Book Review — The Best Summer of Our Lives

31 Aug

My book club chose The Best Summer of Our Life by Rachel Hauck as its August selection. We had a lot to talk about, though not all positive. We generally liked the book, but there were some things that we wanted more of . . . and less of. 😉 My thoughts are below.

Twenty years ago, the summer of ’77 was supposed to be the best summer of Summer Wilde’s life. She and her best friends, Spring, Autumn, and Snow–the Four Seasons–had big plans.

But those plans never had a chance. After a teenage prank gone awry, the Seasons found themselves on a bus to Tumbleweed, “Nowhere,” Oklahoma, to spend eight weeks as camp counselors. All four of them arrived with hidden secrets and buried fears, and the events that unfolded in those two months forever altered their friendships, their lives, and their futures.

Now, thirtysomething, Summer is at a crossroads. When her latest girl band leaves her in a motel outside Tulsa, she is forced to face the shadows of her past. Returning to the place where everything changed, she soon learns Tumbleweed is more than a town she never wanted to see again. It’s a place for healing, for reconciling the past with the present, and for finally listening to love’s voice.

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author.

She is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club. She is the recipient of RT’s Career Achievement Award.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, was filmed for an original Hallmark movie.

Hauck has been acclaimed for her split time novels and royal romances.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

In other news, she’s recently learned how to hard boil an egg. She’s quite proud.

Visit her at or

My Impressions:

I feel that The Best Summer of Our Lives is a bit of a departure from what you would expect from a novel by Rachel Hauck. The book centers around four long-time best friends who are embarking into adulthood. Having graduated from high school and caught pulling an over the top prank, they are sentenced to work as camp counselors in Tumbleweed, Oklahoma. The Four Seasons as they are known to family, friends, and classmates grow up a lot during the 8 weeks they spend in the isolated camp, but that is only the beginning of this coming-of-age story.

I have to admit that I did not like the names of the 4 girls — Spring, Summer, Autumn (aka Fall), and Margaret “Snow” Snowden. You see why they are dubbed the 4 Seasons. But, for me, the names really got in the way of getting to know the characters. I kept getting confused on who was who. It took me about half the book to become comfortable with who they were. The book really is Summer’s story, with side plots of her best friends. My book club wished there had been more Summer and less the other characters. We really liked the Prodigal aspect of the book, and Summer’s encounters with The Preacher presented some powerful scenes. But there were other times when the book seemed like a soap opera (I won’t share specifics because that would reveal spoilers) involving the other members of the Seasons. I also really liked that most of the men in the book were generally good guys. Reconciliation, grace, and forgiveness are strong themes.

The Best Summer of Our Lives has gotten really great reviews, so I urge you to look at those. Reviewing is subjective and a lot of things can influence how someone feels about a book. While I am glad I read it, it is not a favorite of mine from Hauck.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

One Response to “Book Review — The Best Summer of Our Lives”

  1. Cindy Davis August 31, 2023 at 2:41 pm #

    I totally agree with your thoughts. I didn’t love this one and I struggled to like it. I love her other works I have read.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: