Title: August and Everything After by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
One last summer to escape, to find herself, to figure out what comes next. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han will love this contemporary, coming-of-age romance.
Graduation was supposed to be a relief. Except Quinn can’t avoid the rumors that plagued her throughout high school or the barrage of well-intentioned questions about her college plans. How is she supposed to know what she wants to do for the next four years, let alone the rest of her life? And why does no one understand that it’s hard for her to think about the future—or feel as if she even deserves one—when her best friend is dead?
Spending the summer with her aunt on the Jersey shore may just be the fresh start Quinn so desperately needs. And when she meets Malcolm, a musician with his own haunted past, she starts to believe in second chances. Can Quinn find love while finding herself?
August and Everything After by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski is a charming young adult novel about forgiveness and healing.
Recent high school grad Quinn Gallo’s life forever changed after the death of her best friend Lynn three years ago. Quinn has never forgiven herself for her self-perceived role in Lynn’s death and she has made one bad decision after another in the intervening years. Following her latest mortifying choice that landed her in the local news, her mom lets her spend the rest of the summer with her Aunt Annie on the Jersey Shore. Quinn’s mom wants her to use this time away to come up with a plan for what she wants to do with her life. Will a chance meeting with singer/songwriter Malcolm Trent help her figure out a direction her future?
Although on the surface he appears to have his life together, in many ways Malcolm is a bigger mess than Quinn. He is dealing with his own issues from a tragic accident that left two of his band mates dead. Six months into recovery from an addiction to painkillers, Malcolm is hoping a few original songs will jumpstart his musical career. A relationship is nowhere in his plans but will the time he and Quinn spend together lead to a romance that lasts beyond the summer?
Quinn and Malcolm unexpectedly bond over their respective tragedies since they both struggle with survivors’ guilt and their misplaced belief they are unworthy of happiness. However their friendship is firmly cemented when Quinn and her co-worker Liam become Malcolm’s band mates on his upcoming album. Quinn does not have the best track record in choosing boyfriends so she is content with the slow development of their surprising romance. Their relationship has a shelf life since Quinn may not be staying in town past August and Malcolm is going to embark on a three month tour. He would like nothing better than for her to go on tour with him, but is leaving with Malcolm the right choice for Quinn?
With an appealing cast of characters, a picturesque setting and realistic issues to overcome, August and Everything After is well-written, engaging young adult novel. Although both Malcolm and Quinn grow and change throughout the story, Quinn undergoes the biggest transformation as she makes peace with her past and begins to figure out what she wants for her future. Jennifer Salvato Doktorski brings this redemptive novel to a somewhat surprising conclusion that will definitely take readers off guard. A fantastic read that I absolutely loved and highly recommend to readers of all ages.