I think that this book had the potential to be a really great book and I think for many regular readers of this author will enjoy it, but I didn't really think it worked out for me personally - which is really unfortunate because I was expecting to love it, in kind of a This is Where I Leave You family reunion sort of book.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review and blog tour, today it is The Summer That Made Use by Robyn Carr. Thank you so much to Little Bird Press for providing me with an eARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

This book follows the story of a family who has been broken and estranged by a tragedy twenty-some years ago. The story jumps through a couple of different narrators, including Megan and her sister Charley and their cousins Krista and Hope, and different timelines, that fateful summer and present day. After many years apart and of not going to the lake house in the summer, cancer-stricken Meg pleads with her family for one last reunion before she passes away. Through the summer, the family reunites and works through their issues.

On the outside, this book sounds really interesting. I was anticipating, as I mentioned, something like Tropper's novel, This Is Where I Leave You - a dysfunctional family reuniting in the face of a tragedy and healing. And I suppose that is what I got, but I think this one had a few too many integral issues for me to truly enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.

Firstly, the narration threw me off. The story was told in third person so I was already feeling a little distant from the characters and then the narrators kept jumping around, sometimes even within chapters. I don't know if I am just more used to a certain type of narration and then this one was just too outside of my usual that I wasn't a fan or what happened.

I also had a hard time keeping track of the characters. They all pretty much sounded the same because it was third person and it took me a good chunk to figure out the family tree. The cousins may as well have been sisters, their mothers marrying a pair of brothers and because of how close they were growing up.

I think that the main reason I wasn't a fan of this book was that I didn't connect to any of the characters. It seemed like each one was embodying some sort of trope and stereotype. Meg - the sick one, Charley - pregnant at 16, Bunny - died tragically, Hope - has delusions and mental health issues, Krista - went to prison, Beverley - the foster kid. It just felt like I didn't know the characters, I knew what had happened to them. Each of their trials felt like plot points, not characteristics, something I don't usually like.

I will say that this book did have its good moments, and perhaps I'm being a little too critical. I feel like it would be a good relaxing read, one where you aren't really becoming fully invested in the story for a long period of time but just kind of reading to pass the time. One of those typical "women's fiction" novels that your grandma or mom might read. And I think that might also be a part of why I didn't love it - I'm not the right demographic. I was expecting more than a book like this could give me.

The writing itself was fairly well done and I can see why many people love Carr's novels and will enjoy this one. I just think it didn't draw me in enough to fully enjoy it.

Overall, if you are a Carr fan, definitely give it a go - but for me, it just wasn't my cup of tea.