Book review | Night Owls and Summer Skies by Rebecca Sullivan
Author: Rebecca Sullivan
No. of pages: 288
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ rep
Published by: Wattpad Books
Published on: 30th June 2020
My rating: ★★★★☆
Emma Lane’s forced to face her fears when her mother unceremoniously dumps her on the doorstep of Camp Mapplewood, abandoning her for the summer while she heads off on a cruise with her latest husband. It’s the last place Emma wants to be with no shortage of creepy creatures, keen campers, and mandatory activities that she fears will hinder managing her anxiety and depression. When Emma breaks into the tool shed on her first day there, the fall out from her escapades leads her right into the path of her counsellor Vivian Black, and nothing is ever the same.
Reading Night Owls and Summer Skies was definitely an enjoyable read for me. With a haters to lovers trope, and a love rival present, it was fun reading this book.
The book starts off with Emma Lane, our 17 year old protagonist, being reluctantly dropped off by her dad, at her mom's place. Even before her parent's divorce, Emma had been a reclusive kid, and after a horrifying experience that caused her PTSD and depression, she has become even more avoidant of her mother. Not to mention, her mother still hasn't come to accept Emma's sexuality and thinks that she'll get over her sexuality once she gets a boyfriend.
After her father drops her off, Emma's mom suddenly announces that they are going on an oversees trip for two weeks and a car comes to take them. Soon Emma realizes that the driver is actually her mom's new husband and they are actually planning to take Emma to Camp Mapplewood for 8 weeks - the place that caused Emma's trauma as a child. Her phone is taken away at the entrance of the camp and unable to even contact her father, she is sent off to the camp by her mom.
Emma's plan is to steal her phone back and deliberately get caught by the camp counselors so that she can be thrown out of this place. Camp Mapplewood is owned by the Blacks and there she comes across Gwen Black, the youngest Black who is attending the camp as well. She takes a liking to Gwen only, but when she sees that her other cabinmates bully Gwen, under the leadership of Lauren, just because of a camp counselor position, Emma takes it upon herself to protect Gwen at all cost. Meanwhile, when Emma goes to steal her phone, she gets caught by Vivian Black, her cabin counselor, and also Gwen's sister. But Vivian is reluctant to kick Emma out of the camp and instead insists that staying in the camp would do her good.
Slowly, Emma comes to accept her life in the camp, but there still exists one problem. Lauren. The root cause of her trauma and Gwen's constant bullying. A number of events lead Emma to discover her feelings and the feelings of her cabinmates and Vivian as well.
I loved the characters. The whole Black family is awesome. I especially loved Gwen and Vivian's brother Walter. That dude is funny and cool. And Emma's character being a full of sarcasm makes her and Walter's interactions extra fun to read. I also loved Gwen's character. She's such a joyful and positive character. Vivian kind of didn't make a good impression on me though. But I loved how both Emma and Vivian helped make significant differences in each other's lives.
While on one hand Emma's mother couldn't accept her daughter's sexuality, Vivian's family have all their support to her. Emma's dad is one character that made my heart really happy. It gave me a sense of pleasure reading about Emma and her dad's interaction.
I won't give out much details, but there's a lot of love rivalry and yearning in this book. So it gets extra points from me.
The author's way of narrating the book from Emma's perspective gives an added advantage to the book because Emma is a sarcastic mess. Reading about her trauma and her views on her life and why she couldn't enjoy her life the way she wanted to - all from her perspective, makes this book a bit personal. I especially love all the dialogue exchange between Emma and the other characters.
I received a copy of the book in exchange of an unbiased and honest review.