Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
…It wasn’t puppy love, or infatuation, or love at first sight, or anything that people always talk about and laugh… People can’t tell you about things like that, you have to find them out for yourself.
I happened upon Seventeenth Summer while perusing the bookshelf in my seventh grade English class, back in middle school. Read and loved the book but, naturally, had to return it to the classroom shelf when I was through, so I procured a used copy for myself in my twenties and reread it. Still loved it.
Angie doesn’t relate a loud, racy, speedy, or sappy account about herself and Jack. The story’s (to steal a word from a quote I’m about to use because it’s in my head now and it fits) mellow essence and beautiful descriptions take you right into the warmth and leisure of a summer that is soon saturated with emotion, experience, and reflection without disturbing the ease of it all. Angie’s particular reflection about a wonderful oddity at the end of June is what most made me remember the book from my adolescence to my adulthood.
And the thought in my mind was as warm and mellow as the sunlight. How odd, I thought. How wonderfully, wonderfully odd to be kissed in the middle of the afternoon.
It’s not a late 20th or early 21st Century romance and isn’t meant to be read like one. Even as a preteen, I relished the idea of a time and place where an afternoon kiss, even in the midst of a summer romance, would have been odd. Of course, being an 80s baby, I wouldn’t be able to testify about what young love was really like back in 1942, when the book was first published, and as another of course, this is only one story. One lone, fictional story. But the imagery is pleasing and unforgettable, the kind that makes a girl hope and dream—occupations in harmony with a summer of any number, one’s seventeenth or otherwise.
A lovely book, easily added to my all-time favorites.
I had a hard time finding an image I could use of the cover of the Scholastic Inc. edition of Seventeenth Summer I first read and later bought for myself, so I finally scanned my own copy, pictured above, and also added it to Goodreads. I know, so much face and eyelash might be “a lot” at first glance, but the photo (I believe it was taken in the 60s) matched the tone of the book to me. I could picture Angie like that, and I’m not an advocate of plastering on book covers that don’t match either the tone or time period of the story. Even when book covers are updated, they should still give the reader the right kind of expectation about the actual story, and I believe the cover of my copy does this. To take a look at some of the other covers:
The first cover I came across in my search, and a good rendition, in my opinion, though the nostalgia in me was partial to the cover of the copy I found on that classroom bookshelf in middle school.
Mellow and lovely audiobook cover, designed in the 2000s. Nice, though I miss seeing Angie on it.
Not a fan of the splashy cover (from the 80s?) at all. Would be great for a fun-‘n-bubbly fling of a tale, which Seventeenth Summer is not.