I don’t know a lot of books with queer Jewish representation. And when I saw this book available for request, I had to hop on it. This was such a cute read about a girl questioning her sexuality as she’s torn between the guy of her dreams and the girl she can’t forget.
Thank you Wednesday Books for providing me an e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler free, honest review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA Romance
Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.
Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?
Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.
What can I say except ALL THE STARS. THIS BOOK DESERVES ALL THE STARS!
Growing up (I’m 23 by the way), the only Jewish representation I had in books were Night by Elie Wiesel and The Diary of Anne Frank. Now, there are so many more Jewish stories on the market and this is a new one I absolutely LOVED. My initial thoughts when I finished it were quite literally “AHHH THIS BOOK IS SO CUTE AND I LOVED IT SO MUCH OMG!!”
Our main character, Larissa, is starting her senior year off right. She spent the summer away from her friends and has a new look, a newfound confidence, and some new friends. And she’s caught the eye of her long time crush Chase Harding. Except, it’s not its all cracked up to be, because when her summer fling, Jasmine, walks into school, it rocks Lara’s whole world.
Now, I absolutely loved this book. But the one issue I had, and this might have been a formatting issue on the e-ARC, was that it wasn’t clear enough between past and present. We would be in the Now, and then a small “Then” would be in between lines and we would jump to the past. It was so hard to notice it at first, I got a little confused, but once I figured out what was going on, I was set.
Lara is a great main character and I loved watching her journey of self discovery. It’s not easy to question your sexuality and wonder why you’re so hung up on one girl who you had a fling with over the summer, especially when the man of your literal dreams is flirting with you and asks you out. I loved getting glimpses of Lara’s summer and how her relationship with Jasmine came to be, especially in comparison to her present situation.
And while I wasn’t happy with how Jasmine was acting during the present, by the end I completely understood where she was coming from and it made a lot of sense. Chase is a great love interest too. He’s nice, caring, respectful, and ultimately such a sweet guy. I can understand why Lara fell for him so hard and had a crush on him for all that time.
And the Jewish rep was amazing to see! I loved watching Lara at Shabbat dinner with Jasmine’s mother. And describing their traditions and food, which I could honestly taste while reading about it. I’m just so glad I read this on Friday night so I can enjoy Shabbat dinner after reading this. This book made me so hungry!
And Lara’s friends, while a bit shallow, are also great. Kiki is my hero and I’m so glad Lara has her as a friend. Gia and Shannon weren’t great friends in my eyes, but I can see how the group works well together. But on Shannon, I found her a bit toxic. She’s kind of manipulative, which Lara acknowledges, and is so self-centered at times. Even at the end, when everything is thrown out in the open, Shannon continues to make everything about herself. I feel bad for her friends.
All in all, the romance in this book was so good! I read this book in the span of about 3 hours, I physically could not put it down. I didn’t intend to read a book in one sitting, but that’s exactly what I did. This is an instant favorite of mine and I can’t wait for everyone to read it!!
If you’re looking for great YA romances, check out these books I recently reviewed!