Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86476-8
Contemporary Romance, 2016
The prologue of Sherelle Green’s Waiting for Summer is almost exquisitely written, but it’s all downhill after that.
Basically, this is Summer Dupree’s story. It’s a good thing that there are only three Dupree sisters, or else, there would be one poor Spring Dupree who would grow up resenting the hell out of her sisters. Anyway, Summer meets her old flame Aiden Chase again and… that’s it. She has issues, he wonders whether he should once again pursue his dreams instead of sticking with Summer, and yes, that’s it. Oh, and the villain shows up at a most convenient time for a “Muah-ha-ha!” moment for the heroine to find closure just in time for the happy ending.
Like the author’s previous efforts, this one doesn’t flow in a manner that feels natural. Things always happen for a reason in fiction, of course, but here, the author plays her hand too obviously. She’s too predictable when it comes to her “twists”, to the point that I can correctly predict how issues and problems will crop up like dominos, only to be conveniently toppled down for the obligatory “I learned important life lessons – I am stronger now!” moments. Waiting for Summer feels very artificial and contrived, in other words, and things happen as if the author plot by running down the items in a list and ticking off the boxes one by one.
Still, that’s not so bad – the author’s prose has improved a lot in time over books, actually – if the author also didn’t make her sequel baiting too obvious. Look, here is the first scene with the heroine, and of course, we also have to hear the life stories of her two BFFs whose roles in the story are basically cheerleaders alternating between “SCREW HIM NOW, GIRLFRIEND, HE”S SO HOT!” and “OOH, MAYBE MY BOOK IS NEXT – WATCH OUT FOR IT!” Same with the first scene of the hero coming into the story – we also have to get to know his BFFs, of course, whose roles in the story are cheerleaders (manly ones, of course) alternating between “I AM HOT AND RICH AND YOU WANT ME – BUY MY BOOK WHEN IT COMES OUT!” and “BOY, MARRY HER SO THAT WE CAN HAVE OUR OWN BOOKS ASAP!”
Okay, so maybe I can overlook the eye-rolling mechanical efforts at sequel baiting, but then I have to confront the fact that there are very few interesting moments in this story. This one could have easily become a shorter story, and a shorter length might have made it a better read too, as the pacing would then be tighter. In its current length, the author fills the pages with meandering scenes of mundane chatter and such, love scenes with unintentionally comical phrases such as how the heroine’s “breasts jiggled with every convulsions”, and flashbacks.
Oh goodness, those flashbacks. Flashbacks should, in my opinion, be used sparingly for best effect, preferably to set up dramatic moments like who murdered a major character or what happened between the heroine and that donkey in the shed back in ’73. Here, however, it’s just teenyboppers Aiden and Summer mostly sighing and gushing at one another. They were kids! Who cares whether they thought they were in love – they were kids. The author could have spent those pages devoted on flashbacks on developing the present day romance, if you ask me, as adults in love are always more believable than silly school kids squealing about their crushes.
Anyway, Waiting for Summer feels a lot like a short story forcefully stretched to its current length using narrative gimmicks that add little to the whole thing. The story by itself is nothing extraordinary, but it would be alright if it hadn’t been obscured by all those fancy and ultimately pointless flashbacks and such.