I love reading books about self discovery, food, and romance. The Summer My Life Began combines all three subjects in a very fun and entertaining way. I fell in love with many of the characters in this book, especially Em (the main character) whose journey to find herself in the midst of her father's controlling hand hit a very personal nerve. Em dreams of being a chef but her very serious father disapproves of anything that goes against his plans for his daughter, to go to Harvard and become a lawyer for his firm.
Desperate to escape her father's tight grip, Em takes advantage of an opportunity to visit a long lost aunt, her Aunt Tilly, at her island home. There she meets the people that will change her life forever, such as her aunt, her cousin Frederick, and Cade, the boy she never thought she would fall for. No longer being held back by her family, Em begins to explore life in the way she never had before, taking risks and just simply living it to the fullest. Trouble is of course not far behind as her father's strong disapproval of her new life choices haunt her.
The Summer My Life Began meets the criteria for a light, fluffy, summer read. However, it is much more than that. I felt that Em had a lot of issues to work through but was satisfied with the choices she made in the end. Aunt Tilly was the kind of aunt I wish I had, that free loving spirit who just lives now and asks questions later. It is often by throwing caution to the wind that we find what are real passions are, and that's what I felt with this book. It was a very fast read that I was able to get through in between breaks and found hard to put it down. I highly recommend this book, especially now with summer around the corner. A perfect book to pick up and take with you to the beach or the park this long weekend. 4-Stars.
(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)