Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.
Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.
This book focuses on a group of ex-friends: Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe. After Joy moved without explanation, the friends drifted apart. It's when the summer camp they used to attend has a reunion that the girls see eachother again and end up accidentally transporting 2 years into the part. To their last summer as friends. The girls have to recreate their past, and their last photo, in order to get back to the present. But how can they live in the past when their older now? And what if they change things?
I was actually surprised by this book. For some reason I thought they metaphorically transported in time, so I was expecting a full-on contemporary. I was pleasantly surprised by the time travel aspect. Yet, this book is still very realistic. I think a praise on the book "Sisterhood of the (Time) Traveling Pants" is an accurate way to describe this book. The friendship and the summertime feeling to this book reminded me of the Traveling Pants book, though there are definitely differences.
There is the fact that this book is very very slow-paced. It makes sense considering the plot, but most of the book is the friends doing their separate things. Not that it was dull or anything. It was interesting seeing the girls try to recreate their summer, and not really recreate it. I actually really did end up liking seeing their different stories. This book is mostly about friendship and second chances, so there is hope and lots of drama in this.
This book also follows each of the girls individually. It's in third person, but it's like we're seeing the POV from each girl. I'm not a big fan of third person and some might find the switches confusing, but I think this worked out for this book! I really can't see how we could've gotten the story in any other way. Now, I did have issues with the girls. They seemed much younger. In fact, it seemed like they completely took over their roles of being 15 again, which kind of bothered me. It's not a huge problem, but I kind of wish that they seemed more their age. Besides this, though, these characters did grow so much throughout this book, learning about things about themselves and their past.
As for romance, some of the girls have their romances in the book, but I don't think that's important. This book is, again, about friendship. Whether it's a past friendship or a current one.
Overall, this was a great book with magical realism. I had issues with the characters and pacing, at first, but I grew into liking this book. I think this is a great summer read abouts second chances and friendship! I recommend this to fans of contemporary friendship reads!
Meaning: I liked it