On hot summer evenings in Texas, high schooler Ben likes to take a walk through the park near his north Houston home. It’s not a cool breeze Ben is after, but a glimpse of the boy he has a crush on. Ben doesn’t even know the guy’s name at first, but soon finds out it is Tim. The two go to the same high school, but their paths rarely cross once school starts. As one of the few openly gay students, Ben is something of an outcast, while the handsome Tim seems at home with the jocks. However, Ben’s crush continues almost unabated and he soon clumsily brings himself to Tim’s attention. Love, after a fashion, blooms but life for the two is never easy, especially with Tim reluctant to acknowledge his true feelings. The problems eventually become seemingly insurmountable and the two part ways before their senior year.
Five years later, Ben is in his final year of college and two years into a serious relationship with flight attendant Jace. He’s happy, although he still hasn’t forgotten his first love, Tim. That, of course, is when Tim re-enters Ben’s life, and makes the young man wonder if things were as over as he thought they were. The question for Ben is, should he continue to go forward, or slide back into his past, with all the complications that could bring.
“Something Like Summer” can be a little difficult to categorize, and it may well depend on your point of view. The blurb makes it sound like a young adult (YA) novel, which is the main reason I didn’t rush to read it, but in reality it really doesn’t read like a YA story. “Coming of age story” might be the best short description, although it covers quite a stretch of time, nearly ten years in all.
Of course, such sweeping generalities are only superficially useful. What matters more are the characters, which are very realistically drawn, although perhaps a little overdrawn, as you often find in fiction. Tim is too beautiful, Jace too mellow, and Ben, well, he’s just a little too boy crazy. Such extremes don’t stretch credibility too far, they just make for more drama. Like most of this author’s work, the story is very readable, with characters you can readily identify with. You will probably identify with them enough to find the resolution of the little ménage a little less than satisfactory. There are two sequels which take on roughly the same span of time from the point of view of the other two main characters, Tim and Jace. The books are among the author’s most popular works, and it’s easy to see why.
The book rights have been purchased to be made into a move. It will be interesting to see how the story makes a transition to the big screen, which probably won’t be for another couple of years.