The Summer My Life Began

The Summer My Life Began

4.2 15
by Shannon Greenland

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A great summer beach read filled with sunshine, cooking, and--of course--romance!

Elizabeth Margaret--better known as Em--has always known what her life would contain: an internship at her father's firm, a degree from Harvard, and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is, it's not what she wants. So when she gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month…  See more details below


A great summer beach read filled with sunshine, cooking, and--of course--romance!

Elizabeth Margaret--better known as Em--has always known what her life would contain: an internship at her father's firm, a degree from Harvard, and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is, it's not what she wants. So when she gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em learns that her family has some pretty significant secrets. And then there's Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can't resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels that for the first time ever, she is really living life on her own terms.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
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Penguin Group
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File size:
718 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

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The Summer My Life Began 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
DanicaPage More than 1 year ago
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: First off, I'd like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an e-galley to review in exchange for my honest opinion of the book. I read this one without knowing much about it other than it looked like it would be a fun summer book. After reading it, I realized that this is a book that people either seem to hate, love, or are absolutely apathetic about. I for one actually really liked this book. I'm not quite sure what made me like it so much...I guess it was just the novel as a whole. This novel was your typical summer chick-lit read; however, it was so much more. I don't know why, but from the very first page I was drawn into this story. I for one really liked Shannon's writing a lot. Her writing read very smoothly and just drew me into the story. I also really liked the character Em. I know a few people who thought the characters were flat, but I actually really liked the characters of Em, Gwynny, and of course Cade. The characters didn't seem flat to me and I liked how they grew in the novel. Even though I predicted a lot of what happened in this novel, it was still really enjoyable. In Summary: A cute, lighthearted, summery read that I absolutely adored. Shannon Greenland's novel was definitely one I'm glad I read. Warnings/Side-notes: I actually thought this novel was very clean. The Wrap-up: This novel was one that I actually had pretty low expectations for and this novel definitely exceeded those expectations. I loved reading this one and am definitely interested in reading more by this author. Love, Danica Page
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this clever, heartwarming novel, Greenland spins a tale of the "perfect" daughter that decides she is finished being the girl her parents want her to be and instead will be who she wants to be. The absolute perfect summer beach read.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
I read this one in a single sitting--the bus ride coming home from a class trip. It was a cute, light read with likeable characters--perfect for summer. I liked Em and sympathized with her dilemmas (though, honestly--how many people really have to struggle with the two-guys-want-to-go-out-with-me issue? Was it just me missing out?) and was definitely pulling for her to get her happy ending...however, when it came, it almost seemed a bit too perfect. Still, though, this was a fun book that didn't require too much brain power to get through. Exactly what I needed after a hard weekend of chaperoning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
The island setting and cute summer romance make this book the perfect beach read. A novel about learning to accept who you are and taking a stand for yourself, The Summer My Life Began tells the story of Elizabeth Margaret, a girl who seems to live the perfect life. She comes from an affluent family, she knows her future, and she is Harvard bound. However, Em feels that something is missing, and it's obvious to the reader. She has the perfect life, but she has no real life. She doesn't enjoy what she does, and she has to hide her cooking hobby from her family. Em's life begins when she receives an invitation from an aunt she never knew she had to join said aunt at her island resort. There, Em explores summer romance and her innate cooking talent, and she learns the truth behind Aunt Tilly's estrangement from her family. As I mentioned before, this is a cute summer read. Nothing really stood out to me. It's the typical chick flick and seems targeted towards a younger audience, as the novel is short and the lack of complex plot twists. Note that while a party with alcohol is mentioned, Em and Gwenny's father warns them away from such dangerous behavior, and they listen to him. Overall, I enjoyed this read, and I was definitely rooting for Cade--my favorite character besides Em's awesome Aunt Tilly. It's the perfect read for a summer getaway when you don't want to work your brain.
crystalmmccabe More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, not only as a summer read, but as an anytime good book. I liked the characters and felt that they great development. I think Shannon Greenland is a terrific author and this book is definitely worth the investment of money and time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That was the best book ive read in awhile!!! Its a summer must read <3
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
