The Summer It Came for Us by Dan Rix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The night after the horrible car crash, Remi wakes up at home with no recollection of how she got there. All her other friends are a little scratched up but okay - except for Vincent. Vincent is gone. Even worse, he seems to have been wiped off the memories of everyone else in town. Besides having to find Vincent, they also have to contend with the fact that there’s a strange nine-foot tall shadow after them. And really weird stuff happening where they crashed, near the Shasta-Trinity Supercollider complex, involving even the Defense Department.
The Summer It Came for Us starts off with a little leftover paranormal/horror vibe I got from Translucent, but quickly slips into something more in the vein of Timeloopers and God’s Loophole. Meaning, it's more science than spirits, though there's a little bit of overlap. They can both be pretty freaky when unexplained. Hint (which I hope is not spoilery): (view spoiler)[We're talking about parallel worlds here! (hide spoiler)] It’s fast-paced and suddenly much shorter (at 2 hours) than the 5 - 10-hour tomes I’ve been reading lately. And also pretty much engrossing, so you don't quite realise that you've spent a bunch of time reading. Which is fine by me.
It's been a while since I've read Rix, so it was a nice look back into all the wonderful stories that he has entertained me with! I see that Rix is still playing with the good girl/bad boy trope; fine, Remi isn't exactly a 100% innocent, and Malcom's badness is more aggressive, military edge (Americans and their guns, sheesh) than anything dangerous, but it still gives off a bit of that vibe. There's a little less absentee parenting here compared to his previous books, with more (even active) involvement from most of their parents except for Malcolm's (who are described as abusive/neglectful).
Themes touched on include acceptance, bullying, and teen suicide - very pertinent issues amongst the YA crowd - as well as some discussion on when/whether something should be taken to the relevant authority figures. Most current YA books make it seem like the protagonists live in a bubble and no one older or vaguely wiser can help them - or worse, makes all authority figures unreliable/antagonistic, but Rix creates a situation where they at least debate about looking for help. Whilst there is at least one unreliable authority figure, there are others who are sympathetic AND able to offer help/advice.
All in all, I enjoyed the book very much!
*Note: I received a free ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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The Summer It Came for Us releases on Feb 1, 2017! Grab a sneak peek here!