When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington: A Light Summer Romance, Great for Fans of Sarah Dessen

4 stars

It’s bad news after bad news at the start of summer for Olivia: she’s broken up with her best-friend-turned-boyfriend, her dream internship has unexpectedly closed, and her aunt has just informed her that they’re moving to another state at the end.

Aiden, on the other hand, feels free. He quit baseball, despite being the star pitcher, and now gets to spend his summer working at his family’s tourist shop, peacefully isolated from the school gossip for three months.

But when Olivia begins to work at Aiden’s family’s shop as a replacement summer job, sparks fly and they become closer together.

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I wasn’t the biggest fan of Pennington’s Love Songs & Other Lies last year, but I enjoyed her sophomore novel, When Summer Ends so much more!

Even though conceptually it’s a book I’m less attracted to when compared with LS&OL, I actually swooned a lot more during Olivia and Aiden’s story.

It’s a low-stakes, fun & romantic read good for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson—the romantic nature of Dessen’s work and the summer atmosphere of Matson’s.

When Summer Ends has ALL the summer romance swoons!

The atmosphere and summer setting were definitely one of my favorite parts of this.

While I was meh in Love Songs & Other Lies about the setting, I absolutely adored this small, tourist town and summery story! Not only does this open up possibilities for so many fun scenes, like canoeing and interesting outdoors activities (as you can tell, I’m not very outdoorsy), but it also adds to that atmosphere!

Teens can act a lot differently in the summer, and I think the atmosphere really helped Pennington establish this in the story—especially with Olivia’s move looming ahead at the end of summer.

From canoeing to camping out to working in a tourist-y area, I definitely thought the worldbuilding was really top notch for this contemporary, and it made it a sweet and lighthearted read!

It’s a fun sort of read that’s great for relaxing.

I felt so peaceful when reading this book.

It wasn’t just that I knew there would be a happily ever after (because, romance!), but also because the summer mood made it a little less stressful (I am less stressed in the summer) and the romance isn’t super high stakes.

No one’s going to die or anything, and I just really needed this sort of gentle read that was more of a cozy summer read than a high-stakes romance.

So, if you’re in the mood for something with lower stakes and not as much stress, I’d definitely recommend you pick When Summer Ends up!

I wanted a little more angst.

This may sound contradictory, given the fact that I just said that I liked the low stakes, but I guess what I mean by “I want more angst” is that I wanted more of the characters ruminating on these things. Not necessarily that the storyline is changed, but I wanted to get further into Aiden and Olivia’s heads.

I feel like we didn’t really get to know them, and I wanted more from their sort of internal narrative. I wanted more of that relationship/dating induced anxiety, the “will he/won’t he?”, that sort of stuff. And although this definitely happened in places where it needed it, I wanted more from this.

I wanted to hear more from Aiden and Olivia’s heads, and I think this is something I wish could have been expanded more on in When Summer Ends.

Overall, When Summer Ends was a light read, good for romance fans!

In the end, I had a positive reading experience and found When Summer Ends to be a relaxing read, spurring on my senioritis with its tales of summer love.

I’d recommend if you’re looking for something light, fluffy, and with low stakes to let you just sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Thank you so much to Tor Teen & Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

What are some of your favorite summer romances?

4 thoughts on “When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington: A Light Summer Romance, Great for Fans of Sarah Dessen

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