Publisher: Createspace on April 24, 2013
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Charlotte Gates is tired of being Charlie Rae. She loves the lake she was raised on, their rental cabins, and spending her nights under the stars…but inside she yearns for more.
After his freshman year, Nathaniel Chase’s family spends their first summer at The Village. From the beginning Charlotte intrigues him. She’s the girl who always says what’s on her mind, wins at night games, and each time she looks through her telescope, gets lost in the sky.
Over the course of four summers together, Charlotte and Nathaniel become best friends, share firsts, mend broken hearts, protect each other’s secrets, overcome tragedies…fall in love. And say goodbye…
Charlie wants out of The Village. Nate wants her to have her stars. And they dream of being able to do it all together. But life isn’t as easy as their summers.
Each summer is told in alternating points of view between Charlie and Nate. Journey with the pair, and their friends, as they share their story about growing up, discovering who they are, making tough choices, and falling in love again and again.
RR: Hey Nyrae! Thanks so much for joining us here on Rampant Readers. Let’s start off with some questions about your writing. What is your favorite part of Four Summers?
ND: My favorite part was the romance. I’ve wanted to write a story for a long time that felt epic. A long lasting love story that doesn’t happen over a short amount of time. That was what I really tried to show in this book. No matter what these two characters went through, one thing that stayed consistent for them was each other. That doesn’t mean they never had conflict, but the emotions were always there.
RR: Well, if I must say so myself, you nailed it on the head! I loved seeing their relationship progress over the novel. Next question! Do you outline when writing your books?
ND: A little bit. I always start with just their story in my head. I always know their backstory and the conflict in the story before I start writing. Then I just sit down and go for it. Once I hit around 25% of the book, then I sit down and handwrite each scene out, in order.
RR: Very interesting. Which character frustrated you most while writing Four Summers?
ND: Alec. He frustrated me, but my heart breaks for him too. I understand and sympathize with him and hope readers will by the end of the book too.
RR: Well, I definitely did! Do you prefer to write in silence or with music playing?
ND: I don’t really write to music when I’m at home, but I love writing at bookstores so there is often music there. I like writing around people and books.
RR: Alright, let’s have some fun questions, shall we? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
ND: Ireland! I want to go there so bad!
RR: If you do end up going, would you mind taking me with you? I’d love to go! Do you have any pets? What are their names?
ND: I have two dogs. A five-year-old, half lab/half pit bull named Oso. She is probably the sweetest doggie in the world. We also recently got a Morkie (half Yorkie half Maltese). She is tiny and weighed 1.88 pounds when we got her.
RR: What is one food that you will never eat?
ND: Everyone always freaks out when I tell them this, but I don’t eat bread. It’s not a carb thing either. I can’t stand the texture. It grosses me out. LOL (Yes, I know how weird that sounds).
RR: Unique indeed. Favorite quote?
ND: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been” I have a tattoo of it.
RR: Very wise. Favorite Color?
RR: Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?
RR: Favorite school subject?
RR: Coke or Pepsi?
RR: Chocolate or Vanilla?
RR: Gum or Mints?
RR: Pen or Pencil?
RR: iPhone or Android?
RR: Facebook or Twitter?
Since this novel is split into four summers, I’ve decided I’m going to share my thoughts on each summer individually for my review. The unique way that Nyrae Dawn has written this novel has inspired me!
Written at 9:35 P.M on May 4th
“Mom, Dad, Sadie Ann, or probably anyone else would think I’m crazy, and maybe I am crazy because I’m sitting here thinking ton of thoughts that have no business in my head. Thoughts I’d laugh at if anyone else had them. I know who boys like him are. They’re stuck up, rude, think they’re better than us, and everyone here knows they always, always leave, but still…this summer boy just game me my first moment. A piece of my life I will never forget.”
This is the summer that Nathaniel and Charlotte meet. The Chase boys, Nathaniel and Brandon, come and stay at the Village, which is this place that Charlotte’s family owns that rents out cabins to vacationers. So anyways, in this summer, we get to see new relationships and friendships blossom amongst the characters. Alec and Charlie (Charlotte) are the best friends that are basically destined to be together for the rest of their lives. We see them grow apart during this summer, with Alec’s time being eaten up by working at the Village and hanging out with Brandon. It actually made me mad that Alec treated Charlie that way. Charlie has no friends other than Alec, and Alec seemed to be alright with basically abandoning Charlie, yet acting jealous when Charlie began spending her time with Nathaniel. Nathaniel and Charlotte’s budding friendship was one of the most pure things I’ve read in a while. They were actually just friends over the course of this summer, and it was great to see that Charlie was able to relate to someone other than Alec. Their parting at the end of the summer was bittersweet, and I cannot wait to see what happens the next summer.
