Cruel Summer
  • Cruel Summer
  • Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer

3.7 90
by Alyson Noël

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"This was supposed to be my best summer yet, the one I've been working toward since practically forever. Now I'm being banished from everything I know and love, and it just doesn't make any sense."

Having recently discarded her dorky image--and the best friend that went with it--Colby Cavendish is looking forward to a long hot season of parties, beach BBQ's, and

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"This was supposed to be my best summer yet, the one I've been working toward since practically forever. Now I'm being banished from everything I know and love, and it just doesn't make any sense."

Having recently discarded her dorky image--and the best friend that went with it--Colby Cavendish is looking forward to a long hot season of parties, beach BBQ's, and hopefully, more hook-ups with Levi Bonham, the hottest guy in school. But her world comes crashing down when her parents send her away to spend the summer in Greece with her crazy aunt Tally.

Stranded on a boring island with no malls, no cell phone reception, and an aunt who talks to her plants, Colby worries that her new friends have forgotten all about her. But when she meets Yannis, a cute Greek local, everything changes. She experiences something deeper and more intense than a summer fling, and it forces her to see herself, and the life she left behind, in a whole new way.

Editorial Reviews

Portrait Magazine

Alyson Noël truly captures what it's like to be a teenager struggling to find herself.
author of Wuthering High Cara Lockwood

Noël writes a smart and compelling story about life, love and loss that you won't be able to put down.

Noël writes with a bit more humor and authenticity than some of her contemporaries.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Seventeen-year-old Colby Cavendish's plans are tossed overboard when her parents decide she should spend the summer with her aunt on a remote Greek island. They are jeopardizing her hard-won spot as ultracool Amanda's "new best friend," and now that she's hooked up with hottie Levi Bonham, how is she supposed to hang on to him? Crazy Aunt Tally, who talks to her plants and sells handmade jewelry, doesn't have a cell phone, TV, or Internet access. Colby's feelings and experiences are relayed through clever, but sometimes typographically confusing, emails, journal entries, letters, postcards, and a "Cruel Summer" blog. (The island has an Internet café.) The story is one of understandable teen frustration and resentment: adults don't make sense to her, and she's insecure about her new social status. She's far away from the usual connections, electronic and otherwise, that she and many comfortably middle-class, modern American teens rely on. An islander, Yannis, complicates her feelings for Levi, and Colby finds herself becoming involved, against her will, in the rhythms and lifestyle of this charming, remote place. The protagonist's venting and observations are alternately whiny, wistful, strident, and hilarious. Despite typical teen self-obsession, Colby is likable and ultimately well intentioned. As she deals with her feelings, she blunders her way rather charmingly into a new maturity.-Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.12(h) x 0.66(d)
1180L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt



Alyson Noël

June 13

Dear Aunt Tally,

When I asked my mom for your e-mail address, she just laughed and told me you didn’t have one. But I know she’s just joking—right?

I mean, it’s not like you have to have a computer or anything, since I’m planning on bringing my laptop anyway, I just need to make sure you have wi-fi, high speed, broadband, or whatever they call it where you live, since it’s really important for me to stay connected, because, well, I just started hanging with this new group of friends and

Anyway, so my mom just walked in and when she saw me writing to you she said, “Don’t waste the postage, Colby. You’ll get there long before that letter does.” But just in case she’s wrong, I’m sending it anyway. And just in case she’s right, well, then I guess there’s nothing more to say.

See you soon.



June 15

Dear Mom and Dad-

Just in case you decide to stop arguing long enough to come look for me, you should know that I’m NOT home. I’m out with my friends, determined to enjoy my LAST NIGHT OF FREEDOM.

Attempting one last stab at having a little FUN before you succeed in TAKING IT ALL AWAY.

But don’t worry. I’m not running away or anything. Mostly because you’re decision to send me away makes running away seem almost redundant.

Besides, I’ve done my best to reason with you and try to put an immediate halt to all that you’ve started, but since I’ve so clearly failed, I will soon surrender, comply with your wishes, and resign myself to the fate you have so randomly chosen for me.

Only not now, later. Because now, I’m just going to try to enjoy myself—while I still can.

Though before I go I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts for you to consider:

It’s not too late!

There’s plenty of time to reconsider!

Everything you’ve done can still be undone!

At least take the time to think about it.


Colby’s Journal For Desperate Times Like Right Now

June 16

I can’t believe I’m actually writing in this journal. I mean, today, (well, technically it would now be yesterday), when my mom gave it to me, I just looked at her and said, “What’s this?”

And she said, “I thought you could use it to write about all of the exciting things that happen to you this summer.”

So then I shook my head, rolled my eyes, and sighed as loud as I could.

Then I tossed it onto my desk, and watched it skid all the way across the top until it fell off the side and tumbled to the ground, as my mom just stood there, still and silent, gazing between the upside down journal and me.

But I just narrowed my eyes and stared right back, wondering if she was going to yell at me, cry, or both.

But in the end she just shook her head and left my room. And the second the door closed behind her, I’m the one who started to cry.

Though not for too long, since I didn’t want my face to be all puffy and red for the goodbye party Amanda was supposed to throw for me. Even though in the end it really wasn’t much of a party since it pretty much consisted of a six-pack of her brother’s beer, a bag of chips, and us.

Well, at least until she made a few calls—

Okay, I was just about to write the rest of the story, but then I decided to stop because it feels really weird to be confessing in this thing. I mean, as much as I’d like to write about EVERYTHING that just happened, (and trust me, there’s PLENTY to write about), because I’m thinking it might really help me to get it all down on paper and maybe even clear my head and put it all back in perspective, the thing is, I can’t help but think—what if someone reads it?

I mean, it’s not like you can password protect a leather bound notebook.

