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Summer of No Regrets

Summer of No Regrets

Kate Mallinder
Firefly Press Ltd
ISBN: 9781910080948

Welcome to the world of Sasha, Hetal, Nell and Cam, four 16-year-old school friends who have pledged to have a summer of no regrets. Their initial plan was to spend the summer together but, one by one, their plans take them in very different directions.

Sasha agrees to spend the holiday with her father in Geneva, having not seen him for six years, but is not expecting his new girlfriend, or the young man in the cafe. Shy Hetal decides to go to science camp, and finds a new competitive spirit. Nell gets a summer job, but after her accident her mother is scared to let her out of the house - so to do what she wants she will have to lie to her parents. Cam goes to look for her birth father, scared of the future when she can no longer stay with her foster family. What will she find? As all these choices become difficult, even dangerous, they will need to turn to each other for the strength to face the future.

This is an absolutely perfect read - four believable and positive role models finding themselves in very real and believable situations. I loved each of the girls in turn and could not put this book down. It bought back so many memories of a time when I too wasn't yet grown up but was beginning to find my feet and flirt with independence.

There is so much to love about this book and also so much for any teenager to empathise with. Relationships with parents and the frustrations that go with that. Knowing that you want to belong and not sure where you fit. The first relationship with a boy and not knowing quite what to do. Not wanting to stand out and draw attention to yourself and yet wanting something so badly that you are torn as to what to do. Wanting to grow up and be an independent adult and yet still needing to surround yourself with friends and family.

The novel is told from the perspective of all of the four characters, each taking their turn. Multiple narratives can often leave you feeling slightly confused and less likely to invest in the story but not this one! It was perfectly and effortlessly written leaving you with no doubt whose voice you were hearing.

Ultimately, in the words of Hetal's Nani, don't put off living; have adventures, do things that scare you. Don't say, I'll do it when I'm older, when I've got a job, when I've got a boyfriend, after I've had kids, when I've retired. Do it now. Spend your time with the people you care about, but don't let them tie you down. You get one chance. Take it. Grab it and don't let go.

This is a beautifully executed, impossible to put down, fun debut novel from Kate Mallinder and I absolutely loved it!

232 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lucy Georgeson, school librarian


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