to Joey, but he views all of her attempts to contact him as stalking and now he has a temporary restraining order out of her.  This summer was supposed to be all about the beach, romance, and fun, but now she is facing one of the worst summers of her life.  Rosie's parents are worried that she won't keep her distance from Joey, so they send her off on a road trip with her ever-reliable next door neighbor, Matty.  He and his two friends are driving to Arizona, so that way his friend will have a car out there for his freshman year of college.  Rosie thinks that this trip is going to be a major drag, but by the end of it, she learns more about herself and can see things much more clearly.  Jennifer Salvato Doktorski's novel, How My Summer Went Up in Flames is a fun and light debut about a memorable cross-country road trip.

Rosie really irritated me at first in How My Summer Went Up in Flames.  She is just SO very impulsive and didn't really get how serious the situation with her ex-boyfriend was.  I find it odd that her parents would allow her to go on a road trip with three other guys based on her previous behavior, but, hey, it made for an entertaining story.  She spent most of the road trip really not having fun, but then started to gain perspective and branch out a bit, which is, essentially, what traveling is all about.  Although I had a hard time connecting with Rosie, I still had fun with her witty dialogue and feisty antics.

Matty is a good guy who is practically Rosie's brother in How My Summer Went Up in Flames. He has been planning this road trip with his friend Spencer and Spencer's brother, Logan, for sometime now. They are taking Logan's car out to Arizona and then flying back. I really liked Spencer, Logan and Matty and loved some of their nerdy interests, which Rosie pretty much shunned for the first half of the trip.  There is a bit of a love triangle in How My Summer Went Up in Flames and it was rather predictable.  I guess that is expected when you are the only girl (except Avery for a few days!) on a road trip with three other boys.

While on the road trip, they visit Avery, a wealthy girl from Dallas, whom Logan befriended during college orientation.  Surprisingly Avery and Rosie hit it off, which is one aspect of How My Summer Went Up in Flames that I liked.  Rosie also has a best girl friend at home and it was refreshing to see such good friendships amongst girls without all the usual drama.

I liked the road trip aspect in How My Summer Went Up in Flames and some of the fun places they visited are the Country Music Hall of Fame, Dollywood, Graceland, the Grand Canyon, etc.  I felt that Morgan Matson does road tripping a bit better in Amy & Roger's Epic Detour; however, How My Summer Went Up in Flames was still an entertaining read.

If your summer isn't complete without a road trip book and you want something light with a spunky main character on the side, check out Salvato-Doktorski's debut, How My Summer Went Up in Flames.  

16 comments:

  1. I have heard that Rosie is a bit frustrating, which is why I haven't read this book. But I am kind of excited to hear about girls being good friends without all the stereotypical drama. I think I might need to give this one a try now.

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    1. I did like the whole normal friend aspect of the book--a rare occurrence in YA, but Rosie did irk me for the first half of the book. If you give it a try, I hope you like it. Thanks for visiting, Quinn!

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  2. This definitely sounds like a cute one. I really loved Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, so I worry that the two might be a bit too similar for my tastes, or that I'll compare the two to one another too much, but I still want to read it. Wonderful review, Christina :)

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    1. It was a really light read--perfect for summer! I liked Amy & Roger a bit more, but it was still fun nonetheless. Thanks for visiting, Melissa!

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  3. I don't think I've ever read a road-trip story. Can you believe that? I'm trying to remember and I can't recall one. Too bad Rosie is a bit hard to connect to in the beginning, but it seems like you were able to get past that and enjoy the rest of the story, so that's a good sign:) Would you say Amy & Roger is your favorite road trip story, or is there one better I should start with?

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    1. OMG! Really? I am surprised. You MUST try Amy & Roger...definitely my favorite road trip story. Thanks for visiting, Jenny.

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  4. I liked this book, but didn't love it. Like you, I found Rosie's character to be too much at first and had trouble connecting with her, but I do think the author created a realistic and satisfying character arc throughout the novel. I did like that there wasn't any cattiness between her and Avery and that the two connected immediately and will, hopefully, be life-long friends. The love (square) kind of bothered me, but not nearly as much as I'd expect. Great review!

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    1. I completely agree. I liked the friendship between Avery and Rosie as well....definitely a highlight. Thanks for dropping by, Natalie!

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  5. I loved this book so much! I'm glad that you liked it too! I need more roadtrip books in my life!

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    1. I know, right?! Road trip books are pretty great. I'm glad you liked this book, Christianna. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Really loved How My Summer Went Up In Flames! Rosie can be a bit irritating sometimes, but she's so strong and her character was just great. Can't wait for a sequel. Thanks for your review:)

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    1. I'm glad you loved it. Rosie was a lot of fun....definitely kept me entertained. Thanks for visiting!

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  7. I hate love triangles but I do like road trip novels. I loved Amy and Roger's Epic Detour.

    I will be reading this book at some point since I requested it for review. I hope Rosie won't disappoint me. :)

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    1. I loved Amy & Roger as well. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this book. I'll keep my eye out for your review. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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  8. She sounds kooky. I like that. Great honest review. The cover sucked me in. I might try this one.

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    1. She is totally kooky and very entertaining. I really like the cover, too. Thanks for visiting, Juju!

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