Title: The Summer I Wasn’t Me
Author: Jessica Verdi
Synopsis: Lexi has a secret.
She never meant for her mom to find out. And now she’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.
Lexi knows she can fix everything. She can change. She can learn to like boys. New Horizons summer camp has promised to transform her life, and there’s nothing she wants more than to start over.
But sometimes love has its own path…
Rating: 4 stars
Review: Why, why, WHY do I torture myself with angsty LGBT books? Even when they have happy endings…..wait, that’s why I do it.
Lexi voluntarily signs herself up for de-gayifying camp so she doesn’t cause her mum any stress or trouble, but when she gets there, she ends up falling for an absolutely gorgeous girl. Problem? The other girl’s there to rid herself of the ‘gayness’ as well.
“I didn’t want to marry Mr Darcy. I wanted to marry Elizabeth Bennet.”
This book deals with a lot of serious issues – the problems with homosexual therapy camps, religious views on homosexuality, suppressed sexuality, sexual abuse, even family bereavement – and the way that Jessica Verdi deals with them is just perfect. They’re not brushed aside, and they’re not ignored, which is amazing to read, no matter how serious the story is.
The characters were all portrayed great as well – especially Matthew, one of the boys that Lexi befriends at the camp. He’s defiant, and unapologetic, and a damn good friend. He’s not perfect, obviously – he doesn’t know when to shut up sometimes – but that’s what makes him more realistic. I would love to meet a real-life equivalent to Matthew.
Admittedly, the whole cult vibe of the camp, and the behaviour of the head guy Mr Martin made me so angry, but the relationship between Lexi and Carolyn made it all worth it in the end. They bond over ‘The Great Gatsby’, even leaving each other messages in the margins of the novel, and they confide in each other, and eep. It’s just so adorable!
“I guess I belong to the Church of Running. And now the Church of Gatsby.” When I read that last part, an incredible warmth fills me right down to my soul.
I think my favourite part is definitely when Mr Martin tries to convince them that things like Harry Potter are corrupting them, and one of the other boys in the camp retorts with some well-reasoned facts about the actual themes of Harry Potter.
“Harry Potter is luring innocent children to witchcraft and the occult,” he explains. “It teaches that you can leave the world of structure, safety and family and go to a place where the rules don’t apply.”
Ugh, such bullshit.
If you want to read something that’s LGBT but with a religious undertone to it, I thoroughly recommend this. As this review so succinctly said,
Take “But I’m a Cheerleader”, replace comedy with drama, keep the happy ending.
Yep, pretty much.