One Perfect Summer, is basically about finding your first love and never falling out of love with them.
The story starts off with Alice going to Dorset for a summer holiday, before she starts her new life at University in September. Early on during her holiday she meets Joe. Joe works for his parents in a pub, his life is going nowhere. His parents are mean and brutish towards him, his fresh-out-of-prison brother beats him up, all he has to cheer him up is his adored dog Dyson (which his parents also hate).
Alice and Joe, go through a whirlwind romance which comes to an abrupt end the day that Ryan (Joe’s brother) touches Alice up and ends up with Joe hinting him with a glass bottle. That’s when we see everything change, Joe warns Alice’s parents about Ryan and tells them to take her away. Without a goodbye, Joe leaves too.
6 months later we see Alice trying to carry on with her life whilst still mourning the loss of her first love. She asks herself the same questions everyday. Is he okay? Where is he? Why didn’t he come for me? She lives out the emotions that I think most of us can relate to. We watch her hide her feelings from everyone around her, but slowly with the help of her new best friend Jessie, she starts to enjoy life again.
That’s when she meets Lukas, rich, german, loves Alice enough to say no to his family but Alice still can’t get Joe out of her head. Still wondering what he’s doing, where he is, and most importantly, WHY he didn’t come for her?
This is the part of the book that I thought could have been improved on. Alice shows very little emotion towards Lukas, and never shows any signs of wanting to be with him, yet ends up marrying him. I don’t get it. Is she causing her own misery? Of course you would still be in love with your first love, if you settle for the first guy that comes along who you don’t really like that much. Lukas is controlling and decides on what Alice should and should not do. For example, not to contact her ex (which I suppose is understandable) and to move to Germany for him and learn German.
If I was her, I would have left him long ago, and found some other person that I maybe would have loved more than my first love. Anyway…
Alice finally sees Joe again, but not as the future-less 18-year-old she once met, but as the successful actor on the cinema screen. Joe becomes a hit sensation, with women all other the country swooning for him and Alice obviously being one of them. Through a series of failed attempts to contact him, she finally manages with the help of Lizzy, her old best friend.
Like 18 year olds again, they go back to the cottage in Dorset where everything started from to finally be able to talk about what happened to them throughout all these years.
I’ve always thought Joe was a great character, so sweet and loveable, but I think the whole actor thing was a bit weird and unbelievable. Surely Paige Toon could have found another way to make them meet again without it being on the cinema screen. But it was cute how they were together back in Dorset and I thought ending the book where it started was a nice touch.
Overall, I think as a cheesy lovey-dovey romance, this book would score high points. I would have liked to see something a little more realistic or a little more daring. It would have been nice to see Alice get swept off her feet by another man who could actually compete with Joe, as we know that Lukas was no competition for him.
So overall, I would say it was an okay book. Main fault, no real love competition and the ending was too predictable.
Have you read One Perfect Summer? What did you think about it?