Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner, 3.5 Stars

Welcome to shelter-in-place, day 19, state-mandated day 13. We are doing okay. I was actually just talking about at dinner about how I’m doing amazingly well. Sure, I don’t know what day it is, time has lost all meaning (it took me a good 5 minutes to figure out how long we’ve been at home,) but overall I’m killing it.

Except I’ve had a drink most nights, so maybe I’m not doing as amazingly as I thought? One thing is for sure. Coming out of this, a lot of people will have drinking problems. And a lot of people will be fabulous home chefs. And we are all gaining 20 lbs regardless of which one we are.

But I digress. Big Summer. Which is ironic, because I’m pretty sure that summer 2020 will not be big. It will be tiny. And we will still probably be social distancing. It’s hard. Someday I will see people again.

From the Publisher:

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

On a perfect summer night, as generations of Cavanaughs descend on the family beach in Cape Cod, the cute guy materializes and a family feud erupts. With rumors swirling about everything from a failing business to infidelity, it’s clear why Drue wanted Daphne by her side. When Daphne wakes up the morning of the wedding to find that her crush has vanished and that something terrible has happened to her friend, it’s up to her to dig deep into Drue’s past, to unpeel the layers of illusion, and to find out the complicated truth about perfect Drue Cavanaugh.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

My Review:

Big Summer did not feel like a typical Jennifer Weiner book to me. And I love Jennifer Weiner. It felt slightly like Jennifer Weiner meets Emily Giffin. Except I also love Emily Giffin. And ladies and gents, I’m sorry to say that I did not love Big Summer.

When I started reading Jennifer Weiner, she was a solid chick-lit writer. And in the age of Bridget Jones, that was amazing. And through the years, she’s held onto to that charm, but her work has become deeper. There’s been more to chew on. She’s matured right along with me.

Big Summer kind of put me back at the start, but I didn’t find Daphne as charming as Cannie (Good in Bed). Big Summer definitely follows a more modern story-line as Drue and Daphne are both social influencers. But it felt empty somehow. I didn’t quite believe Drue. She was empty. And maybe that was the point, but I felt like we would reach some epiphany of who Drue was, and that just didn’t happen for me.

Anyhow, I still adore Jennifer Weiner. This one just wasn’t my favorite. And that’s okay. It’s still probably the only Big Summer I’m getting this year.

Special thanks to Netgalley and Atria books for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out May 2, right on the heels of the nationwide shelter in place (maybe). Preorder your copy:


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