Title: My Almost Epic Summer
Author: Adele Griffin
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Recommended to: Teens, 12-15
Irene has a dream: when she grows up, she wants to get the heck out of small-town New Jersey and move to LA, where she'll own and operate a chic beauty salon (that she's already named "Heroine Hairstyles", which will be famous for giving its clients styles of famous women in literature). Unfortunately, her future in styling begins looking bleak when she's fired from her mom's salon and is forced to find a new job. That's how Irene finds herself babysitting two kids instead of pursuing her goal of having an epic summer (even if her two BFFs are off having a fabulous time). Then Irene is acquainted with Starla, a beyond-gorgeous drama queen of a lifeguard, and everything changes. Irene instantly becomes obsessed with Starla and her fascinating past of romance, betrayal, and mystery, but when she finds herself falling for Starla's ex-boyfriend, her summer turns very exciting and interesting indeed...
I had very high expectations for My Almost Epic Summer, but unfortunately I was a little bit disappointed. The summary on the back cover of the book advertised excitement, adventure, friendship, and one very exciting summer. However, I found the novel to be the opposite. I honestly didn't see what Irene saw in Starla the diva, who seemed cold, aloof and too mysterious for my taste. On the other hand, I liked Irene's character. I enjoyed how original she was, and appreciated how she was a total bookworm and was determined to pursue her dreams. The only thing that bugged me was that she seemed to act a little too old for her age, and when I figured out that she was just going into high school, I was totally surprised. The narration gave the illusion that Irene was at least a sophomore or junior. The plot lacked any of the adventure and summer fun that I had expected, and it felt flat and a bit dull. Anyway, I was surprisingly not bored, despite the lack of a climax. The story moved quickly and the dialogue was real and refreshing. My favorite part of the book was the ending--it was sweet and well thought-out, and, well, perfect! My Epic Summer wasn't the best book I've read, but it still makes for a pretty pleasurable, easy summer read.