About Melissa Chambers
Melissa Chambers writes contemporary novels for young, new, and actual adults. A Nashville native, she spends her days working in the music industry and her nights tapping away at her keyboard. While she’s slightly obsessed with alt rock, she leaves the guitar playing to her husband and kid. She never misses a chance to play a tennis match, listen to an audiobook, or eat a bowl of ice cream. (Rocky road, please!) The Summer Before Forever is her debut YA novel.
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Melissa Chambers – The Summer Before Forever
There is something so exciting about the prospect of a bucket list. Depending on what your list looks like, one can almost be an invitation to be the person you aspire to be. I love the idea of getting one started when you’re young, because once you get your bucket list checked off, it only opens up the possibilities of even more challenging tasks…sort of like the sequel in your own series!
In The Summer Before Forever, Chloe has been through something really tough that sends her back into her shell. She wasn’t the most outgoing girl to begin with, but she certainly wasn’t that shy. Her best friend, Jenna, a showy reality television star (“star” may be pushing it) isn’t having it. So Jenna creates a list of confidence building tasks for Chloe to tackle by the end of the summer. Chloe reluctantly takes on the tasks, but what she doesn’t expect is for them to play a role in a summer where Chloe’s life takes a complete 180.
I love to sing. I need to note here that I am a TERRIBLE singer. Like tone deaf, plug your ears awful. But I’ll never forget that first time I got up on the karaoke stage. I am also terror-stricken at the idea of public speaking. I hem and haw, and I’ll be okay for a minute, then I’ll remember I’m in front of a large group of people, which makes me freak out internally and go completely mute for several excruciating seconds.
So karaoke was a huge step for me. My friends were there, cheering me on, which was really encouraging. I powered through the song (“Malibu” by Hole, I believe), and when I sat down, I felt like I had just crossed the finish line of a marathon. Given, it wasn’t quite that impressive, but to me, it was a breakthrough. So, of course, I had to put Chloe on a karaoke stage…bless her heart.
Another item on Chloe’s list is to go up and talk to a boy at a party. I know this sounds simple to so many girls, but for me, this would have been the hardest task on the list. That fear of rejection can be unbearable. Ugh, to think about that moment that you would be looking at him with hopeful eyes, and he would enter conversation with someone else or kindly excuse himself…I couldn’t take it.
Part of that is because I wasn’t born with that flirtatious gene. I gave Jenna a huge dose of that gene because I wanted her to have no fear. And she doesn’t (which gets her into some pretty sticky situations). Only once in my life did I actually gather the nerve to go up and talk to a boy. Well, he was actually scooting past me, so I didn’t really have to move from my spot, but I made the first move, complimenting him on his shirt. Two years and four days later, we said, “I do.”
While stumbling out of your comfort zone can be…well…discomforting, it can also be rewarding in life-changing ways. Do those things that make you squirm. Sure, the risk of failure is scary, but what’s even scarier is a life without risk…because the rewards can be transformative in the most awesome ways!
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Review by Suze
Chloe is glad she can leave her hometown behind for a few months. She's relieved she can stay with her father for the summer. Her best friend Jenna is coming with her. Chloe's father lives in Florida, in a resort near the beach, together with his fiancée and her son. Chloe hasn't met them yet, so she can use her best friend's support. She hopes her future stepbrother will be nice and brotherly. She needs this summer to recharge her batteries and to find herself again after the awful time she's had. Jenna puts a bucket list together for Chloe that contains ten goals she needs to achieve while she's there. She's sure this will give Chloe the confidence she desperately needs. Is it a good plan and will it work out the way it should?
Landon's mother has given him clear instructions, he has to keep his distance from Chloe and Jenna. It's fine if they spend time together, but he's a guy and they are pretty girls, which is usually a dangerous situation. He's a gentleman and he thinks he can do it, but when he sees Chloe he isn't so sure anymore. They both have their secrets and opening up isn't easy. Plus they will be brother and sister in a few weeks. Will Landon be able to obey his mother or is it too difficult for him to follow her orders?
The Summer Before Forever is a beautiful sweet story. Chloe is a kindhearted girl. She's terribly shy, but she doesn't run away from a challenge. She knows what she wants and she's very talented. Landon is smart and he's a real gentleman. He's a guy many girls dream about, but this doesn't make him arrogant. He's insecure rather than cocky and that makes him adorable. I immediately loved Chloe and Landon's connection. They are absolutely wonderful together.
I like that Melissa Chambers mixes humor with serious topics. Jenna is a whirlwind and her actions often made me laugh. She's a handful, but she's also a loyal and loving friend, which is exactly what Chloe needs. Both Chloe and Landon have to deal with difficult issues and I loved how sympathetic Melissa Chambers writes about them. She describes their feelings in a considerate and truthful way. She also shows that people are more than just their limitations, which is a fantastic message. There's quite a bit of depth in this story, while it's also romantic and cute. Melissa Chambers has a vivid writing style with a good flow and everything about this book felt exactly right. I enjoyed reading this fabulous summer story very much and highly recommend it.
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