The Summer of Lost Letters

by Hanna Reynolds
First sentence: “I am going to try to explain.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There is some teenage drinking and a few swear words including a couple of f-bombs. It’s in the Teen section (grades 9+) of the bookstore.

Abby Shoenberg isn’t really looking forward to the summer — her best friends will be gone away to camps and she doesn’t want to bump into her now ex-boyfriend around their small Massachusetts town. Then a package of her recently passed grandmother’s letters arrives, and they’re juicy: a series of love letters from an Edward on Nantucket island. The thing is: her grandmother — who came to the US by herself in 1934 before the War, and whose parents didn’t survive the Holocaust — never mentioned this Edward, or that she had ever spent any time on Nantucket. And suddenly, Abby has a plan for the summer: find a job and go live on Nantucket, and do some digging. Maybe she could find not only this Edward but her grandmother’s family: with the war and being so young, she had completely lost track of everyone, especially after finding out her parents were killed.

The thing is: Edward is the head of a very rich business family, with a huge estate on Nantucket, and Abby finds herself reluctantly getting the assistance o his grandson, Nick. And the more they find out, the more time they spend together, the closer they become.

Oh this was just the smart, sweet, interesting teen romance I needed. I liked that while it dovetailed into World War II, it wasn’t set there, and while the war had an impact on the story, I’ m not sure it was the most important impact. I liked that the characters were Jewish, comfortable in their faith, but also honest about antisemitism. I liked the romance; Reynolds has a way with writing chemistry and tension, and I liked the push and pull between Nick and Abby. It felt real. I also liked Abby’s obsession with learning her history; she is right that our ancestors stories mean something, even if they are not always the best or most honorable.

It was an excellent YA romance, fluffy and fun but with depth as well. I loved it.

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