The Fourth Summer by Kathleen Gilles Seidel Release Date: July 24, 2018 Publisher: Lyrical Shine Book #1 in the Stand Tall series Number of Pages: 250 Kindle Edition Source: ARC from Net Galley Contemporary Romance/New Adult M/F Rating: R Read 7/2/18 to 7/3/18
The cover of this book doesn’t go with this story at all. Not that there’s anything wrong with the cover, but it’s just the wrong cover for this story in my mind. This story has way more to do with interpersonal relationships between all ages and backgrounds than a sexy guy laying on a bed.
The flashback to the relationship that Caitlyn and Seth had as young teens is amazingly sweet. The innocent friendship that is their first summer had a wonderful nostalgia for me. Especially when I learned the reason Caitlyn was initially sent to her grandmother’s that summer. Not that I could relate with exactly what she was going through, but haven’t we all had that feeling of being pushed aside for other family members at that age?
From the way this one began I thought it may end up being a coming of age story. Although there are some elements of that here and there, that’s not what this book is at its core. Seth and Caitlyn are selected for a jury for a high-profile case that goes awry. Don’t worry though, it’s also not a courtroom drama. The author does a great job of giving us enough information so the reader understands how confusing the trial is for the jurors without going so deep it takes away from the story. Because again, this is not a courtroom drama.
This is a story about human interaction. The way we are perceived by others and the way we think we are coming across. It’s about how we want to be viewed as opposed to how we are viewed. I was impressed by the cast of characters that made up the jury. When you have such a large cast of non-main characters it can sometimes be hard to remember who’s who. These jurors all had distinct enough characters that I was never confused as to who the author was referencing in any scene. From the shy and meek young lady to the brass and egotistical middle-aged jerk, I got them all down pretty quickly.
Ultimately, this is a love story between Caitlyn and Seth. I liked their connection and connected with Caitlyn, but never truly understood Seth’s motivations for the way things played out in their third summer. Was he just immature or was he as selfish as he seemed? The author never really makes that clear, and maybe that’s by design. Now, I don’t agree with Caitlyn on holding Seth’s decision against him. It was actually selfish of her to think that he should have made a different choice. But the way things played out from there was all on Seth.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’m a bit on the fence. While I enjoyed the story and was impressed with how well she developed even her side characters, her writing is a bit stilted for me. This could just be my own preference, but it just seemed the style was more middle-grade while the content definitely wasn’t. I’m sure I’ll pick something up by her again if I get the chance since the story did engage me quite a bit. And since this is the first in the series I am interested enough in Seth’s buddies that I’d pick up another of this series if they’re about them.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**