I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.A Season for Fireflies by Rebecca Maizel
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Harper Collins on June 28th 2016
Format: ARC (336 pages) • Source: Around the World ARC Tours
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A story of second chances from the author of Between Us and the Moon, which Kirkus Reviews called “what first love is meant to be.”
A year ago, Penny Berne was the star of her high school’s theater department, surrounded by a group of misfit friends and falling in love for the first time. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, her new best friend is the most popular girl in school, and her first love, Wes, ignores her. Penny is revered and hated. Then, in a flash, a near-fatal lightning strike leaves Penny with no memory of the past year—or how she went from drama nerd to queen bee.
As a record number of fireflies light up her town and her life, Penny realizes she may be able to make things right again—and that even if she can’t change the past, she can learn to see the magic where she never could before.
This captivating new novel about first love, second chances, and the power of memory is perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and Katie Cotugno’s How to Love.
I tore through this book pretty quickly – it was a really easy read for me and frankly just what I needed at the time. I have some issues with it overall and really think the book could have benefitted from 50-100 more pages.
We don’t get enough information about her life before the accident to FEEL anything. There’s one small section of the book where we see her quit drama club, ignore her friends, and keep secrets (her mom’s drinking) from everyone. All of this basically happens in one afternoon. In that same day, she meets the popular girl, Kylie, and they kind of hit it off right away. The book jumps ahead to a year later, where her and Kylie have been best-friend-ing it up. She’s ignored her other friends and moved on from them for what feels like no reason at all. Kylie is apparently vague about her life and Penny enjoys being able to ~hide things~ from her without feeling guilty. THIS is why she completely reinvents her life? I just didn’t buy it.
The romance was super meh as a result of everything above. Before she abandons her friends, she has a budding romance with one of her friends, Wes. Something is about to happen between them when she says BYE EVERYONE and moves on to bigger and more popular things. Why!? I literally don’t get it. Because she didn’t want them to know about her mom’s drinking? It just seems kind of stupid to me. I’ve never dealt with a problem like that, so I don’t really know how I would react… but abandoning my favorite hobby and potential career, my almost-boyfriend, and my best friends? I don’t think it would happen that way. The resolution of everything was cute and I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t able to ship anything too much because I just didn’t see the chemistry beforehand as much as I would have liked.
It was a super fast read but could have benefitted from more pages. The ARC is short – only 250 pages or so. The book could have really benefitted from more information before the accident. I would have liked to FEEL the chemistry and friendship before she abandoned them, as well as seen her friendship with Kylie a little more. The book could have been fantastic if there was just MORE. I loved being able to read it so quickly and I was generally pretty invested in the story from the very beginning.
I didn’t understand a lot of her motivations. As I said, I didn’t fully understand how she was able to make the choices she did. I know that her mom had a drinking problem and she was trying to hide it from her friends. Not much of a spoiler but I’ll be overly cautious – View Spoiler »Her mom blames her drinking problem on Penny. Because she’s too dramatic? And everything is about her? « Hide Spoiler I just don’t understand. I didn’t get how that was even the case because Penny’s character wasn’t fleshed out enough for it. I wanted more closure about some things too.
I love the memory loss concept! I’ve been interested in this topic in books a lot lately and was happy to see it included here. It’s always interesting to see the main character start putting their life back together and trying to see how they’ve become the person they are now. I explored this a bit in my review of What Alice Forgot with Cristina. I couldn’t imagine waking up and not remembering the past year. My life truthfully hasn’t changed AS much since then, but five years ago I would be BAFFLED by how my life is like this!
Overall, I would cautiously recommend this book to people looking for a fairly unique contemp. It wasn’t a home run for me by any means, but I’m generally glad I read it. The author will remain on my “of interest” list I think. I knew a lot of my rating would be impacted by the ending of the book and the closure it provided about her family issues.
(Also, side note – I didn’t understand the point of the firefly thing! I don’t know if it signified something deeper or anything. It just felt pointless even though it was generally kind of an interesting aspect? Idk.)
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