Author: Lexa Hillyer
Synopsis: Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.
After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.
Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.
Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.
Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.
Huge thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this book!
This is another book that wasn’t really on my radar. But a lot of my BEA friends were talking about it so I decided to pick it up and I’m so glad that I didn’t wait! This book is a perfect summer read and made me SOOOO nostalgic for all of the summer camps that I went to when I was a kid. I remember the cabins, the way everything was always damp from the rain or the lake, the way you’d make these AMAZING friendships (only mine never lasted because I always went to camp across the state) and then how it all seemed like a dream when it was over.
This book starts out with the four girls (age 17) meeting up at their old summer camp (which seems pretty local, unlike the ones I went to) for the annual reunion. The girls haven’t been to camp in two years (they age out at 15), and in those past two years they’ve grown apart. Joy, the girl who seem to have been the glue holding them together, moved away and then cut them off, and then the other girls slowly went their separate ways. Tali “grew up” and became popular. Zoe “got stuck” in her nerdy ways and hangs out with mainly boys. And Luce is our overachiever who’s life is mapped out and she just follows it along. The girls drift apart, but there’s always that question: why did Joy cut them all off?
When Joy calls the girls to come meet her at the camp reunion none of them can say no. They don’t know why. Tali does have another reason for going (to seduce the boy she wasn’t able to in her 15th summer) and Luce kinda has to go (since her mom runs the camp) but Joy ultimately draws them all there.
And when the girls start to reminisce about the old days they decide to go to the photo booth (after trying to break into their old hideout and finding that it’s now alarmed) and when they step in… it transports them back to the last week of their last summer at camp.
Now I really don’t do time travel stories, but this didn’t really seem like your typical time travel. And I liked that. While they tried to not change anything they actually ended up changing a lot of things and while it doesn’t end up affecting the future it does affect them. And they learn a lot about themselves in the past. Tali learns how self absorbed she can be. Luce learns that she needs to let loose and live a bit. Joy learns that she doesn’t want to go back to the future because she doesn’t want to face what she knows is coming and that she has a chance to really LIVE life again. And Zoe find out a few key things about her sexual self.
I liked the little things the girls discovered about themselves, their friends, and even their families. Some of the truths hurt, some are hard to swallow, and others make them into better people. And over the next five days they focus on getting the elements they need to reconstruct the photos they took that night in hopes that it will transport them back to their present day.
This book is another one that I blew through in less than 24 hours and I’m glad I read it in the summer. It really took me back, and I really enjoyed going on this trip with these four friends. I hope that others (especially those who got a copy at BEA) will hurry up and read it before summer is over!