Cherry Red Summer, Carina Bartsch
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I’d seen some mixed reviews so wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this book, but the description sounded interesting and I decided to give it a chance. I’m so glad I did, it’s a great read. A very different sort of romance to what I’ve found lately, one focussed on the magic of the journey into a relationship and the emotions and feelings of the characters. There’s no insta-love between Emely and Elyas, rather its the opposite, a reaction from their high school time seven years ago.
Emely – I liked her. I understand her in so many ways, she’s a lot like I was at that age, socially awkward, incredibly self conscious and mentally inept, taking apart conversations for a long time after trying to see where she could have done better, or what exactly someone meant. Add in the Klutziness ( I still have that!) and I could see just why her high school years where she had an unrequited love for Elyas, which he abused, were such a torment. Sometimes though in the current time she’s a bit OTT, almost offensive in the way she reacts, although I can see its her method of self protection. It’s a brittle shell of protection, she doesn’t want to go through that heartbreak a second time – she won’t recover. What I was desperate to know though is what did happen between her and Elyas? It clearly had a very long effect on her if she still can’t be OK with him, even though they were close in childhood and his sister remains her best friend.
Then there’s Elyas – what we see of him he’s a nice guy, he’s a hunk, and a charmer but then at his age most guys would take advantage of having an attraction for women. He’s got that same pull to Emely as before, and she’s finding it hard to keep that attraction at bay, even though she thinks he’s a jerk, cruel, broke her heart, and thinks he’s always trying to catch her out. When he compliments her she’s thinks it’s sarcasm. It may be – but then again he may genuinely mean it, and just her lack of confidence that makes her read it as sarcasm…certainly he’s pleasant and helpful to her…He looks a jerk when things are seen through Emely’s eyes but then when we see it from his view things are completely different.
Of course we can’t forget Luca, he seems the dream man, although she’s only met him online….that doesn’t stop her hoping though, and why can’t she focus on him and let her attraction to Elyas wane?
Well, I loved this book, its full of so much drama, not on the seat, heart in throat kind, but the more subtle type that comes from misunderstandings. Of course we can see things from both sides and I was thinking “ no, no, no…” much of the while when they both misunderstood each other “ arghhhh – just Talk to each other. Ask him/ her what that meant…” but then there’d be no story Smile but its the kind of read for me that made me feel there with them, upset with them, happy when it looked like things were looking up. There’s a big part of which I’d guessed but that didn’t stop me enjoying this book, and breaking my rule of reviewing before reading the sequel…I just HAD to know where things went next, and the book was on my kindle so…
It doesn’t have hot, steamy sex, but even the almost innocent, on the cheek kisses take on a sensual feel the way they are part of the story. I enjoyed that, where we got such an insight into the characters thoughts and emotions, where we learned just how misunderstandings can have such a huge effect in out lives.
Stars: Five, a great read for me, very unusual but if you love emotion in a story then you’ll love this.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers.