One Perfect Summer – Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 10th May 2012
Edition: UK paperback, purchased copy
Other Titles by this Author: Lucy in the Sky, Johnny Be Good, Chasing Daisy, Pictures of Lily, Baby Be Mine
Ever wondered what happened to your first love?
Alice is 18 and about to start university while Joe’s life is going nowhere. A Dorset summer, a chance meeting, and the two of them fall in step as if they have known each other forever.
But their idyll is shattered unexpectedly, Alice heads off to Cambridge and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart. When she catches the attention of Lukas – gorgeous, gifted, rich boy Lukas – she is carried along by his charm, swept up by his ambitious plans for a future together.
Years later, at just the wrong time, Joe is back, but out of reach in a way that Alice could never have imagined. Life has moved on, the divide between them is now so great.
Surely it is far too late to recapture that perfect summer of long ago?
I’ve been a steadfast fan of Paige Toon’s since I picked up a copy of Lucy in the Sky on a whim to keep read on my flight to Toronto years and years ago and so far, One Perfect Summer is the only one which hasn’t had me screaming from the rooftops about its awesomeness.
I think that my main problem with One Perfect Summer was that it took me a strangely long time to connect with the characters and come to care about them for several reasons: Joe and Alice’s relationship was so intense, so full-on that it lost me a little bit; I didn’t fall in love with either Joe (until later on) or Lukas (at all) which is very strange as Paige Toon’s heroes are usually delicious and there was just a spark missing until the final hundred pages or so.
Alice was an interesting character. When we meet her she’s eighteen, naive and ready to fall head over heels in love and we just didn’t click. Her relationship with Joe didn't feel completely authentic to me and I didn’t really like her until we were well into her relationship with Lukas. When they were together, I found myself constantly shouting at her (not always in my head, I have to admit...) for succumbing to Lukas’s demands, whims and manipulations. I thought she needed to stand up for herself a lot more.
Even though I had some issues with One Perfect Summer, I still ended up really enjoying it. There was the punting which I’d never heard of and no desperately want to try, the setting of beautiful Cambridge, awesome supporting characters and a reference to Johnny and Meg from Johnny Be Good and Baby Be Mine getting married which made me grin like an idiot. Although it took about two thirds of the novel for me to settle into it, I came to love Alice and be horrified on her behalf at certain points and I was cheering her on in her search for Joe.
After the cruel ending of One Perfect Summer I’m hoping for a sequel, but if not, just another novel by Paige Toon in my hand tomorrow would be lovely, thank you.