Bringing the Summer by Julia Green
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012; 248 pages; p/b. ISBN 9781408819586.
Recommended for secondary school libraries. Julia Green's sixth novel for young teenage girls, Bringing the Summer, is a gentle story that tackles the tough life issues of young love, grief and relationships. With sixteen year-old Freya's voice narrating the highs and lows of her own emotional rollercoaster, this novel will appeal to female readers in their early teens. Julia Green has skillfully woven images of suburban London and the island of St Ailla into her story. Her depictions of Gabes' farm are especially beautiful.
Bringing the Summer opens with Freya still struggling following the loss of her brother and her attempts to deal not only with her own grief, but also that of her parents. Freya, now an only child, lives in suburban London with her busy professional parents. The constants in her life however, are her grandparents, with whom she spends her school vacations, on the island of St Ailla. Although her grandparents, and the island, do not feature heavily in the novel, they clearly influence the young Freya as she recognizes her grandparents' support and love, together with the therapeutic peace their island offers.
It is the end of summer, and Freya is travelling home to London from St Ailla when an accident occurs that causes her to make some difficult decisions about what she wants in life. Following the accident Freya is lead to Gabes, a handsome young student who is studying at the same college, and their friendship ultimately leads her to his large bohemian family. Gaining a glimpse into his unusual family makes Freya wish for something different in her own life. However Freya's relationship with this family inevitably draws Gabes' troubled older brother Theo into her sphere, and immediately, Freya's life becomes even more complicated.
Freya has to make some tough decisions. Should she continue to be drawn into Theo's strange world? What does she feel for Gabes, or is it his family and their bohemian world she has fallen for? How will she choose, and will she manage to rise above the mantel of her grief?