The Edge Of Summer by Erica George ARC Review

The Edge Of Summer by Erica George

Publisher: Poppy (The NOVL)

Release Date: June 14, 2022

Pages: 320

Available through Bookshop

Cover Illustrator / Artist: Dion MBD

[Received an ARC through Yallwest]

Summary: Saving the whales has been Coriander Cabot and her best friend Ella’s dream since elementary school. But when tragedy strikes, Cor is left to complete the list of things they wanted to accomplish before college alone, including a marine biology internship on Cape Cod. Cor’s summer of healing and new beginnings turns complicated when she meets Mannix, a local lifeguard who completely takes her breath away. But she knows whatever she has with Mannix might not last, and that her focus should be on rescuing the humpback whales from entanglement. As the tide changes, Cor finds herself distracted and struggling with her priorities. Can she follow her heart and keep her promise to the whales and her best friend?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Edge Of Summer is an escapist read and an ideal book for the season! As this YA romance tackles grief and sweeps the reader away into the setting, its also a cozy beach town romance that has a myriad of plot threads that each find their place among Cape Cod. A summer of change, heartache, and healing!

Something I’ve never realized about myself now is that I’m starting to deeply love beach town stories (especially romances), perhaps its Nina Moreno’s charming Port Coral that first introduced me to these books, yet something about the ones that tackle grief are especially ones I’m seemingly unable to escape right now (but I love them so much!!)

Erica George’s YA seems rather simple enough, but its the setting and slow momentum of Coriander’s summer on Cape Cod that made it such a delightful read. Cor Cabot has plans to complete this summer while she stays with her Uncle Jack, which includes completing her marine internship at the Marine Research and Conservation Alliance (MRAC) and saving whales….but more importantly, she also carries a weight with her that guides her return to the Cape and that’s the loss of her (former best friend) Ella earlier that year.

Cor has always been fascinated with whales and the ocean but that’s mainly because of her friendship with Ella, but George does find time to present their backstory which also finds its place among the current timeline (jumping back and forth occasionally), seeing almost two different sides to Cor before and after she lost Ella. There’s many integral pieces that make this the small town romances we can’t stop loving from the intimate, comfy vibes to the townfolks and recurring locales that we look back on when we’ve turned the last page (in this case one of them includes the Sea Ghost, a local restaurant), the descriptions deliver that especially slower-paced, quiet feel to the plot too that make their way throughout The Edge OF Summer.

From the very beginning though, she can’t seem to go anywhere without finding the charming Mannix Reilly around: lifeguard, aspiring chef, handyman, he’s a boy of many talents. As Cor begins her summer internship, she finds herself slowly falling for Mannix and the two can’t escape their slowly growing feelings for one another! However, aside from Cor there’s an expansive cast of characters from her uncle Jack, her new friends Mia Cho and Kyle Sonneveld (who goes by they/them), and her other internship coordinators, in addition to the other people of the town.

This was another one of those stories where the setting is what makes it a charming read from the scenic beach descriptions, summer ambience, and many locales around the Cape that came across well from Cor’s perspective. I liked that the romance was more slow-burn to me because even though it can seem pretty obvious where the relationship is going, the actual pacing of it never felt too fast and takes a good portion of the book (maybe 200+ pages for the actual romance to be more present), along the entirety though I appreciated getting to learn more about Mannix and his own complicated storyline as he tries to figure out his dreams (away from the family business) and put himself before others.

Mannix not only works as a lifeguard but also works at the Sea Ghost, however the scenes that stuck out to me the most were the ones where I learned more about him as an actual person aside from the plot: like him making food (sandwiches, eggs, etc.) for Cor as he helped her uncle with home renovations, his momentum to keep working is because of the love he has for his family even if they don’t always understand him and the goals he sets aside to care for others. Mannix Reilly was just so sweet! He cooks for her, their banter, cute meet-ups, it was adorable ❤

This summer is one of healing for Cor as she comes to terms with her friend’s passing but also learning where to put that grief and open herself up to forgiveness which was an element of grief that I’d never really seen explored in YA for some time. It was nice to see that messy, complicated part of the process which was quite believable.

Another pivotal detail of this story was Cor’s love of whales and the topic of whale conservation. Because George is very familiar with the Cape and whales in general that element of the story was very present through the details, Cor’s inner voice, in addition the passion Cor has for the subject throughout her time on the Cape as she studies, takes part in rescues, observes her fellow internship mates and reflects on her past with Ella.

Overall what I wanted to delve into next was perhaps what could have been given more page-time to develop further. Firstly, an element of Cor’s grief with Ella! While there’s many plot threads introduced to show Cor’s past with her and why she feels how she does, it felt like two isolated parts of the story that could have come together with just more expansion on those scenes of the past. I mean realistically we the reader can piece it together…but with the main element of the story being the romance between Coriander and Mannix, Ella’s story seemed to be detached at points, never painting a more vivid picture. Additionally, there’s a main presence of Cor’s grief as she sees hallucinations of Ella (either talking to her or at her throughout the story), it came and went during certain scenes but ultimately was never really addressed too much as they felt out of place the further along the plot moved. By the end it did feel rushed as the plot wraps up and your left wanting more about the town and Cor’s friendships especially!

Lastly, I feel like I’m always picky about the writing because I deeply care about that in the stories I’m reading. The prose can tell a lot about the atmosphere, development and memorability to the character, especially if we read from their voice or perspective. Cor’s voice is there definitely and the passion she has for whales shows, but structure wise the more I read, there were some repetitive descriptions and in general a plain style that could have added more specific ambience to the story, from my interpretation.

Ultimately, I did absolutely love this book and it was a slower kind of read that never felt bogged down by pacing or atmosphere but instead helped to further show Cor’s steady process of healing and her relationships over the summer at the Cape, which I deeply enjoyed!

The Edge Of Summer has all those pieces to deliver the classic small town romance! Despite a couple elements that could have been given a bit more development, you’ll be swept away with Cor, Mannix, the sweet romance, friendships, deeper themes of grief and small town vibes, making it a great read for the season!

6 thoughts on “The Edge Of Summer by Erica George ARC Review

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