Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "A year ago, Penny Berne was the star of her high school’s theater department, surrounded by a group of misfit friends and falling in love for the first time. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, her new best friend is the most popular girl in school, and her first love, Wes, ignores her. Penny is revered and hated. Then, in a flash, a near-fatal lightning strike leaves Penny with no memory of the past year—or how she went from drama nerd to queen bee. As a record number of fireflies light up her town and her life, Penny realizes she may be able to make things right again—and that even if she can’t change the past, she can learn to see the magic where she never could before. This captivating new novel about first love, second chances, and the power of memory is perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and Katie Cotugno’s How to Love."
Penny is obsessed with the theater and so are her best friends. They live for it and have been preparing for their next show non-stop. After dealing with her mother's alcoholism and her wicked words, Penny decides to bail on her important role in the play as she can't handle the spotlight anymore. To make matters worse, she pushes her friends away. Obviously, this is completely out of character, especially when Penny starts getting vibes that her best friend, Wes, harbors feelings for her. This should make her ecstatic, but instead, she self-sabotages everything she once loved. Instead of being the star of the play, she takes a back seat as a supporting character and finds friendship elsewhere. It just so happens that the friend she finds is one of the most popular girls at school. Things are definitely different for Penny now. That is until a lightning strike removes her memories of the past year and in turn, Penny finds out where she truly belongs. Rebecca Maizel's A Season for Fireflies is a cute summertime story that has an edge of sadness to it.
I couldn't really connect with Penny in A Season for Fireflies, but I did feel for her. How her mother behaves and what she has to deal with on a daily basis no teenager should have to, yet we know many do. Her mother's harsh words impact Penny greatly and send her spirling. It broke my heart to see her walk away from role in the play along with her best friends. She was trying to cover up her mother's disease and hide her feelings from her friends despite the fact that they knew something was up. I desperately wanted Penny to talk about it with them, but it's much harder than that for her.
When Penny finds herself a new niche at school, along with a new best friend, this also tugged on my heartstrings as I know this happens a lot in high school. I didn't like drama with her former friends, but I think its an accurate portrayal of high school life.
Wes, her former best friend who has feelings for her (and she has feelings for him too!), is a perfect guy in A Season for Fireflies. He was almost too perfect. He was devoted to Penny and sometimes I wanted him to stand up for himself as she didn't always treat him the way she ought to.
I'm sort of over the amnesia story lines in YA literature mostly because I find them unbelievable. I really had to suspend my disbelief in A Season for Fireflies and although the amnesia plot was entertaining, sometimes it just felt too good to be true regarding what Penny remembered versus what she forgot.
I did like the incorporation of fireflies in A Season for Fireflies and Maizel's repeated use of them in the story. It definitely set the stage and added a little something magical to this summertime story. Although A Season for Fireflies wasn't my favorite YA beach read of the summer, I could still appreciate Penny's journey of self-discovery. Give this one a try if you like YA contemporary fiction with a twist.