Tuesday, February 05, 2013
REVIEW: Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz
Invincible Summer is the story of Chase and his family told in parts over four consecutive summers. It's an unusual format, hearing the events that happen to this family from just a few weeks over summer every year but it also makes really good sense as you are reading it. Chase mentions early on that his entire life seems to revolve around the weeks he spends at the beach house and the time he spends with the Hathaway family who summer next door.
The first year, the summer that Chase turns 15, is really idyllic and perfect-sounding almost. Chase has a big family - there are his parents, his older brother Noah, his younger sister, Claudia, his younger brother Gideon and his mother is currently pregnant with the fifth child. I'll say it right now, I love the idea of big families. I've always wished I had been part of a big family like this. But things are not at all perfect with this family as you come to realise as you read further into this story... And as the story begins, Noah and Chase are waiting. They say summer doesn't officially begin until the Hathaway family join them at the beach. They consist of Melinda and the twins, Shannon and Bella.
I think the thing that I love the most about Invincible Summer is how messed-up everything becomes. As Chase's family begins to change and shift into something entirely different than how it was when the story begins, I started to notice different things. I really found the family dynamics between Chase and his siblings to be fascinating. Chase and his relationship with his older brother Noah is almost at the heart of the novel. Noah is always disappearing or wandering off from his family. There's a real disconnect between Noah and his younger brothers and sisters. It really just seems that it is Chase who is the link between Noah and the rest of his family.
I kind of loved witnessing Claudia's transformation over the summers trying to assert her grown-uppedness by wearing skimpy bikins and experimenting with her sexuality. It must have been hard for her being a girl with three brothers for most of her life. And Gideon is a such a sweet younger brother. Born deaf, he relies on the sketchy signing of his family in order to communicate and his existence and needs seems to be the catalyst of familal problems.What I love about Gideon's role in the family is how he seems to highlight the real lack of communication between brothers and sisters and parents and children.
And the relationships! I can barely describe how messy and complicated these relationships are! The narrator of the story, Chase, is aged 14-18 throughout the story and we really see him grow up go through a huge hormone surge. While he at first shares a sweet kiss with neighbour, Bella, it is the kiss he shares with her older sister (and Noah's on/off girlfriend) Melinda which causes Chase to feel conflicted.
When I first began Invincible Summer, I really felt like this Chase-Melinda kiss would be the main thing that this story works through, but it isn't at all. Invincible Summer is a much more complicated story than that about a family falling apart and about children growing up and making choices and I loved absolutely every single page! I highly recommend that you pick up this book and I will for sure be on the look out for other books by Hannah Moskowitz!