Book Review - The Summer I Got a Life by Mark Fink

Thursday December 10, 2009

The Summer I Got a Life
by Mark Fink
Release Date November 10, 2009
Published by WestSide Books
Andy Crenshaw, 15, is about to have a summer he didn't expect. He lives in the shadow of his good-looking, athletic older brother, Brad, and they don't get along. Lately they only agree on their excitement over their upcoming trip to Hawaii.

But the family's plans change at the last minute, packing the boys off to rural Wisconsin. They'll be stuck with their wacky, free-spirited aunt and uncle--on a farm with no cable TV and Internet.

Things start looking up when Andy scores a date with Laura, a cute teenage local celebrity pianist, and even Brad's impressed. Laura's amazing: besides her late night jam sessions at a local jazz club, she's the funniest, little-bit-crazy girl Andy's ever met.
He's shocked at first to see her in a wheelchair, but nothing stops Laura--her killer bowling skills leave Andy in the dust.

Meanwhile, Andy and Brad share a series of misadventures and narrow escapes that move their brotherhood to a whole different level. It all adds up to a summer no one will soon forget.

Although the paranormal and fantasy stuff is my usual favorite, it is always refreshing to read a straight forward romance or coming-of-age story once in awhile....especially if it is unique and well written!

Andy is a likable character with the normal amount of angst for any healthy teenage boy. He has a self-described love-hate relationship with his brother (with emphasis on the "hate" most of the time) but underneath it all you can definitely see the love they have for each other.

There are also some genuinely funny situations in the book starting with the plane trip to Wisconsin, anyone who has flown on a plane will feel for Andy when he sees his seatmate coming down the isle!

I absolutely love the characters Aunt Karen and Uncle Jim...everybody should have an aunt and uncle just like them....unique, caring and a little bit wacky! They play a huge part in Andy and Brad finding out there is more to life than Myspace and that having a brother you can count on is a true gift.

Andy's relationship with Laura is sweet and hopeful. The author does a great job of showing a person with a disability can be as successful as anyone else who chooses a goal and works hard to achieve it! A lesson that a lot of teens learn the hard way...

A simple, well written story that I definitely recommend!

Andy and Brad talk like a lot of teen boys, swear words and all so I think this book is best suited for 8th grade and up!