Summer finds herself living with her mother in Paris while attempting to finish high school so she will be eligible to inherit her grandfather’s fortune.
It seems unlikely that 19-year-old Summer will finish a four-year college degree by age 22, a stipulation of her grandfather’s will. Her mother bemoans Summer’s lack of academic progress but prioritizes work travel over helping Summer succeed. Lonely, Summer believes a boyfriend could make all the difference and soon finds herself the subject of interest of two boys. Kurt, a handsome but also slightly menacing stranger she first meets on the Métro, encourages Summer to pursue the activities that are most dangerous to her—drinking and indulging in suicidal fantasies. Moony, however, is the picture of stability, encouraging Summer to study and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. It’s possible the two boys are meant to create an engaging love triangle, but Kurt is so obviously a terrible choice (and part of a pretty obvious plot twist) that Moony quickly becomes the only logical outcome—though considering her mistreatment of him, his love for Summer is occasionally puzzling. The novel does capture some of the crushing feelings of inadequacy that contribute to Summer’s growing interest in suicide, but overall, her emotional and addiction struggles wrap up very quickly.
Summer’s real troubles are marred by the inclusion of fantastical Kurt and the predictably pat ending. (Fiction. 14-18)