Paperback: 340 Pages (I listened on audiobook)
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical (It was first published in 1942!)
My Rating: 3.75 (I know that’s not a real rating but it’s better than a 3.5 and not quite an “I love it” 4.0)
Romance Heat Rating: Sweet (Click here for the rating levels)
Check out my Teaser’s for this book here.
Synopsis: Until the summer before college, Angie Morrow didn’t really date. Her mother didn’t like her to go out much. But no one — not even Angie’s mother — can resist the charm of strikingly handsome Jack Duluth. His good looks grab Angies’s attention from the moment in June when Jack throws Angie a smile at McKnight’s drugstore. And on their first date sailing under the stars — when Jack leans in and whispers to Angie, You look nice with the wind in your hair, the strange new feeling s begin. Tingles, prickles, warmth: the tell-tale signs of romance. It’s the beginning of an unforgettable summer for Angie, full of wonder, warmth, tears, challenge, and love.Maureen Daly had created a love story so honest that it has withstood the test of time, winning new fans for more than six decades. Today, this classic is enjoyed by many who think of it as the quintessential love story, and as a glimpse of love in the 1940’s; a refreshing alternative to modern love stories, reflecting the beauty and innocence of new love. (goodreads)
“Growing up is like taking down the sides of your house and letting strangers walk in.” This sentence was so beautiful to me. It encompassed the theme of the book so well. As you grow up, things change, life changes, and you feel vulnerable.
First: I’m fairly certain that this was one of my first “romance” books I ever read. I moved away from home the summer I turned 18 and someone recommended a book to me. I have tried and tried to remember the book. I knew it was something titled like this but I couldn’t guarantee which book it was. Since going through this book again, I’m fairly certain it was this Seventeenth Summer, which mean’s I liked it just that much more, because it was slightly nostalgic to me.
What I loved most about this book was the fact that it was written in contemporary form in the 1940’s! I often pick books without reading anything about it because I like to not know what’s going to happen, so I had no idea that this book took place so long ago. But when I started listening, the picture formed in my mind and I fell in love right then. Dirt roads, days on the water, wiener roasts, Letterman’s sweaters, and walking to town for a bottle of coke.
Angie is another “coming of age” protagonist learning her way through a relationship with one of the popular athletes in class. It’s so easy to relate to her unsure questioning about what the guy is thinking, what to do now, how to fit in when everyone has different standards. Jack and his friends smoke cigarettes, drink beer, act a bit more promiscuously than she does, but she finds a way to fit in. I actually appreciated that the author didn’t write the other characters to pressure her into trying everything, just to try it.
I liked that family unit in the book. Angie’s relationship with her mother, her sister kitty, her older sisters Lorraine and Margie are very fun to read about. Reminiscent of family values from decades ago. Almost 100 years ago (oh my gosh, that’s a bit too crazy to think about). We have one sister happily engaged, one sister chasing a guy who doesn’t like her back, and then Angie trying to learn for herself how a relationship works.
Here’s the part I didn’t like. At all. The end. Jack’s family is moving away to Oklahoma. Angie is going off to college in Chicago. Neither want’s to leave the other. And Jack, maybe rashly, proposes to her and says “please don’t go.” She says no, which I totally understand. But then it never gets better. She just leaves. Jack accompanies her family to send her off at the train, she doesn’t every say “I Love You” back, she doesn’t kiss him goodbye, she doesn’t say I promise to come for you (despite the fact that he gave her his school ring), she doesn’t do anything but look at him and think “It’ll all be ok.”
What kind of end is that? I felt like the end was very anti climactic for the way their relationship was built up. It wasn’t quite “happily ever after” enough for me to feel satisfied.
That’s the only thing I would have liked different. I even listed to the end again in the hopes that maybe I missed the Happiness part of it the first time. But nope. It still ended kind of sadly. In my opinion.
So, for those of you that don’t need a Happily Ever After to enjoy a book, this is a great historical book to read. For those of you that love a good HEA, this is still a great book, just be prepared for the end 🙂
Who knows, maybe you’ll think the end is perfect.
Have you read this book? What did you think of the end? Share your comments below.
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