You know your life began when you learn things about yourself. Elizabeth Margret has been brought up to be an impeccable lady with a good up-bringing in society. But she help but feel like something is missing. Like everything for her life has been laid out for her all she has to do is take it. What is holding her back? I 'll tell you that these types of stories are my favorite. To find the missing piece in your life. What I adored most about this book is the great plot. I like that Elizabeth took a chance. She need to find what is missing in her life. That small step forward of visiting a place she has never been before, making new friends, and most importantly, finding out who you really are. Not just what people say you are. Elizabeth is fun and addicting. She is the type of friend that everyone loves to be around. Full of light and smiles, Elizabeth looks at thing differently. I admired her strength to ask questions and find answers. They were not what she thought it was, but it brought truth to her. The love interest played out differently then what I though it would. She meets a new guys but doesn't go after him right away. She came to do what she wanted to find and allows time to find that. She never lost site of her answers cause of partying, boys or denial. She knew what she wanted and went after it. The biggest part I loved is learning the secret that has been kept from her, her entire life. It was only then that things finally made sense. And the steps she took after that, to do what she wanted to do, made me proud. The Summer My Life Began fills the reader with hope and inspiration. Finding the strength to search for long lost answers and redeeming yourself in the end. A perfect beach read to enjoy, The Summer My Life Began is awesome!
ClaireFrith More than 1 year ago
The Summer My Life Began - this title is really befitting for this novel. This story revolves around the life of Elizabeth Margaret, or as her sister calls her, Em. Firstly, who names their daughter Elizabeth Margaret and doesn't use her nickname? Em's parent's and grandmother. Poor girl. She has spent her life, trying to please her parents. Getting good grades, becoming valedictorian, and has even applied to Harvard to study law, like her father did. One day, she receives a card from a mysterious "Aunt Tilly", inviting her to stay with her at her B&B on an island. This triggers Em's small defiance from her parent's and takes her on a journey that changes her life. Suddenly, she is cooking (her secret passion), going on dates and learning to surf, all the while trying to figure out her family's secrets. I loved all the characters that Shannon wrote in this novel. Em, while being strict and forced her whole life, let's herself go, all the while hearing her mother's voice in her head. Her sister, Gwenny, while I didn't quite like the nickname, has so much spark, same as Tilly. Of course, then there is Cade. One of the romantic interests. I have a thing for surfers, and so naturally, I swooned at every scene he was in! I must admit, while the twist was a good one, I saw it almost instantly. However it didn't make reading the novel any less exciting. This novel was refreshing, a simple read, that allows you into the world that Shannon has created. I cheered for Em, wanting her to get away from her parent's influence, to follow her dream and to find romance with the hot surfer boy. This book will give a lot of inspiration to young people out there, that you can follow your dreams, no matter what anyone says.
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks More than 1 year ago
Originally posted on Lovey Dovey Books Shannon Greenland’s contemporary YA novel, The Summer My Life Began, highlights the importance of family and forgiving. With a generous dash of romance and healthy layer of optimism, fans of Sarah Dessen’s novels will enjoy its relaxed pace and emerging lead female. Elizabeth Margaret’s life is all mapped out for her. Her parents plan a summer internship at a law firm then it’s off to Harvard; it’s the only path she believes is available. After a few weeks on a small island in the Outer Banks, North Carolina with her Aunt Tilly, and cousin, Frederick, Em discovers new paths that lead her away from the future set by her ‘status seeking’ parents and grandmother. It’s been a while since I’ve come across such a lighthearted story. The Summer My Life Began has a remarkably homey feel to it. Despite early warning signs that the secrets surrounding Em’s family could be potentially disastrous, I held hope in my heart that there would be a happy ending. I loved reading Em’s exuberance for cooking and the natural wonders of the island. I smiled just as much as she did while in the presence of her newly discovered family and friends. It says much about a young girl when she meets family, that she had no idea existed, and doesn’t get torn up about it. Instead, Em makes the best of the situation and focuses on getting to know them. She is decidedly a strong and admirable character. Em is confident without being arrogant or a braggart. From time to time she needed a boost to actually pursue her true dream of becoming a chef. Fortunately, her younger sister, Gwyneth, encouraged her to keep practicing and Em found a mentor to help hone her skills. Really, everyone on the island that Em interacted with helped her in one way or another, whether it was when she needed a shoulder to cry on or a good old-fashioned tour guide. Shannon Greenland’s emphasis on family sets The Summer My Life Began apart from upcoming YA contemporary novels. The book’s May 2012 release is just in time for it to be a perfect summer read. **eGalley provided by NetGalley on behalf of JKS Communications**
TiffanyReads More than 1 year ago
The Summer My Life Began was a perfect read to get me in the mood for Summer. Elizabeth or Em is our protagonist. I really liked Em from the start. She has her whole life planned out, she's going to be a lawyer so she's going to go to Harvard and then work at her dad's law firm. Secretly though Em loves to cook and would love to become a chef. Realistically though she knows she can't be a chef as she's going to be a lawyer. All that changes though when she gets a letter from her Aunt Tilly inviting her to spend the summer with her at her B&B, the Pepper House. Through Em's stay at the Pepper House she changes so much. She learns about herself and what she really wants and who she really wants to be. She also faces some hard truths but she handles everything that comes her way very well. It was great to watch Em start out as this uptight confined girl and slowly turn into a carefree relaxed girl who learns to enjoy life and to do what makes you happy. Pretty early on in the story Em meets Cade, a boy who works at her aunt's B&B. Cade starts out very mysterious but as the book progresses he and Em grow closer and start to open up to one another. I loved the relationship between Em and Cade, they both supported and helped each other a lot. Em helped Cade face a hardship from his past and Cade helped Em become more free and helped her see that she should do what makes her happy. Their relationship was very sweet and full of understanding and compassion. It was great to watch their relationship