Margaret Walsh had a traumatic childhood that she has worked very hard to put behind her, but when her parents move her back to the scene of the crime, she discovers that she might not be as over it as she thought. She is counting the days until she leaves for Paris at the end of the summer, but first, she had to face all the demons waiting for her. Margie is intent on avoiding her past, but Zach refuses to give up, insisting that he isn’t the boy she remembers. Sometimes people change. Sometimes people don’t.
Adorable. That was the first word that came to mind when I read this book. My Bittersweet Summer by Starla Huchton is an adorable ya romance that made me feel giddy on the inside.
Margie might have some bad memories plaguing her, but she has moved hard since leaving the island where she grew up. She was tormented endlessly by a group of bullies before leaving and suffers from PTSD. However, she went through a lot of therapy over the course of six years in order to learn how to live with what happened.
I am the first person to state that I do not know enough about PTSD to determine if this book gives an accurate representation of it, but it seemed to be well thought out and was never forgotten about or used as an easy excuse for a chain of events. It was treated as a fact of her life instead of a sympathy card. I think Huchton did a good job showing the PTSD. without minimizing it.
I am a sucker for the fighters, for the characters who have to overcome more than one human should ever have to. The first thing I look for when I am reading a book is a character I can connect to. While I had nothing in common with Margie or Zach, I was still able to connect to them both on a purely emotional level. I cared for both of them by the end of the novel and hoped and prayed I would get the ending I wanted. I got INVESTED!
Zach made me mad so many times throughout this novel. I wanted him to get his shit together, but he just kept messing up. Every time I thought he had finally figured it out, he went and screwed up again. I was getting a little annoyed but more with Zach than Huchton. The chain of events that occurred seemed realistic enough throughout most of the novel. The ending did seem a tad unrealistic, but honestly, as someone who was invested in the story, I was easily able to overlook that.
My biggest complaint is that the timeline of the story was a little hard to follow. At one point I thought that only like three or four days had passed, but then it said three weeks had and I was jarred by it. However, I think that the three weeks were necessary at that point because I was mad things were moving so fast. (That sounds weird, but I promise it makes sense.) I just think that Huchton could have done a better job at showing the passing of time.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will probably read it again. It was an adorable summer romance that I didn’t mind getting caught up in. I gave this novel 4 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy easy, heartwarming ya stories, then I recommend you pick up My Bittersweet Summer by Starla Huchton!