Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Summer of No Regrets

by Katherine Grace Bond
Read: August 6-8, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Library book
Category: YA

This was the summer that would change my life.
No more being what everyone expected. No more doing what everyone else wanted.
So when Luke came into my life, I decided to keep him a secret. Maybe he as a dead-ringer for notorious Hollywood bad boy Trent Yves. And it was possible that everything he told me was a lie. And yes, I was probably asking for trouble. But all I saw was Luke--sweet, funny, caring--someone who would let me be the real me.
But which was the real him?

Brigitta lives with her hippie parents in the woods of the North West in a spiritual retreat center that caters to everyone from nuns to children with psychic abilities. The Center, or Earthship, is made out of materials such as tires and soda cans. Brigitta is surrounded by people of varying faiths and belief systems. Her grandparents were Christians, her mom believes in fairies, her father is a former atheist turned shaman, and her sister Mallory has put her hopes in psychology. Not surprisingly, Brigitta’s not sure what to believe. She’s also still dealing with grief from the death of her grandparents – Nonni and Opa – that she doesn’t know how to handle.

While in town one day with her celebrity obsessed friend Natalie, Brigitta literally runs into a boy named Luke. Her friend immediately suspects he is the actor Trent Yves. Brigitta rolls her eyes at this, but secretly also thinks he looks a lot like Trent. 

It turns out that Luke has moved into the mansion next door, and Brigitta starts to get to know him with him after they share an encounter with a cougar. The problem is that Luke keeps disappearing for days on end, with no explanation. And he still looks suspiciously like Trent. But Trent the celebrity is a jerk and Luke seems like a really great guy. So who is he? And where does he go when he disappears? 

The cast of characters in The Summer of No Regrets are quite eclectic. And with so many different messages coming at her, I can definitely understand why Brigitta is trying to figure out who she is and what she believes. She also wants other people to know the real her. I really enjoyed these coming of age themes. It also makes Brigitta's relationship with Luke all the more interesting, because as she begins to feel like he knows and gets her – she starts to more fully question whether she knows him at all.   

Amidst Brigitta's quest to figure out who Luke is, silly blog posts and some cute baby animals too, this story asks some really great life questions that many teens (and adults) ask themselves. 
  1. How do you go on after the death of a loved one who knew you as no one else does?
  2. When everyone around you believes something different, how do you decide what you believe? How do you make your faith your own?
  3. What does it mean to be a good friend?
  4. What happens when you realize that some things can't be saved?
  5. How do you decide how far to go in a relationship? (I really appreciate what Nonni told Brigitta: "Treasure your virginity, Brigitta. It's a gift you can only give once." So few YA novels have any sort of message like that)
  6. How do you relate to your parents when you realize they're not perfect, and you're not sure they Know you? Or you them?
  7. How do you know whether to trust someone's telling you the truth about themselves? 
This story isn't always realistic, and I think its scope may have been a tad large (a bit ambitious in the number of questions it asks). Also, Brigitta "could" have figured out who Luke was earlier in the book - but perhaps she didn't want to know. Because it might have changed everything - I get that fear. 

There's a scene in the book during the time that Brigitta doesn't know whether Luke is Trent or not, when she has access to his wallet. She has to decide whether to look and see for herself who he is, or trust that he's telling her the truth. What do you think you'd do in the same situation?

Rating: 3.5 stars
Love Triangle Factor: Mild


  1. Ok, there seems to be a lot going on this book! hippie parents, living on a commune, celebrity look-a-likes and mysterious boys next door, whew! When you said the commune's name was Earthship I had to actually go back and re-read the synopsis to see if this was a science fiction book!

    Anyway, the one thing that sticks out is #1- how do you go on with life after losing a loved one...because that really reminds me of "The Sky is Everywhere" (which you know I LOVE) and it seems like this is sort of a coming of age story as well, which I also love. So perhaps I should check this one out:)

    Would I snoop through a guy's wallet? Would you be disappointed if I said "yes"? I don't know all the particular's of the situation, having not read the book, but yeah, I'd probably snoop.:)

    1. I've just requested The Sky is Everywhere at the library! Thanks for the reminder that I need to read that book. I have a feeling that this book is really nothing like it - and no where near as profound. There are lots of messages to think about here and a general silliness with the whole celebrity thing (plus cute animals!). I didn't even think about the possible sci-fi connection. But it is definitely NOT that. Brigitta's dad - who's brain child the Earthship is - spends a lot of time dressed in paint and feathers, banging his drum in the woods.

      I'm definitely not judging you for that answer! I asked the question because I'm not sure what I would do. I think I might look as well! Especially if I really wanted to know who he was. BUT I think there were other ways she could have discovered the fact without even looking at the wallet. I just think she didn't really want to know the answer to her question.

  2. This book is one that I easily read while on the treadmill. It was fun and light and quirky, and I like those sometimes. But I think you nailed it when you mention that it had a large scope. For its size, it could have been "squished" a bit and it might have been a little more solid in terms of the story. Still, it was fun.

    The wallet thing...I really don't know what I would do. I'd like to think I wouldn't snoop. But I just might. (I'd probably get caught too. That's my luck.)

    1. I agree with your assessment: "fun and quirky" are great adjectives to describe this book. Definitely easy to read, and the "mystery" was entertaining to watch unfold. The author was ambitious in the issues she tried to tackle. But when the book ends, I don't remember a lot of them actually being answered by the characters - besides the whether Luke is Trent one. Even so, I enjoyed it overall.

      HA! I'd probably get caught too. I could imagine him coming in while I was looking at the wallet, and doing something stupid like chucking it across the room. OF course then I'd really look suspicious.


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