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The Summer We Came to Life    by Deborah Cloyed order for
Summer We Came to Life
by Deborah Cloyed
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2011 (2011)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Four best friends from childhood (Samantha, Mina, Kendra, and Isabel) have always spent vacations together, going to exotic places. This year will be different however as Mina died of cancer six months before. Samantha has taken Mina's death the hardest, even though it was expected. The friends have created a lifetime of memories, but they bring little comfort to the young women.

This year the young women, along with a few of the parents, are heading to Honduras, the first vacation without Mina. Mina has left a journal behind for her friends, but right now their grief is too raw for it to heal them. When Samantha is swimming in the ocean she has a near death experience and meets Mina who tries to console her and convince her that she is in a good, happy place. Samantha struggles with what has happened and battles the ghosts that haunt her. She embarks on a journey of awareness and now questions everything that is happening in her life.

After Samantha tells her friends and the parents about sighting Mina, the parents begin to open up and tell their own stories of their pasts, dealing with love and grief, sharing things they have never told their children before. Bonding with each other, sharing stories, and leaning on each other in hard times, the young women all feel better for taking this vacation. They begin to realize the importance of family and good friends.

The Summer We Came To Life focuses on love, grief, and life after death. It reveals family dramas and secrets, and is not your typical summer read. Though at times I found the plot disjointed, it is a story that will leave you thinking about the after life.

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