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In Summer

In Summer

4.0 4
by Jeremy Jackson

Summertime. If you close your eyes you can feel the warm sun on your skin, hear the leaves rustling in the breeze, smell the freshly mown lawn just up the street. Summer is a lush territory. Summer is a realm of its own. And summer can encompass you in a way no other season can. It can swallow you up.

The summer after high school is a time of change for Leo Peery


Summertime. If you close your eyes you can feel the warm sun on your skin, hear the leaves rustling in the breeze, smell the freshly mown lawn just up the street. Summer is a lush territory. Summer is a realm of its own. And summer can encompass you in a way no other season can. It can swallow you up.

The summer after high school is a time of change for Leo Peery. Upon learning the stunning truth behind why his mother has been acting so distant, Leo throws himself into complex relationships, confused as to whether he hopes to find himself or lose himself amid the complications. With the helpful distractions of bicycle accidents, regretful ex-girlfriends, diving accidents, and the tragic death of a jeep, Leo hopes to forget his troubles. Caught between childhood and adulthood, he will learn before fall the consequences of his actions, and the importance of being honest with himself and the people in his life.

A lush and lyrical trip through the exuberance that is the last summer before responsibility, In Summer tells the story of boundaries we have all crossed. With deceptively effortless writing centering the reader directly in Leo's experiences, Jeremy Jackson creates enormous emotional impact. The joys of summer are simple and satisfying; the sorrows are striking and large. Jackson, author of the critically acclaimed novel Life at These Speeds, has written a stunning tale of personal transformation that manages to simultaneously portray the beauties and brutalities of life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like Life at These Speeds, his well-received debut, Jackson's second novel takes a close look at a young man's coming-of-age. Narrator Leo Perry is an innocent and sensitive boy fumbling toward adulthood in the summer between high school and college. A lifeguard at the town swimming pool and son of a widowed physician, happy-go-lucky, late-blooming Leo pedals around town on a self-assembled racing bike and sometimes visits his cousins in the bucolic town where his deceased father grew up, where he fishes, makes eyes at a libidinous teen named Freeda and sleeps under the stars. With his mother off on a hard-earned vacation, Leo has the keys to her 1984 mint-condition Supra sports coupe, which he has been charged with selling. But, rifling through her papers one day, Leo discovers that his mother has cancer; "What could I do to help her? If she didn't even tell me, what could I do?" he wonders. But he doesn't dwell on it much, instead flinging himself into life. At times affecting, but mostly a patchwork of anecdotes, this novel reveals Leo's desires for love and connection (he beds classmate Jenny, but develops real feelings for her friend, E.B.) as well as his pleasant and eternal passivity. A procession of minor ailments and accidents stand for youth's attendant emotional growing pains, but readers may not find these or any of the other vignettes, sweet or sad add up to a fully satisfying portrait of a vital summer. Agent, David Dutton. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A lackadaisical recounting of a midwestern boy's summer between high school and college-and a letdown after the endearing exuberance of Jackson's earlier Life at These Speeds (2002). Leo whiles away his summer after graduation working as a lifeguard at the local pool and visiting his deceased father's family, particularly his cousins, in a farm community two hours away from his unnamed hometown that could be "Anywhere in the midwest," as his sort-of-girlfriend Jenny says at one point. It's an anywhere with very little adolescent angst or rebellion. Leo and his peers are remarkably nice kids who ride bikes, work on cars, go fishing, and show respect for their elders. Yes, there is sex-Leo sleeps with Jenny once, a cowgirl neighbor of his cousins once, and finally the girl-next-door-though in each case he's a reluctant suitor, so gallant the reader almost forgets he's a two-timer. With disarming passivity, Leo glides through his romantic entanglements and other minor scrapes that mainly involve small physical accidents. When he stumbles upon the knowledge that his mother, a doctor with whom he gets along lovingly, has cancer, he doesn't ask her about (and she avoids bringing up) her illness, yet the ensuing tension is set on too low a simmer to get the plot boiling. The story is enlivened only when Leo visits the farm cousins, and then mainly because nine-year-old Grace, with her childlike insights and demands for attention, is ultimately a more fully realized character than any of Leo's adolescent peers, who remain generic TV sitcom teens. Also, Jackson's straightforward prose is too stripped down. Without details to ground them, his characters remain vague. When, at the close, Leo deferscollege for a year to stay with his mother, the fact that the college remains unnamed and the seriousness of his mother's condition unclear mute the impact. Good-natured but unassuming to a fault. Agent: David Dunton/Harvey Klinger

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.68(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.08(d)

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Meet the Author

Raised on a cattle farm in the Ozark borderlands of Missouri, Jeremy Jackson is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, where he was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. He won a James A. Michener/ Copernicus Society of America Fellowship in 2000, and has written under the eye of Frank Conroy. The Cornbread Book and Desserts That Have Killed Better Men Than Me are published by William Morrow, and his previous novel was the critically acclaimed Life at These Speeds.

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In Summer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
eak321 More than 1 year ago
In the first few chapters of IN SUMMER, so many characters are introduced that we don't get to know much about any of them, including the main character, Leo. We get lost and we don't care about any of them. The characters are very generic and, because there are so many, we don't get to know any one of them all that well. That's not a very good way to draw in a reader. Leo's character is strongest when paired against his little cousin, Gracie, and only she seems to draw out any personality from him. It's too bad they're not paired more often throughout the book. The dialogue between them is great, but the rest of the descriptions and characterizations fall flat. Instead of character development and personalization, what the author does gives us is every little detail of action as it occurs. Unfortunately, it's all action that we, the readers, don't need to know and don't care about. It reminded me of someone who likes to talk on the phone for hours and give you every little detail of their day. For example: "He did this and then he did this and then he did this and then..." UGH. Stop already. Please. I have to admit that I stopped reading IN SUMMER after 100 pages. I couldn't take it anymore. A friend once told me, "Life is too short to read bad books." In the first 100 pages of the 300-page book, here's what I learned: The main character's name was Leo. Later, Leo Peery. I learned that he just graduated high school and that it was summer. Summertime. Summertime. Leo is a lifeguard at a pool and he has lots of random friends and girlfriends and likes to fish and gets injured a few times and his mom is a nurse and she is going to Europe and she wants him to sell her antique sports car for her while she is gone so he can use the money to buy himself a new car for college. Oh, and that the author LOVES writing run-on sentences using the word "and" a lot. That was it. There's no plot focus. There's nothing moving the story forward. In 100 pages, that was all I knew about the story and its characters. Was it enough to make me want to go on? Anxious to find out what was going to happen to them next? No. A big fat resounding NO. Sadly, I still didn't really know any of these characters yet and found my will to continue diminished. If, after 100 pages, I didn't know about or care about the characters, why should I continue reading? This is not how I want MY summer to be remembered.
Roofy More than 1 year ago
This by far is one of the best books I have ever read. In the book, Jackson's main character is lost between adolescences and adulthood in the summer between high school and college. Within the constraints of those 3 months Jackson's main character, Leo Perry, struggles through failing relationships, a secret his mother is hiding from him, who his father really was, and who he will become. Jackson's descriptions in the book makes you feel like you are there, and his writing style seems to romanticize summer and peer into what changes happen in that last summer between boyhood and adulthood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An absorbing story with a main character who is real and likeable. Beautiful in its simplicity. I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved the style of writing. You are instantly drawn to Leo's character and are envious of his simplicity and innocence. I loved it and and can't wait for Jackson to come out with more.