Cool for the Summer
- Author: Dahlia Adler
- Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
- Publication Date: May 11, 2021
- Publisher: Wednesday Books
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book. I am offering my honest opinion voluntarily.
Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.
Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?
Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.
This book came up on my radar as part of an OwnVoices Jewish book post on Instagram (thanks Kayla!) but I had forgotten what it was about by the time I had started reading it. So imagine my surprise once I actually started reading it! I ended up enjoying so much about this book.
It’s got a love triangle, which isn’t usually my favorite, but this one has a twist — Lara has the guy and is pining for the girl she was with over the summer. It was done really well, and got me over my general dislike for this trope. The only thing that I didn’t love about this book was the way that the Lara-Chase relationship came out. Lara has had a crush on Chase for years, but he hasn’t really seemed to acknowledge her existence until this year. Suddenly, he’s interested in her, and it felt a little like insta-love on his end since it came out of nowhere.
Lara was the kind of character that I love to read about. She’s self-aware, and knows her strengths and flaws. But spending the summer away from everything, and having new experiences in the Outer Banks, she realizes more about who she is without the cushion of her usual friends. Lara becomes more independent and confident, while still staying true to who she is. Once she gets back home, she realizes that out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind. And on her first day of school, she realizes that Jasmine isn’t even out of sight, since she’s now attending the same school.
“I love my friends at home — how much fun we have and how much we push each other and are there for each other — but here I feel like … I get to be and do other things. I don’t have to know exactly who I am and what I want. I’m a summer girl, living my highlight reel. Maybe I don’t want anything realer than that.”
The story included a ton of diversity. Main characters are from different sects of Judaism, with Lara being Ashkenazi since she’s of Russian descent, and Jasmine being Sephardi since she’s of Syrian descent, and it gives a little insight into Sephardic traditions. There’s also characters of multiple ethnicities, as well as gender and sexual identities. It was intriguing to see Lara explore her own sexual identity, since it seems like her crush on Chase has been such an integral part of her persona and interactions with her friends for years.
There’s also something to be said about a character who loves books, works in a bookstore, and dreams of being a writer. I really enjoyed reading about Lara and her friends, and this book was a really great one. I highly recommend it.