Not to mention how I can STILL hear my parents totally yelling and screaming downstairs, which is not only making it hard to concentrate, but also freaking me out to think what will happen when they come up here to check on me while I sleep, (because that’s what they always do after they’ve exhausted themselves from one of their arguments, and are ready to call it a night and head off to their separate rooms), and maybe even end up peeking at what I’ve written.

And even though I know that probably sounds totally paranoid, in light of how they’ve managed to wreck just about every aspect of my life, I think the breakdown in trust is completely justified.

So, with that in mind, it’s better to just sign off for now and continue this at another time, in another place.

Or not.

June 16

Text Message:

To: Amanda

Message: This is the last txt msg Ull get from me bcuz IM packed N ready N lvg 4 LAX v soon so I wanna say bye N also 2 say last nite was soooo fun but it also makes lvg that much harder I still cant believe my rents R doing this 2 me O well Plz say bye 2 Levi 4 me N plz give him my email cuz I 4got 2

K, ttfn, Colby

June 16

Dear Mom and Dad,

I really hope that by the time you return from dropping me off at the airport you will find this letter and realize what a big mistake you’ve made.

Because this is NOT fair!

It feels like I’M the one being punished because YOU GUYS decided to get a divorce—a divorce that, as you know, not only am I completely against, but that I definitely don’t agree with. And yet, here I am, being banished from everything I know and love, and it just doesn’t make any sense.

It’s not like I’m the one causing trouble. It’s not like I’m the one yelling and screaming and fighting all the time. Because that would be YOU! And yet, somehow, the plane ticket is still in my name.

I mean, did you ever stop to consider that maybe the WRONG PERSON is being sent to Aunt Tally’s? Did you ever stop and think that maybe one of YOU should go cool off on a Greek Island for a couple months, so I can just stay home and enjoy my summer in peace?

Apparently not.

I hope that by the time you finish this letter you will have come to your senses, stop fighting, see the error of your ways, and bring me back home immediately.

It’s as simple as calling the airport and having me paged.

I will be listening for my name.

And even though it’s probably not necessary to say, I want to assure you that should you choose to reverse your decision, I hereby do solemnly swear, to never mention this little digression again. I will just tuck it away in the file of- Things We’d All Rather Forget.

But if not . . .then I’m afraid I can’t be held responsible for my actions.

Please take the time to reconsider. And remember, it’s never too late to correct a mistake.


Your sad, lonely, and already completely homesick daughter—


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Cruel Summer 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Teen girls will love CRUEL SUMMER by Alyson Noel. The story is told using letters home, the journal her mother gave her, "Colby's Journal For Desperate Times...," and her new blog. The range of emotions, devastating lows to breathtaking highs, and the intense feeling that everything affects her is so authentic. The reader will relate to her habit of over-thinking every comment, gesture, or word of an email, and the insecurity she feels around Yannis. I loved this book and totally devoured it. For this reason, I give it five stars!
cantlivewithoutbooks More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was good, but a bit hard to get into at first. It's written all in diary entries, e- mails, and letters. Again, I would recommend it to my friends because it has a good message, but otherwise it was so-so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dissapointed in Cruel Summer. On the Nook it is only 125 pages and it is $9.99. I had a lot of trouble connecting with Colby, the main character, yet both of us are the same age and have been through many of the same things. The first fifty pages or so are dedicated to her compaining about her life rather than an actual plot or depth to the story. However, it is a cute and short read and is written in blog entries and letters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in like three hours and I loved it. Alyson Noel is my favorite author and I was hooked after I read her Immortals series. I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It captured my interesst from the very first word i read. It was just such a wonderful book. Yannis an Colby where my favorite characters, Yannis especially. I just wish i could have a boyfriend like him! Reading this book made me want to go to Tinos and experience it all for myself!
sosieee More than 1 year ago
I read this book in about a day and half. Sometimes it didn't really hold my attention, but it did have some twists and turns that made it interesting. I like how the whole book was in emails, letters, and journal entries, but sometimes the main charachter was annoying. This is definitely a book for a teenage girl who is looking for a quick read that doesn't require much thinking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a sweet story and its really good for young adults.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cruel summer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So i read the immortal series and i loved all the books. I thought maybe she was making that series too long but besides that they were amazing! So why not give a teen book a try? The cover caught my eye and decided to try it! "Dont judge a book by its cover" ... i truly hated this book. I forced myself into finishing it because i hate leaving books unfinished. I hated the fact that it was mostly written as a blog. After i finished i was so GLAD! I returned the book to the library that same day! Im glad i didnt buy it! It would have been a waste of money!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In all honesty this book was incredibly painful to read.  Alyson Noel tried WAY too hard to capture the stereotypical teenage girl and instead of making Colby come off as an average teenager she made her seem extremely self-absorbed and ignorant.  Basically if you want to read a story about a spoiled brat who constantly complains about her "oh-so-difficult" life, then feel free to read this book.  Also, as a 17 year old girl i can say that not all teenage girls are this whiny and do not complain that much.  It's this kind of literature that makes people look down on teenagers and see them for something that they're not.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For $9.99 I expect a book that is more than 125 pages.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THis is the best book ever written!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really didn't like how the main character Colby was constantly complaining through almost the entire book. On top of that, the plot felt choppy and didn't go into much depth because it was written like a journal and letters to her parents. Colby and I are pretty close in age but I couldn't help but feel disconnected from her.
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l0lhi More than 1 year ago
I thought this was an awesome book. I read it fast. It was cute, teen girls will defiantly love this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book deserves two thumbs up! From start to finish i was drawn in and continuosly intrigued with the constant change of events! The setting was picture perfect and characters well developed! Lastly, the format was my favorite part. Constant letters, emails and journal entries! Fun, exciting read! Definitely worth the money!!!
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