Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton

September 25, 2011
By AnneBeasley BRONZE, North Miami Beach, Florida
AnneBeasley BRONZE, North Miami Beach, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

My Sixteenth Summer Book Review
Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton is the first of two in the Summer Romance series. The cover of the novel looked simple enough, with two people on the beach, that the reader does not know what the book holds. I like the cover because it does not give away all of the book’s contents but still intimates of the main plot: two teenagers falling in love over the summer. Sixteenth Summer seemed like it would be an easy, quick romance novel to read on a plane, I was wrong. The story dragged on because this book is not a ‘page turner’; in fact, I only kept reading hoping that some actual interesting event would occur, needless to say it didn’t.
The protagonist, Anna Patrick, has the perfect parents, friends, grades-- her life could not be better but she wants more, she wants to get away from Dune Island, a small island off the coast of Georgia, and her yearly routine. Anna just found her one-way ticket out of the island--the perfect man, Will Cooper. Will is handsome: “It was like his face I’d always been looking for. It was foreign and familiar, both in the best way” (Dalton 13), romantic, and even though a “shoobee”, he is from New York, a place Anna has always wanted to escape to: “What this future self was doing in New York, and how she would get there was a mystery” (33). The simple fact of living in a big city amazes Anna and redeems him in her eyes from being so naive. Anna, at one point, even refers to Will as superman (66-67). This relationship, like many others, begins purely physical: “Well, Will and I already have something in common” (33). Will and Anna do go on sweet dates together, but they are just that--sweet: “Our weird, awkward, yet somehow amazing, Moment. It hadn’t been destiny, but it had made me excited” (40). In this novel, there is no excitement, hardship, or drama: critical aspects to keep the reader’s attention in any successful book, and definitely necessary in a series. 
Anna, at one point in the novel, begins to realize ‘Mr. Perfect’ is only a summer fling and is soon returning to the Big Apple without a second thought about her. Anna breaks up with him and the readers get to follow her around being miserable for 20 pages: “I kept telling myself that, yes, I felt lonely and awful now. But if I’d let the relationship go on longer-- and get that much more serious-- the ending would only have been worse. I was doing the right thing, I insisted in my head (222).” Then she got back with him: “I’d told myself so many times since that horrible night [. . .] I’d been doing the smart thing, pushing Will away before he could leave me. That I was taking care of myself. But if that was true, why was I so broken? So pathetic?” (236). This book is quite ironic how all Anna wants to do is get out of her hometown, Dune Island, because she claims it is boring and does not entertain her. The book itself is boring and not entertaining.
I do feel happy that Anna got the opportunity to find her soul mate because she had been the third-wheel to her two best friends that got together (3-4). I do not understand how a smart girl like Anna could know Will less than two months before she confessed her love to him. Anna does seem like she genuinely likes Will. To me, it does not make sense to fall for a guy that you might never see again but Anna came to the conclusion she would never forget “What it had felt like to be sixteen and in love for the first time. I wouldn’t forget that-- not ever” (283).
Every single one of the 283 pages of this book are useless! The plot could have been better if Anna’s best friend, Caroline, had one chapter to add a little action. In every work of literature, there needs to be a character that the readers dislike, but is essential to the story, to make it a story. Caroline would have been the perfect character to start drama. She could have said that she kissed Will, it would ruin Anna’s friendship with her, and the relationship between Will and Anna would be fractured momentarily, but ultimately, the love between the two would have stayed strong. You’re welcome for your next story plot, Michelle Dalton. Maybe this one will actually get a fan base. I love to read and recommend books, but I wouldn’t wish this book on my worst enemy. Before they go out of stock, be sure to run to the store and purchase your copy of Sixteenth Summer today!

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