Lara has been mooning over Chase Harding her whole life, and finally he’s starting to notice her. Not only that, but he’s asking her out, stopping by where she works, waving at her while he plays football, just absolutely everything that Lara has dreamed of. But on the first day of school a new girl shows up and not only is she charming, mysterious, and beautiful, she just so happens to be the same girl that Lara spent her whole summer with, Jasmine. And they were friends… just friends… maybe more than just friends. But Lara is having a hard time adjusting to a life where she has Chase and Jasmine in her world and Jasmine’s presence makes it all the more harder for her to enjoy the attention she’s finally getting from Chase. Lara is fighting her feelings for Jasmine, still unsure how she truly feels about her. Jasmine is making it very clear that she doesn’t want anything to do with Lara, but Lara can’t stop thinking about her, obsessing over everything she is doing, who she’s hanging out with, what she’s thinking, and how she feels about Lara. Because Lara can’t stop thinking about how she feels about Jasmine.
In a heartwarming tale of finding out who you are and who you love and the struggle of being able to know who you are, Cool for the Summer takes on a heavy topic with an airy feel and makes you wish and hope for the best for its characters. Lara is sweet and personable and going through something that many young kids go through, figuring out their sexual identity. Jasmine is hard and soft and like all teenagers who think they know what they want, but aren’t quite sure what it is and how to get it. With a great group a friends, a supportive mother, and a lot of heart, Lara learns to take on her thoughts and feelings.
I really liked this book and everything that Lara is going through. It was such a realistic depiction of uncertainty and desperation. The constant questioning of what everything means and how you feel and if those feelings are reciprocated or not. The idea that the person you thought you were the whole time, ends up being a completely different person. It’s tough! Dahlia Adler does a great job of balancing the really emotional and tense moments with lighthearted fun and inspiring moments. Jasmine and Lara’s relationship in the flashbacks is so amazing and lovely and its journey through the summer was so organic and natural. Lara’s friends were unique and fun and multi-layered, full-dimensional people. They had their own personalities, interests, talents, and feelings. So often friends get pushed to the side in romance novels of any age range, and Adler was able to accomplish all this in less than 300 pages. Incredible. I honestly can’t wait to read her next book especially if it is written anything like this is.
Can I also mention that I’m really loving that more and more books are being published with queer girls and nonbinary characters. It’s so important to me that these identities are represented, especially since that representation has been denied for so long (or if it is there, it’s a traumatic story and not a hopeful one). I recommend this to anyone who wants to read a story about a girl coming to terms with her sexuality with a great supporting cast.