Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time.

When I started reading this book, I immediately thought of Sarah Dessen's Keeping the Moon.

The Summer My Life Began is about Em, an overachieving girl who does what her parents expect of her. When she receives an invitation from her aunt, she decides to go for it and have a summer to remember.

There were two words in the blurb that drew me to this book: chef and romance. Ms. Greenland does a good job describing the cuisine and cooking process and it feels like Em really had the makings of a professional chef.

The romance between Cade and Em was predictable but enjoyable nonetheless. I mean, it's a summer book, so of course, it's gonna be a happy ending.

The plot outline is obvious from the start but there were a couple of plot twists that kept this book from being a cliche summer book. I'm not too sure about the ending, though. It seems a little convenient. It's happy, for sure, but it's unlikely to happen in real life.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Publishing for the e-ARC.


  1. It's a fun summer read.
  2. The cooking descriptions are very vivid.
  3. It'll make you long for a nice vacation in a small island.


  1. It's a bit predictable.

I took a nibble of my bland grilled fish. If someone, anyone, in the kitchen would've ground sea salt and malabar pepper, and squuezed some lemon on this fish, it would've been greatly improved. Salt, pepper and lemon. Not too much to ask of folks.

  1. You are looking for a fun summer read.
  2. You like cooking.
  3. You like coming-of-age stories.




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