Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller

Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

A contemporary story about friendship, forgiveness and acceptance - with a big twist!

Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.

So … I have a confession to make. Sometimes, after I request an ARC and receive it, I take a long time to read the book (tha’s not the confession, by the way). By the time I get to actually reading it, I’ve forgotten the synopsis. Now I’m just jumping into it blind and hoping for the best! With this book, the best happened.

Big Summer book cover

Big Summer

by Jennifer Weiner

Published April 5, 2020 by Atria Books
ISBN: 1501133519

Data from Goodreads

Summary (Goodreads): Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

My Review: What A Ride!

This story started off as one thing and then completely switched for me. I was pleasantly surprised and hooked from beginning to end!

The Pros: What worked for me

  • The story is split into 3 parts, with each highlighting a different element. In the first part, we are allowed to see what life is like for Daphne and how she evolved as a child through snippets into her past. This was my favourite part of the book because it was very well written and the reader gets a real feel for Daphne’s personality and thought process.
  • The story also sheds light on the behind-the-scenes life of an influencer. I’ve always been in awe of Instagram influencers but have never really understood the mechanics behind it. Through Daphne, we get an understanding of that world and that was pretty cool for me!
  • I really like the way the author approached body positivity and fat-shaming. This isn’t the first book I’ve read featuring a plus-size protagonist but it’s one of the few where I felt it was realistic. Daphne is never truly comfortable with her weight, and still makes disparaging comments/ worries about others’ thoughts in her head, and that seems realistsic; I dont think the trauma of weight-shaming ever really leaves a person. I also think the author makes some very poignant observations on standards of beauty and availability of clothes, etc. While heavyhanded at times, it did give me food for thought. 
  • Right when you think you have the story pegged, IT COMPLETELY CHANGES! I was actually taken by surprise and it was frigging awesome! That’s all I’m going to say because … spoilers.

The Cons: What I didn’t like

  • The second half of the book starts to explore different themes like (Click to reveal spoiler) infidelity, murder, and the manipulative personality of Drue. We are also introduced to quite a few new characters. At times, it got a bit confusing for me to keep track of things.
  • While I liked the twist that the story took (and it was done really well!), the second half wasn’t as strong or compelling as the first half of the book. 
  • The ending was a bit cliché and I wasn’t a fan of it. Things were just a bit too conveniently tied up for my liking and I didn’t really find the motive very believable.

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed my experience with the book. It was insightful, had a great protagonist, and took me by surprise. I cannot wait to read more by this author, and I really can’t recommend this book enough – 4/5 stars from me!

4 thoughts on “Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

    1. It is actually one of my favourite books I’ve read this past month! And for more body positivity books, I would recommend Dumplin’!

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