Jan 27, 2011

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Life can be lived a thousand different ways over the course of a summer. No one knows the truth of that more than Chase McGill. His family has spent every summer of his childhood at their beach house. We meet the family during Chase’s 14th summer and his family is as such: Noah, the eldest son, is constantly on the run from everything he never wants to face. Chase really should have been the eldest son as he takes primary responsibility for the care of the younger siblings. Claudia is a young girl dying to be a grown woman who spends a predominant amount of time signing for Gideon, the rambunctious deaf fourth child. Mom & Dad are constantly bickering, despite the soon arrival of Newbaby.

Over the course of four summers spanning Chase’s 15-18th birthdays, we watch this family change, grow, break apart, reform & interact with their next-door neighbors the Hathaways. The three children in the Hathaway household actually interject depth to this family. Melinda brings Camus, Shannon brings the hope of the future, & Bella is sweet innocence. What becomes of these summers is something unexpected & raw that you must read to believe.

That was one roller coaster ride of a book. I ran the gamut of emotions while reading Invincible Summer. There were so many things going on, especially in regards to relationships, that I am truly amazed that I didn’t need a flow chart to follow it all. This book is very complicated, but in a good way. The actions & events of this book really challenge your perception of time. They allow you to view the progression of relationships (marital, romantic, friendships, etc) as they evolve over time based on the participants’ maturity level & what is going on in their lives.

Chase is the narrator of this story & we see everyone through his eyes. In a way this can cause some bias in how the other characters are viewed because we never really get to hear their side of the story; but at the same time, Chase’s point of view about these characters changes as he discovers more about them over time. I believe that each of the McGill children represents a certain characteristic or pattern of behavior that we all experience at some point in our lives. They embodied those different entities in their entirety.

I must say that this book is not for the faint of heart. There is A LOT of cussing in this book. I was amused when I realized how annoying a habit it is to use a curse word every other sentence in real life. Also, while not usually a fan of books with a strong literary basis (meaning the heavy use of a piece of literature inside the novel itself) I really enjoyed the Camus quotes throughout the book. There was a quote for most difficult situations & even for some of the lighter ones & I found that to be really refreshing. I strongly recommend this for those who enjoy time-centric books & a plethora of intense, but gratifying interactions.

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