Title: Invincible Summer
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: ★★★★/ 4 Stars
Genre: Contemporary YA
Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?
Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive….
Not your typical beach read.
That this isn’t my shirt or my mess. My life is just something that happened to me.
Trigger warning: underage boy sleeps with a girl 5 years older than him, and there is a drowning leads to death.
Invincible Summer is a character driven book written from the point of view of a fourteen year old boy named Chase McGill. The book spans over four summers in Chase’s life that kind of defined him in a big way. It’s got tragedy, love and strong familial bonds. I kind of understand why Hannah mentioned that there is some insinuated incestuous feelings happening here.
Chase and his older brother Noah have such a unique relationship that had its lined blurred especially since Noah was so very complex and flighty while Chase wanted him to stay stay stay more than anything. I think I saw the reason behind Chase’s inevitable attraction to the girl who usually gets a big piece of Noah during the summer, it’s his way of having something with Noah, in a weird kinda gross way. I honestly didn’t mind that aspect of the book but I’d understand if anyone was. The progression of this trio is strange because there is not jealousy between the two brother when Noah finds out about Chase and Melinda, but he rather shares with him some inside details that I wrinkled my nose at. Again, I didn’t mind that, it was weird but not anything horrendous.
The only real problem I had with this book is Melinda. I didn’t have enough of her to form an opinion about her. She shared Camus with the boys, she shared the boys, and was a rape survivor. Also: I didn’t like the obvious emotional advantage she had on Chase. While only a year older than Noah, Melinda was five years older than Chase and it showed. Her character kind of fell through for me, I didn’t see why Chase hated her so much at times. I did get uncomfortable with when he’d get angry when Melinda used her “rape victim face.” I personally cannot fathom how it’d be for Melinda and I don’t blame her for actions she committed after her trauma. I kind of wanted more of her.
The family dynamic in Chase’s family, which is what I hope is a Hannah Moskowitz reoccurring thing because I love it, is what gripped me. Their family is bigger than I’ve read in other YA works, to be honest. There’s Mom and Dad with their not so subtle screaming, Noah the flighty eldest son who’s burdened with so much weight due to his title, Chase who’s growing up too quickly because he believes he was born in the wrong order, Claudia who is animated and felt the most real to me, Gideon who due to being born deaf is somewhat the most vulnerable yet is a wild one and Newbaby Lucy who’s sort of their baby forever. The family is dysfunctional to say the least but what family isn’t? I related so much to the tight-knit relationship they all had, it reminded me of my own family when I was a kid. The constant shouting and checking up one another.
Tragedy strikes the family during the summers, more than once, but in a way, they grow and get even closer together.
The pacing worked really nicely. I liked the focus on summer and the summer house they’d stay at. Chase’s narration was beautiful and realistic enough of a teenage boy (or what I’d expect of a teenage boy, anyway). I just wish we got more of Melinda and her family.