ARC Review — Cruel Summer

  • Title: Cruel Summer
  • Author: Bernard Jan
  • Genre: Science fiction
  • Pages: 513 pages
  • Publication date: February 28, 2021

Thank you, Bernard Jan, for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for a fair review!

Cruel Summer follows Michael, Alien, Rebecca, and many more. (You might remember Michael from my Postcards from Beyond review.) The story begins not long after Michael’s mother dies. His sister is staying with their grandparents, while he is stuck with his abuser who is also his stepfather.

Not to mention the secret laboratories hiding in New York don’t help either. All Michael wants to do is become a professional skateboarder, but his world tumbles, and he doesn’t quite know his next move.

The plot for this book curves in and out, taking the readers down an unpredictable path. The ending especially was not one I could see coming. I did enjoy the friendships throughout, and Michael’s heartache was well-written.

What falls flat for me might be a me thing. The POV doesn’t stay consistent throughout. For example, in Rachel’s POV, I didn’t even realize she was so young until she mentioned her age a lot later in the book. Her POV seemed more like an eighteen-year-old. It would switch between that and an older adult’s voice, especially with some of the choices she made.

The thoughts got hard to follow too, not knowing who’s thinking what. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even know whose POV I was in until about a page in.

I do want to give a quick content warning for physical abuse, mentions of sexual abuse, and debatable mentions of incest.

Overall, I don’t think this was the book for me, but it has been well reviewed by many others, so it could be a book for you.

Score: 5.2/10
Average rating on Goodreads: 4.58/5

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