Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana

Pages: 256
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Pub. Date: June 17, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Back to the Future meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Haley’s summer vacation takes a turn for the retro in this totally rad romantic fantasy. Summer officially sucks. Thanks to a stupid seizure she had a few months earlier, Haley’s stuck going on vacation with her dad and his new family to Disney’s Fort Wilderness instead of enjoying the last session of summer camp back home with her friends. Fort Wilderness holds lots of childhood memories for her father, but surely nothing for Haley. But then a new seizure triggers something she’s never before experienced—time travel—and she ends up in River Country, the campground’s long-abandoned water park, during its heyday. The year? 1982. And there—with its amusing fashion, “oldies” music, and primitive technology—she runs into familiar faces: teenage Dad and Mom before they’d even met. Somehow, Haley must find her way back to the twenty-first century before her present-day parents anguish over her disappearance, a difficult feat now that she’s met Jason, one of the park’s summer residents and employees, who takes the strangely dressed stowaway under his wing."
Haley was looking forward to a traditional summer involving her girlfriends and summer camp, but instead her father convinced her to come along with his new family to Disney World.  She is dreading this trip, especially since they are staying at Fort Wilderness, a campground, and the new family consists of two toddlers.  Once there, she meets other teenagers and takes part in an annual scavenger hunt with them. Her dad is keeping a tight leash on her though since she has recently recovered from a seizure.  While taking part in the scavenger hunt, she finds herself at the now defunct River Country (a water park that closed in 2001) which just so happens to be the location where her parents met many, many years ago.  Haley experiences another seizure and ends up in a functional and very popular River Country. The year is 1982!  It's as if Haley has stepped into a foreign world and to make matters worse, park security wants to find her parents.  The only problem is…they are actually there…as teenagers!  Gaby Triana's The Summer of Yesterday is a story of time travel, family, and first love. It makes for a charming and adorable beach read.  

As Haley enters the new-to-her world of 1982, I couldn't help but laugh at all of the 80s references and various trends from the time.  It was hilarious to remember some of the different trends, music  and actors that I placed in the dark corners of my mind.  Overall, Haley was a fun character and even though she made some seriously dumb decisions, it was fun to follow along her time travel journey, especially when it came to her relationship with Jason.

Jason, an employee at River Country, tries to help her out after her seizure in Summer of Yesterday.  While in 1982, Haley finds herself developing feelings for him. But the problem is they live in different time periods…how would it ever work and looming overhead is the more important question of how can Haley get back to the 21st century?

I am a huge Disney fan, so revisiting River Country was a treat in Summer of Yesterday. I am STILL bummed they shut down that park, but what is weird is that the park, along with Discovery Island, is still there. There is even electricity going to it and music still plays throughout the park. Bizarre, right?! So, the fact that Triana decides to focus on this defunct park in Summer of Yesterday was immediately interesting to me.  I also visited River Country in the 80s, so I could personally connect to this story.

There were many moments that weren't exactly believable to me (time-travel is a tough sell), but that didn't stop me from enjoying Summer of Yesterday overall.  My only concern is the fact that many teenagers might not get some of the cultural references (e.g.: Christopher Atkins!) but I think they will enjoy the novel's overall message.

This book was light, fun, and if you are a fan of the 80s, time travel, and a lover of all things Disney, you should check out Summer of Yesterday.  If you are like me, this book will have you longing for lazy days spent at River Country clad in neon and listening to Rick Springfield. 


  1. "There is even electricity going to it and music still plays throughout the park." - Really? That's odd. Kind of creepy too, if no one ever goes over there...

    This seems like a fun book to check out from the library. Glad you enjoyed Haley's character for the most part! Nice honest review :)

    1. I know, right?! When I heard that fun fact about River Country, I was definitely intrigued. It's creepy! It's definitely a fun book if you like Disney and time travel. Thanks for visiting, Lea!

  2. Wow I would have never guessed this book was even remotely sci-fi based on the cover. But I do love a good time travel story. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

    1. I know…the cover is so misleading. I love time travel stories too…I am such a sucker for them. Thanks for dropping by, Christa!

  3. This is interesting. I do like to indulge in time travel books once in a while, but as always, overcoming the time obstacle thing in the relationship worries me so. Lol.


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