Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez - 4⭐

Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez - 4⭐


Just for the Summer is Abby Jimenez’s third installment in her Part of Your World series. While I haven’t read either of the prequels, and this is quite literally my first time reading something by Jimenez, I have to say that I didn’t feel left out starting at number three. The story works great as a stand-alone, and at no point did I feel like I should’ve read the others in order to keep up.

The premise is this: Maddy, Emma’s best friend, slash travel companion, slash colleague, slash foster sister, comes across a post on the popular subreddit known as “Am I The Asshole” (known for short as “AITA”). The post is a rant by a guy who named his ugly dog after his best friend, Brad, as retaliation for moving out with his new girlfriend; leaving him with an apartment he can’t afford to pay on his own; and forcing him to move into a dingier, smaller one where his only view is that of a giant billboard advertising The Toilet King – a popular plumbing service in this fictional world. He goes on to explain that this happened due to this curse he’s carrying: Whenever OP (Original Poster) dates someone, the woman he dates ends up finding her soulmate after breaking up with him. This is exactly what happened with Brad (his best friend Brad, not dog Brad).

When Maddy sees this, she shows it to Emma who’s been afflicted with the same curse. Intrigued, Emma begins messaging back and forth with Justin, the original poster on the AITA subreddit. They begin an inadvertent, long-distance friendship online (he lives in Minnesota; she travels around for work as a travel nurse and is currently placed in Colorado).

Justin’s friends suggest that if he and Emma meet, they might cancel each other out. End the curse. The next person they’d meet after breaking up would be their soulmate.

After some consideration, Emma agrees. And that’s where things start to get interesting because it’s becoming more than just some silly experiment for the two of them. They aren’t just attracted to each other—they click and actually really like each other. Deep down they want it to go on longer, but Justin must take on custody of his younger siblings, Emma’s toxic mother shows up, and Emma herself will have much trauma to overcome before she and Justin can even begin to imagine a world where they can be together.

In Just for the Summer, Jimenez has put together a narrative that is simple in its reading, but in which the concepts are so intricately layered that she creates complex situations as well as characters. Her handling of Emma’s struggles to grow close to anyone other than Maddy due to her avoidant attachment style is the most thoughtful and accurate that I’ve ever come across. She’s done an excellent job representing this delicate matter without minimizing it, simplifying it, or patronizing it. She handles this heavy topic with grace and tact and maintains that throughout even while still delivering on the romance.

Though the premise can feel a bit outlandish, and I personally read to see how she was going to pull this idea off credibly, Jimenez knocks it out of the park. There isn’t a single moment in which we don’t believe the chemistry between Emma and Justin. From their online chats to when they meet in person, their dialogue and interactions flow with ease, their exchanges always throwing off sparks. Despite dealing with heavy topics, the narrative remains light and easy to digest.

I’ve never been a die-hard fan of summer romances, though I do read the occasional one. But if Jimenez’s other books are as deeply well-thought-out and full of heart as this one, then she’s found a new fan in yours truly.

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