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

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how my summer went up in flamesTitle: How My Summer Went Up in Flames
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Date(s) read: August 4 – 5, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher (eARC)

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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…

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Thank you to Simon Pulse and NetGalley for providing an eARC of this book for review!

I put off writing this review for quite some time and I’m not really sure why. I did really enjoy the book — it’s a summery book AND it’s about a road trip (something I love to see in my reading material), but there was something that was just a little off.

But before I get to that, let’s talk about the stuff I loved in this book. First off, the whole premise of it — the fact that Rosie set her ex’s car on fire? That’s what caught me immediately when I requested this. That, and the gas can on the cover. It seemed like it would be a very cute coming-of-age story.

There was plenty of humour in the story, which was great, and I did really enjoy the boys that Rosie traveled with (Logan, especially).

The thing that I didn’t like was Rosie. For the main character, she kind of drove me nuts. First of all, I didn’t really get her wanting to get and get her ex back. She seemed like the kind of character that just didn’t really think about her actions — she just did certain things and waited for the consequences. And (sorry if this is a little spoilery) she kissed a lot of guys — pretty much messing around with ALL the boys in the car. It was a little awkward, especially considering she supposedly wants her ex back. Also, there was the idea of Rosie’s parents sending her on a car trip with a bunch of boys. She’s not even of age, for one thing, and … a bunch of boys!

This book had a lot of potential for me and I really wish it lived up to it! I do look forward to seeing what the author releases in the future because I do think that she has a lot of potential, but this book just turned out to be so-so for me. In the end, when I came back to write this review I realized that I didn’t feel all that much for the story — possibly because I just couldn’t connect with the main character, or maybe because it just wasn’t the summer road trip story I was looking for.

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13 thoughts on “ARC Review: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

  1. All the reviews I have seen on this book have said that same thing about the main character. They just couldn’t connect with her- they had a hard time relating to her and never understood her motives. Which is to bad because this book sounds like it could be hilarious! I am still a little intrigued by the idea of a girl going on a road trip with bunch of boys. But that’s me. I’m not sure that I’ll ever get around this one. But maybe, someday!

    Thanks for the review!

  2. This one looked really good but I absolutely hate girls who are all about guys. I’m getting the sense that Rosie is one of those girls from this review, but you can correct me if I’m wrong. I think overall I would like the book, but I don’t think I would love it.

  3. A definite library book for me, too. I don’t think I could get past the wanting the ex back when there’s boys right in front of me. I guess this is a case of an old lady that should definitely NOT read and review a YA book – I’m referring to myself, of course!!!!!

    I’d bet this book would read better to it’s own age group – I have no idea. I’m probably too old and bent :/

    • Ha ha … there are definitely books like that for me, too! There are YA books that totally work for me, and other times I feel like I’m just too old and critical for others.

  4. This sounds like it should have been a really funny book. I think I’ll have to wait for the library to get it (which won’t be for quite some time! Our library is closing down for a month in September!). Still, maybe then I’ll give it a chance! Thanks for sharing your review!

  5. Oh it is never a good thing when you see a statement like, “The thing that I didn’t like was Rosie. For the main character, she kind of drove me nuts.” Yep, while I like the coming of age, road trip premise..Rosie sounds like a handful! Wonderful review 🙂

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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