Title: Cruel Summer
Author: Alyson Noël
Warning: Spoilers (and I spill the ending)!
I’m back because I got a new book! Here it goes:
Cruel Summer is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Colby (yes, Colby as in Colby Jack cheese!) Catherine Cavendish who is prepared to have the best summer of her life. She finally managed to become friends with Amanda Harmon, the popular girl at Harbor High-School (HHS) in Unnamed City, California. Summer before senior-year, and she’s thinking trips to the mall with Amanda, BBQ parties, and hookups with Levi (yes, Levi as in the jeans) Bonham, the hottest and most popular senior at HHS. But this perfect summer plan comes crashing down abruptly when her fighting parents decide to send her to Greece. Colby’s parents are in the midst of a divorce, and they want her to have a change of scenery. When most people think of a vacation in Greece, they think of Athens. But Colby’s going to the island of Tinos to stay with her mom’s sister, a “crazy” aunt named Tally.
Tally doesn’t have Internet access, so Colby spends most of her time on her laptop at an Internet café where she starts this blog called Cruel Summer. She desperately tries to keep in contact with Amanda, and sends her parents letters asking why they have “banished” her to Tinos; in these letters, Colby pleads with her parents to let her come home early. Someone begins to leave comments on Colby’s blog, but the person is anonymous; Colby spends a great deal of time trying to find out who it is. She thinks it’s a friend from California, but it turns out to be someone from Athens who’s visiting Tinos.
One day when the electricity is out, Internet café owner Petros tells Colby to spend some time outside on the beach. She meets this Greek named Yannis, and they begin a relationship. Colby, mistakenly thinking Amanda is her friend, e-mails Amanda a pic of Yannis. After Amanda says something mean about the the sandals he wears, Colby turns shallow and starts to view him negatively. It is later revealed that Yannis is responsible for the anonymous comments on Colby’s blog; he saw her in the cafe, recognized her from the boat ride from Athens to Tinos, and asked Petros about her blog. He began reading it to learn more about her.
Meanwhile, Colby learns from her former best friend Natalie Zippenhoffer (the friend that she dropped with no explanation to hang with Amanda) that her house is for sale, and later, that her house has been sold. Colby talks to her mom and finds out that they’re moving, though her mom isn’t sure where they’re moving to.
Petros dies of a heart attack, which closes the Internet café. Right before Colby leaves for the funeral, someone comes by Tally’s house to deliver a package. When Colby asks what it is, she’s shocked to discover it’s a computer. Apparently Tally and her live-in boyfriend Tassos have decided to get Internet because they’ve decided to share Tally’s jewelry and Tassos’ pottery with the world on a website that they’re planning on creating together.
Colby e-mails Amanda and tells her off, ending their friendship. She gets back together with Yannis and even writes both her parents a letter asking if she can stay on Tinos with Tally and attend senior-year via an online school. Unfortunately, both her parents veto the idea and say that she has to return to California. Colby’s mom has found an apartment in their old city, so she can finish high-school at HHS. The story ends with Colby making plans via her blog to go to Natalie’s upcoming art show.
I really liked this book, especially the writing style. The book is composed entirely in journal entries, text messages, e-mails, and blog entries. Most of the journal entries begin “Colby’s Journal For Desperate Times When She’s,” and with every new entry there is a new phrase following; the phrases varies depending on her current mood.
I would definitely recommend this book!