Review: The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me by Suzanne Kingsbury

The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me by Suzanne Kingsbury
Published: March 19, 2002
Publisher: Scribner
Format: Purchased copy
Rating: 4/5

Set in Houser Banks, Mississippi, a fictional town frozen in time, Suzanne Kingsbury's debut is an intense and evocative tale of young people coming to terms with the legacy of racism over the course of a sultry Southern summer. Deserted by her mother and raised by her whiskey-drinking, gun-shooting father, beautiful Haley has broken the heart of every boy in town. Yet she hides two intimate and explosive secrets that empower her just as they threaten to undermine everything she holds dear. Haley is engaged in a dangerous flirtation with one of her father's friends when Fletcher Greel, the Judge's son, comes home for the summer, having just graduated from a New England prep school. Fletcher's friend Riley is in love with a blues-singing black girl named Crystal, and Fletcher falls instantly for Haley. These four soon become inseparable, intoxicated by love, desire, and the new-found freedoms of late adolescence.

But Houser Banks is a small town where attitudes hearken back to a time of racism and hatred. As the summer wanes, disapproval of Riley and Crystal's romance takes increasingly violent turns, and Haley's secrets surface to devastating results.

My Thoughts
This is one of my favorite books ever. I actually found this gem at BN in the bargain bin years ago and was instantly taken by the synopsis that I had to have it. I loved this story of Haley and her summer with Fletcher Greel. Fletcher is everything that Haley isn’t and she finds that intimating at first but then she can’t help but fall for him. Haley is from the south where people are stuck in their ways and are stubborn to change. While Fletcher is a guy whose smart and has everything easy in his life. He thinks everyone has his way of thinking. I’m a sucker for the whole opposites attract thing so I enjoyed the romance between these two. However Haley’s has secrets that could change everything she holds dare. Their summer of love is not only fun and adventurous but also has a dark underside.

This is a true coming of age story that will have you glued to its pages. Between the hot summer south and the budding love you can’t help but fall in love and feel for all the characters. It’s equal parts love story, suspense and adventure. Suzanne Kingsbury writing is simply breathe taking and beautiful. She writes of the south with both beauty and darkness with both equally represented in the read. It will make you remember your first love and also make you think. It makes you realize that sometimes love isn’t just enough that sometimes the world isn’t so nice and can be downright cruel at times. I recommend this read to everyone! Afterwards you will feel like you learned and were part of something. It touches all points in what a great read should have. This is the ultimate summer book to read on one of these hot summer days.

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