Wednesday, June 26, 2013

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

How My Summer Went Up in Flames
Goodreads Summary: First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!
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…
Goodreads / Barnes and Noble

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Publisher: Simon Pulse
How I Got It: Library

First Line: "I wasn't always the kind of girl who wakes up on the first day of summer vacation to find herself on the receiving end of a temporary restraining order."

Favorite Quote: "So Joey thinks he's all street now? Yeah right. He'd last two second away from his mommy."


As I've been quite fond of saying lately, I generally try to avoid light and fluffy contemporary YA books. Eighty percent of the time, they're just not my thing. But every once in a great while, when things around me start to border on depressing, I actually want something quick and easy to get me out of my funk. The Summer My Life Went Up In Flames looked like exactly the kind of novel I was looking for - the description made me grin, the cover is really cute, and it's not a long story by any means.

I picked up a copy from the library looking to entertained, and I am happy to say that that's exactly what happened. I enjoyed every moment of reading this one. It kept me interested in a way most books in this genre don't. The best thing about this story is that it made me laugh and chuckle multiple times, out loud. It's pretty rare when that happens to me. But I love when it does, because I know that the author has managed to create lovely, charismatic characters that I have become very attached to. Doktorski does a fabulous job in giving each person a distinctive personality. I believe this is her debut novel, and it definitely won't be the last thing I read by her.

In the beginning, I wasn't exactly sure how to feel about Rosie. On one hand, I found her personality kind of endearing, like an angry kitten. But on the other, I wondered if she bordered on crazy. She's not in the best emotional state, what with having just gotten a restraining order in the mail and everything. The summary states that she is very impulsive, and I can't think of a better word to describe her. Almost everything she did was not very well thought out, and I kind of wanted to grab her by her shoulders and yell, "Stop and think!" Especially when those decisions were just flat-out stupid. She contemplates going to talk to Joey, her cheating ex-boyfriend, right after she gets the order, for example. I realize that she was heartbroken and upset, but that's serious legal trouble. From the way I'm talking about her, you'd think she was an unstable, aggravating nutcase, right? Well, she does find a lot of closure by the end of the book and is in a much better state of mind, and by that time I decided that I loved her. She was crazy and cool, and eventually I just sat back and enjoyed the ride without judging. It was much easier that way.

I loved watching Rosie's interactions with her travel buddies. Spencer and Matty were nerdy for the most part, but they were also just adorable. For maybe the first fifty pages or so, I was wondering who Rosie's new romantic interest would be. I could see the story going in the best friend direction - with her being really sad about the breakup and looking up and noticing this really supportive guy that's been with her most of her life. But Matty and Rosie remain friends, and for some reason I liked that. I didn't want their relationship to get complicated, and honestly Logan felt like a much better love interest for her anyway. He was much more stable; Rosie could use a guy to balance her crazy impulses. But at the same time, I appreciated how Rosie kind of kept her distance from Logan for most of the book. She didn't start getting obsessive again, and really tried to focus on her own life and stand on her own two feet.

Another thing I really loved was the addition of Avery's character. I was all set to meet the stereotypical mean girl when the gang arrived at her house. I was prepared to take the drama I knew was coming; Avery noticing that Rosie liked Logan, and Avery getting all possessive and threatening. But I was honestly surprised to find that Avery was actually very sweet, and it was a refreshing change from what I'd been sure was going to happen. This is one of those books that wraps up all loose ends and leaves off on a very satisfying note. If you're looking for a fun read to pass the time with, I'd definitely recommend How My Summer Went Up In Flames. You're probably just as intrigued with the line on the back cover as I was: "First I lost my heart. Then I lost my mind."

4 stars 

Books in this series:

Other Opinions: 

The Book Scoop
Maji Bookshelf 
Confessions Of A Book Addict

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