This is going to be the best summer yet for Elouise “Lou” Parker, who is spending the months before senior year working at a local amusement park.
This is the second summer Lou and her lesbian best friend, Seeley, are working at the park, and to her dismay, it will also be their last—the owner is closing it down for good at the end of the season. When she isn’t in her hot dog costume, Lou spends half her time scheming to save the park and the other half trying to get closer to her crush, Nick. She’s getting flirty vibes from him, but he’s already got a girlfriend, so bisexual Lou’s solution is to convince Seeley to pretend to be her girlfriend so they can go on double dates and she can get closer to him. They’re so close people mistake them for a couple anyhow, so what’s the harm? Dugan’s debut has a clear and confident voice, and her characters are sympathetic in their desire for happiness and fear of change; the supporting cast members have their own fully-developed personalities without overwhelming the main storyline. Lou’s inner narration is funny, clear, and emotional, especially when she is remembering her mother, who abandoned Lou and her father years ago. Set in rural New England, the white main cast has a few secondary characters of color.
A fun romantic comedy that evokes the pleasures of summertime. (Fiction. 14-18)