Written at 10:55 P.M on May 5th
“My pulse jumps. She likes me. This totally cool girl who I would do anything for. Who trusts me with her secrets and who makes me forget for the first time in months. I knew it last year, but this doesn’t feel the same. It feels like more.”
The second summer is written in Nathaniel’s point of view. It was interesting to see the dynamics of his family, as well as to see what was going on from his perspective. Nathaniel’s voice was very different from Charlie’s. Nathaniel, being the typical boy, did not have as innocent of thoughts that Charlie did. He also used more vulgar language than you would hear from Charlie. In this summer, the Chases return to the Village after some drama involving Nathaniel that caused them to uproot and move. Nathaniel had changed as well. The event causing them to move had really affected him and his while demeanor changed as compared to the previous summer. Charlie had also changed. She’d had a boyfriend over the school year, and she was a little less timid, but she was still your typical innocent Charlie. The beginning of the summer was a little awkward, as Nathaniel had stopped their email correspondence after what happened in his life. However, they were soon able to pick off where they left off. This summer, they grew closer than they had the previous summer, with it seeming more like a relationship than a friendship. Once again, their departing was bittersweet, even more so than the previous summer, and I cannot wait to see what happens this third summer.
Written at 10:43 P.M on May 6th
“I don’t want to be one of those girls who hides who she is. I want to be proud, because I’m me and I don’t want to think there’s anything wrong with that.”
Oh my sweet baby Jesus. I cannot believe then ending of that summer! Let me tell you guys, you’ll be so surprised when you read this summer, you’ll be gaping like a fishing just like I was! The summer started off in its typical way. Nate and Charlie had kept in touch over this summer, and so when they met again in real life, they picked off just where they left off the previous summer. I really enjoyed watching them grow even closer over this summer. They have matured so much over the course of the three summers. It’s breathtaking to experience, and I love the way that Nyrae Dawn has written this novel split into four different summers. It really allows us to see the passage of time and gives us a chance to see how the characters grow and mature each year. This summer, Nate was more like her was the first summer. He was flirty, and sweet, and just an overall great character to read. Charlie was still the selfless girl that she’s always been, but she’s also maturing more. How I really can’t think of anything else to say about this summer, because my mind is stuck on stupid because of that Third summer cliff hanger! So I’m just going to mosey on back to bed with my kindle app, and hunker down to see what happens next…because I’ve been thinking about it all day at school…
Written at 7:18 P.M on May 8th
“We’ve grown and changed, screwed up, but at the beginning of each summer, we found each other again. Or maybe we never really lost each other.”
And alas, I am done. Wow is the only word that I can think of to describe this novel. It took me on a rollercoaster of emotional turmoil and love. I felt the characters’ highs and lows as they experienced them in the novel. And the believability of this novel was one of the best that I’ve read. So in summer four, after that ending that shocked me to the core, we find that Charlotte has come to visit New York for two weeks. After things settled after that major cliffy at the end of summer three, things settle. Then shit hits the fan again. And that’s all I’m going to say, because anything else that I could say would spoil this AMAZING ending for you, and I refuse to ruin this fantastic novel for any of you. So now I’ll just sum up my thoughts. As I said before (multiple times!), I am completely in love with this book. The characters, the setting, the plot, the world building, just everything was lovely. What I really loved, though, and found very unique was the mini ‘journal’ entries from Charlotte before every summer, regardless of if the summer was narrated by Nate. Those little entries really were a nice touch to the story, and they gave some insight into what was happening over the progression of time.
In the end…
I would really recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys contemporary romance; although I do believe this novel could melt a contemporary- hater’s heart. It contains a romance with a certain type of innocence that is no longer common in young adult novels. It explores the hardships of relationships, distance, and time apart. In the end, Nyrae Dawn has managed to craft a heartfelt coming of age story with an innocent romance that anyone can enjoy.