The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver

The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver

Release Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

Two sisters are summoned to their aunt's Greenwich Village flat, where they must start dressing like young ladies, cultivate their artistic sensibilities, and open themselves up to Life with a capital L.

When Franny and her older sister Valentine are summoned by their Aunt Theodora from foggy San Francisco to sunny New York City for one summer, they are taken to old-world locales like Bemelmans Bar, the Plaza, and the Sherry Netherland by their chaperone, Clover, Aunt Theodora’s protégé. As they discover New York City going lingerie shopping and learning about the simple elegance of a cucumber sandwich, they also begin to unearth secrets and answers about Aunt Theo's glamorous and romantic past, and they have a few romantic adventures of their own.

While I did enjoy some parts of The Summer Invitation, it felt like more of a guide book rather than a novel with an actual plot line. Most of the story consists of Franny and Valentine going shopping, eating or walking around New York with their chaperone Clover. Loads of places mentioned here – some which I’d love to visit next time I go to New York – and it felt like we as readers are just witnessing two girls as they “tour” around the city.

Franny was sweet and innocent, and I liked how we got to see the world through her point of view. However, there was an awful lot of “telling” and not “showing”. The writing was really on-the-surface, and you can’t really much past that. Valentine annoyed me till the end: she got bored of everything too fast, was too melodramatic and was pretty superficial. Also I hated how everything became about romance and sex when it concerned her character. I mean, really? and Clover was no better– she encouraged young girls to buy lingerie and have lovers and all that stuff. While it does seem to have the elements of an old film that I’d love to watch, it was sometimes too shallow for me to get in to.

The Summer Invitation, while having an interesting look at New York City and some of the classy places located within the city that I’m now DYING to go to, fell flat for me. I’m unsure whether or not this is aimed at younger readers or slightly older ones, due to the topics discussed in the book, but nonetheless, it felt childish and plain for a young adult novel.

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