Author: Gaby Triana
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Shelves: Hot like meh, sci fi
Back to the Future meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Haley’s summer vacation takes a turn for the retro in this totally rad romantic fantasy.
Summer officially sucks. Thanks to a stupid seizure she had a few months earlier, Haley’s stuck going on vacation with her dad and his new family to Disney’s Fort Wilderness instead of enjoying the last session of summer camp back home with her friends. Fort Wilderness holds lots of childhood memories for her father, but surely nothing for Haley. But then a new seizure triggers something she’s never before experienced—time travel—and she ends up in River Country, the campground’s long-abandoned water park, during its heyday.
The year? 1982.
And there—with its amusing fashion, “oldies” music, and primitive technology—she runs into familiar faces: teenage Dad and Mom before they’d even met. Somehow, Haley must find her way back to the twenty-first century before her present-day parents anguish over her disappearance, a difficult feat now that she’s met Jason, one of the park’s summer residents and employees, who takes the strangely dressed stowaway under his wing.
Seizures aside, Haley’s used to controlling her life, and she has no idea how to deal with this dilemma. How can she be falling for a boy whose future she can’t share?
Let’s just say I’m an extremely mellow sort of person, who sometimes caves in to her urges to whine. (It’s out of my hands people, but even so, I try to fight nature because honestly why not?) I have a high capacity for what kinds of crap I’ll take from my protagonists. Characters you probably hate because they annoy the fuck out of you are like a bare, minimal level of annoyance to me because I am zen.
If I, like you probably do, feel like poking out my own, or perhaps the protagonist’s eyes, I think of bees and butterflies, alternately scaring and soothing myself, consequentially-
Nah, I’m just crapping you. But I do have a stretched-out-like-a-canopy of a threshold for annoying protagonists, because I’d rather hate them for their actions since only me and my deer know what kind of crap goes through my brain and honestly, half the time I myself can’t process through it; it doesn’t sink and I’m too shit scared to consult any of the deer around town.
Which brings me to the protagonist of Summer of Yesterday: Hayley. Oh boy. No, she ain’t your Mary Sue, Bella Swan yada yada any other kind of crappy, annoying heroine so many of you have written hilarious reviews about. Hayley is a character written by an author in her capacity as an adult. It doesn’t work. Hayley’s thoughts are too juvenile for a 13yo, much less an almost adult.
Italicized banal words. Totally. Like. Other kinds of crap. Thankfully, the usage of italics reduces as the story moves on but not the general language of Hayley’s consciousness. Moreover, her flaccid personality has the depth of a kiddie pool. A surface persona, if you will. Composed of a list of directions her mind will take and back again. This kind of simplicity has started to bug me more than any boycrazy teen story out there you could find. Ugh. Even thought we’re teenagers, we do have complex thought processes. And honestly I’m fucking tired.
Anyways, she’s also given to making snap judgements about the general intelligence of people she’s known less than two days, judgements whose basis I can’t ascertain given all the evidence she doesn’t provide. But back to knowing people for two days. In Disney Land. On Summer Days. OH BOY. THAT IS LIKE FOR A BROTH OF MORONITY, INSIPIDITY AND GENERAL ENNUI, with the presence of empty space in lieu of tired, overworked brains as the matrix. IT’S FUCKING SUMMER IN FUCKING DISNEY LAND.
But I digress. This is what she has to say about the romantic interest:
He could be anything. A computer programmer. An engineer that doubles as a surfer model… yada yada
I don’t think she even knows if he’s good at math or physics or whatever. You can’t just become a computer programmer if you’re obsessed with the latest technology that comes out. Interest doesn’t equal caliber. If only she’d left it at “he could be anything,” the whole point of a big part of my review would be obsolete.
In her defense, he does indeed hotwire her phone later on.
In my defense, she didn’t know that at that point in the story. Plus, youtube can hotwire a car. Do you think it knows how to build one? Probably. But do you think it actually fucking could? Nope.
In her defense, again, well, it’s like they say, you can do anything once you put your mind to it. Which is all kinds of crap but young hun, I think he’d be good as a minion of the dark side. He seems to like sweet things.
Yet never mind that! She is also omniscient! She goes to this place at night where she has only been the day before, and thus is what she has to say:
a big group of teens who hang out every night
YOU HAVEN’T BEEN HERE ENOUGH NIGHTS TO MAKE THAT KIND OF STATEMENT.
Of course, you could say I’m being pesky but I haven’t actually complained about her comment of “being girl scared” when a beetle crawls up her arm. That is not girl fear. I won’t even pick on that sentence albeit I know where to begin. But then this:
A moment from now I’ll be better than every girl who has wanted to kiss Jason this summer without luck.
To top that, she LIES! I don’t mind liars, I mind people who can’t fucking lie but THIS KIND OF CONVINCTION IN LIES CALLS FOR AN EPIC FACEPALM.
When I was young and stupid…
A. Still young.
B. Still stupid as evidenced by exhibits given above, and more not presented.
I seem to be in the minority, however, because the characters of the book don’t agree with me.
And you seem wise beyond your years. Don’t let anybody ever change that about you.
THAT LAST SENTENCE. HOW IS THAT EVEN? WHAT DOES IT EVEN? I CAN’T EVEN. I’m leaving it to you. My face is red, blotchy and waving the white flag, courtesy of all the facepalms.
HOWEVER, enough about Hayley. Or her negative points. There were a few redeeming surface qualities about her. I did like that she was worried sick about her parents and what they must be going through, and not just for a few wayward thoughts wherein she feels guilty. I could also understand, to an extent, her attachment to the romantic interest and why she, caught up in the excitement of new romance and a freedom, she didn’t want to leave.
Wow, that was a short one.
IMO, another major letdown of Summer of Yesterday was the lack of eighties atmosphere in the story. Like the characters, there was a shallowness and deficiency in the build-up and unfortunately, I’m one of those readers for whom the setting of utmost importance if I want to sink into a story like into a comfortable linen blanket or a bed of nails. Basically, the whole eighties theme constituted of:
Look no internet! Look no mobiles! HEADBANDS! The fuck is this shit? OHEMGEE those swimsuits-are they for real?!??!
Possibly, I might be exaggerating in my portrayal. Possibly. Now that’s just a question you’ll have to answer yourself by reading the book.
There is no science in this book. No science fiction. No magic I could discern-so don’t read it for that shit, okay? WHAT IT DOES have is multiple mentions/references of Doctor Who?
To end with, the ending was good, for which I awarded an extra half star. Not the exact execution, but the idea of it, the message behind it-that’s what I liked. And that’s about it. I didn’t like anything else.
This is all so… life changing.
Review copy provided by the publishers.