Title: A & L Do Summer
Author: Jan Blazanin
Published: May 2011 by Egmont USA
My Rating: 3 stars
Tags: YA | Girls | Realistic
First Lines: "Just imagine it, Aspen." Laurel walks beside me waving her arms. I feel like a football player, dodging her flapping hands and the lunatics rushing to their lockers.
It's the summer before senior year and best friends Aspen and Laurel are craving some attention. They're tired of being single and nobodys at their school, so they decide to change just that. Aspen has lived the Iowa country-life since she was born, but Laurel moved to Cottonwood Creek from Chicago just last summer. She's still getting the hang of things. Over the course of three months, a lot happens in such a boring, small, country town...
From the summary on the back of the book, I expected this to be another story about a girl switching from city-life to country-life, but I couldn't have been more wrong. For one thing, the story isn't even told from Laurel's perspective - but from Aspen's. The best friends have a tight bond and the basis of the book was centered on their friendship. For awhile, I couldn't quite figure out what the plot of the novel was. It seemed like every few chapters a big event would happen, and the chapters in between would just be fillers. However, when these said big events would take place, they were so much fun to read! Aspen and Laurel have trouble lurking in their shadows because they get grounded more times in one summer than I've ever been in my life. Their little adventures were clever and real, and I liked seeing how country girls spend their time surrounded by chickens, pigs, and farm boys.
Probably the best thing about this book is the realism. After reading so many romantic paranormal books lately, with plots and character bonds that could never happen, this novel was a nice change. The guy that catches Aspen's attention, Clay, is just your average farm boy. He doesn't have chiseled abs and a Greek God's face, but instead has freckles and red hair. Their interest in each other was merely a side story and wasn't that developed in the book. I liked how they weren't automatically in love with each other, like many YA couples are, but I do wish that their almost-romance could have played a bigger part in the story.
This was a light, breezy, and fun read for the summer. It's not a book that will stick with me for many years, but was still enjoyable. The author seemed to stay in the shallow end of the pool, and only near the end of the book did she start dipping her toes into the deep end. There were some laugh-at-loud moments that kept me grinning (and my family giving me weird looks) and the novel held my interest. There was a mix of interesting characters, not to mention a group of infuriating bullies who will make your skin itch, a cute little romance, and a nice, realistic plot.
Cover Thoughts: Nothing that great or memorable. I do like the text though, and the red barn background.