Berkley | 16 May 2023 | 480 pgs
Samantha Gale travels back to her hometown in Martha's Vineyard to chaperon her 14-year-old half-brother, Tyler, while their parents go on a vacation. Samantha has nothing to lose considering she left her job as a chef over a promotion pass and she thinks this temporary break might help her resurrect her career. On the ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard, Sam accidentally knocks a good-looking stranger's book into the ocean. Sam is mortified but what're the chances that they might meet again?
Turns out that Sam does meet that good-looking stranger against all odds, when she's bringing Tyler to the local library for the robotics competition. After learning that the hot-reader stranger is called Bennett Reynolds and that he's the library's interim director, Sam knows that she couldn't tell him that she has dyslexia, for she feels that people are judging her because of it (she lost her promotion due to this, which I find it ridiculous and unreasonable).
But Ben is unlike other people, he doesn't judge or feel sorry for Sam after learning that she has dyslexia over an incident, on the contrary he encourages Sam and makes an effort to read stories to her. Although Ben tells himself he isn't interested in a relationship right now with his quest on finding his father (whose identity he's never known), yet he can't stop thinking about Sam the more they spend time together.
Summer Reading has all the tropes that I love - friends or enemies-to-lovers, bookish theme, family bonding moments and most of all, the representation of dyslexia and/or neurodivergence which I rarely come across in fiction. I loved it that the author has chosen a font that is reading-friendly to the readers who have dyslexia, and to bold the words that's meant for italics. However, I didn't like it that Sam seemed to belittle herself for having dyslexia; using this as a reason for thinking her faults and not doing much to improve herself. This thing aside, I did enjoy her banter and her bonding with Tyler, as well as her blossoming relationship with Ben. Overall it was a heartwarming story which I think is perfect for Summer Reading.
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