Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 4.5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

 

About the Book:

An unforgettable novel about friendship and forgiveness set during a disastrous wedding on picturesque Cape Cod.

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.

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.

Bookbub | Goodreads

 

My Thoughts:

At first, Big Summer feels like a women’s literature. Within the quintessential beach read set in Cape Cod, author Jennifer Weiner adds some social messages. However, a shocking twist in the middle of the book takes the story in a much different direction.

I loved the characters. Daphne, the plus-sized heroine, who has struggled with self-esteem issues her entire life, is absolutely engaging. Her parents are a bit quirky, but loving, kind, and supportive. It takes most of the book for Daphne to realize that they are a treasure that many of her acquaintances envy. Darshi, the roommate and best friend, is my kind of people. She holds no punches, and she is a fiercely loyal friend. Drue, the seemingly confident, wealthy, queen bee presents a persona that everyone envies but few like.

The beginning of the book takes readers through Daphne’s journey toward acceptance and actualization. While her social media posts make her look like she is confident and brave, she continues to have the same doubts of self-worth that she has always had. Evidence of this comes in Daphne’s inability to address a blog question from a teenage girl about being brave. Body shaming, self-image, and the falsity of social media posts weigh heavy in Big Summer. Ms. Weiner warns, as many authors have lately, that all that glitters is not gold on Instagram. Beware of the Trojan horse that is a social media influencer!

I enjoyed the character set up in the first half of the book, but it is in the second half of the book that the action really starts. I don’t want to give away the big twist, but all that set up provides juicy detail to unravel in the latter half of the story. In addition to a fun read, the big takeaways of Big Summer are regarding friendship and envy. I finished the book feeling happy for Daphne’s discovery of just how envious she is and feeling grateful for all that I have in my own life.

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