I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, science fiction
Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.
Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.
When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.
But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.
“I don’t want to go, but I also don’t want to stay. Two worlds I don’t want to be a part of. Two worlds I don’t belong in. And the worst part is I don’t have a choice. I stand and take a step off the porch, my foot landing on snow instead of grass. Everything changing in an instant. I don’t have to open my eyes to know I’m here.”
As soon as I stumbled upon this book on Goodreads I knew that I NEEDED to read it! So, I added it to my TBR and low and behold it was on Edelweiss. Now, Edelweiss and I aren’t really good friends. I never get approved for anything on the site but the book gods were working in my favour! I quickly downloaded Cold Summer and started it a few minutes later. It was AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and HEARTBREAKING and ROMANTIC all at the same time. The book was everything I wanted and more! It’s just…so difficult to describe how much I enjoyed reading it.
The book is told through two alternating points of view, which I liked because it really allowed me to get to know the characters and fall madly in love with both of them. The story revolves around Kale who can travel in time to the past. Now, normally I would be super jealous. I studied history in university and am absolutely fascinated by World War II (my main area of study), however, Kale’s journey to the past is completely devastating. He cannot control where and when he travels. One minute he’s trying to keep his life together in the present and then poof…he’s traveled back in time. He’s essentially struggling to live the life of a normal teenager in the present and trying to stay alive as a soldier in the past. Unlike other stories that I have read about time travel, Cold Summer doesn’t romanticize it. It dives into the impact it has on the person’s emotional, mental and physical state. My heart ached for Kale. The scenes set during the winter of 1944-45 were heartbreaking — the blood, the loss of life and the tough choices that had to made to survive.
The story’s other main character, Harper, was very likeable. She’s a gammer, kind of shy and fearful of opening up, all characteristics that I could identify with. Harper was such an essential part of the story as her POV offered another layer to the impact time travel has on those around Kale. Yes, he’s the one who is doing the actual traveling but those left behind are also emotionally scarred. Harper does her best to support him but she can’t help being frightened and anxious about his safety. He leaves and her life is basically put on hold, halted with worry and fear.
This book was so addictive. I read through it incredibly fast! I was totally swept up in the story and with short chapters, I just kept on reading and reading. I also found myself fangirling over all of the Doctor Who and Firefly references made throughout the book. My little nerd heart loved it! My only tiny nitpick would be how the end dragged out a bit longer than needed. For being a fast paced novel, the final three or four chapters slowed everything down to a crawl. It could have been wrapped up earlier without losing any of the emotional impact.
Cold Summer is a book that you NEED to read!! It’s not just for fans of history, romance or time travel. It has a little bit of everything but is so much more. It’s been days since I read it and I’m still thinking about it. *sigh*
Gwen Cole writes Young Adult books and her debut novel, COLD SUMMER, will be released in the spring of 2017 with Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing.
She grew up in upstate New York, moved to Virginia where she did not graduate college, and worked a various number of jobs including pharmacy technician, meat clerk, ranch hand, and a receiving specialist at Target. She may or may not have written a number of books while working at certain jobs.
At the age of eighteen, Gwen played bass in a hardcore band and later married the lead guitarist. She can also play piano, guitar, and wishes she could play the cello. Her favorite place to vacation is Wyoming, where she gets to wear a cowboy hat and pretend she actually is one.
Gwen now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and very large dog, where she longs to live in the country again.