Saturday, November 3, 2012

Summerland: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand

Read by Erin Bennett

            Summerland is kind of a sad story. It is well written. I liked and cared about the characters, but is does not get big points for entertainment.

            Most of the story takes place on Nantucket Island among the permanent population. On graduation night, four high school juniors are involved in a car accident. The driver, Penny, is killed, her twin brother, Hobby, is left in a coma. Her boyfriend, Jake, and her friend Demeter, walk away from the accident. But the ramifications of the crash are felt among a large portion of the island's population.  

            Demeter has serious self esteem issues and at the time of the crash is learning to drink away her pain. Her parents are oblivious to her blooming alcoholism. While sneaking around trying to find booze, Demeter sees something she shouldn’t have. And, immediately prior to the accident, she shares her knowledge with Penny

            Jake has been in love with Penny for his whole life. While they have only recently become lovers, they have been inseparable since they were small children. He believes they share everything about themselves, but in the aftermath of the crash, he discovers she has been harboring a secret.

            Hobby is the big man on campus, the popular football star and natural athlete. He appears to have the world by the tail, but he has a distressing secret, too.  And the crash leaves him with multiple broken bones, effectively destroying any chance he might have had to become a professional athlete.

            Penny, Hobby’s twin sister, is a sweet popular girl with the voice of an angel. She is driving Jake’s Jeep the night of the crash because she is the only one of the group not drinking. She does not indulge in alcohol because her first priority is caring for her voice. She feels things deeply, her love for Jake, the loss of the father who died before she was born, the weight of responsibility her vocal gift requires. But her sunny appearance belies a dark side to her psyche. It is her reaction to Demeter’s secret that causes the crash that changes everyone’s lives.

                        The story deals somewhat with the kids dealing with the aftermath of the crash, the loss of a sister, a lover, a friend. But largely, the story is about how the adults deal with the crash and their discovering the secrets being held by their children. It's not pretty. It could never be pretty, but the adults also hold secrets that just make the story sad.

            Things do work out in the end. And while I wouldn't go so far as to call it a happy ending, it is satisfying. No loose ends are left hanging out there, and life goes on.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from fellow readers! Please let me know what you thought of this book and my comments on it. Thanks!