unfold at the pace it did, there was definitely no insta-love here, which I really liked. All the people at the Pepper House are a family, they are very warm and welcoming to Em and it was so nice to see her happy and fitting in. I think the close bond the people at the Pepper House had really made the book for me. You could see how much they all cared about each other and they really acted like a family. Aunt Tilly, Cade, Domino, Beth, and Frederick all helped Em in their own ways. They were all very distinct characters and I honestly adored all of them. The Summer My Life Began definitely helped to put me in the mood for Summer and I would definitely say this book would be a great Summer read. While it has it's fun and light-hearted moments it also has it's serious moments too. It focuses on some hard issues and there were quite a few twists in the story that definitely took me by surprise. The setting was another thing I really loved, it was so well described and I just really fell in love with the whole laid back calm island feeling. This book definitely has it all though, a Summer feel, a cute romance, family bonds, and a few serious aspects thrown in. All together a great mix that makes for the perfect Summer read. Final Verdict: Overall The Summer My Life Began is the perfect Summer read! I definitely recommend this book to everyone, especially those that like contemporaries. *This review is also posted on my blog and my other social media profiles.
-essence More than 1 year ago
Summer is coming, there's no doubt about it, and you should wait for it with The Summer My Life Began in your hands! Well, to be honest, I don't think I can objectively review this certain book, since books about summer (and summer romance for that matter) always had a very special place in my heart. It might be just because I always wanted to have one perfect summer - when I would come to senses, live full throttle and give a damn about anyone or anything. One summer that would be an amazing trip to finding myself. I would make mistakes, learn new things and oh well, you know, perhaps fell in love with a hot local boy. Elizabeth Margaret beat me to it, she got all that and many more! If you're parents expect A LOT from you or if you feel like you must strive for perfection all the time, be polite, smile at the right moments, do the things people expect you too... then you know how Em feels. And she puts up with it all, she smiles and does all the good things, because she doesn't want to disappoint her parents. But then a letter comes in mail and an aunt she didn't know she had invites her to her beach house. Now why no one told her she has an aunt? And a cousin? And why is everyone acting so nervous and even more uptight than usual, when she announces she'll accept the invitation and spend a month at her aunt's B&B. That is how Em's incredible journey begins, adventure from the very first moment on. She finally has a chance to be herself and come out of her shell. Her aunt is an amazing person - warm, open and someone who always makes you smile. She meets Cade who is nothing alike her, he knows what he wants and goes for it, he doesn't care much about limitations but lives life to its fullest. Ding dang dong, of course she fells for him! And it's a good thing, because he starts to bring out the best of her and make her realize that only she has power to pursue her dreams and fight for them. I liked the writing style, since it was very simple yet it didn't get boring. The storyline might be something we've all read before, but here it doesn't really matter. I enjoyed every single page and when the end was coming near, I was like: ''hm, this is too good to be true, what will happen?'' And yes, I expected the right thing, there's a major twist in the storyline and I have to admit I didn't see it coming. Em is a very interesting characters, despite her being the typical living-by-her-parents-rules. She is in fact a very passionate person and I always like to see characters develop through the story and that's what Em did - and had a perfect summer, for which I'm completely jealous of her. A great summer read!
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS This book is full of charm,family problems,romance and food. Elizabeth Margaret had just graduated from school as valedictorian Plans have been made for her to intern at her father's law practice. Go to Harvard in the fall. One graduation card is from her Aunt Tilly who lives in the Outer Banks, North Carolina offering to have her come and stay with her. Elizabeth & her sister Gwyneth had no idea they even had an Aunt or who's sister she must be. Elizabeth really wanted to go have a break and some fun but did not want to let her father down, so asked her parents if she could go for a month. Elizabeth found out she had a cousin Frederick 15 and her Aunt Tilly was a lot more laid back than her mom and grandmother. She was allowed to help with the cooking at the bed and breakfast. At home she was caught helping to cook at age 10 and was not allowed but she did when she could get away with it. They started to call her Em the nickname that only her little sister called her. Thier were two boys that she liked their and was really feeling at home and comfortable with her new relatives but still had no idea why they had not known about her Aunt and cousin. Em changes when she is allowed the freedom to do what she wants to do. like cook buy her own style of clothes. I figured out what the secret was early but thier are other things that I did not guess correctly. I was given this ebook to read in exchange of my honest review by Netgalley. 05/10/2012 PUB Penguin Publishing
jbarr5 More than 1 year ago
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland A few things struck my interest: an island, word summer and sky is blue. Just two things I like to get out of every book I read: learn something new and to be taken away to a new place. This book has that and much more. Her whole life was planned out for her, as were her other brothers and sisters lives. College, law school and then the family law firm. Just before graduation she had gotten a note that Aunt Tilly wanted her to spend the summer with her at the Outer Banks in NC. The island with the bed and breakfast is in the outer banks, loved hearing of the wild ponies when Nicholas Sparks wrote about it. They never talked about Aunt Matilda but they agreed to let her go for one month and then she could come back and work a month as an intern. She and her sister were planning on what she could do there, cooking was a high priority and a summer romance. She loved to cook but her mother when caught, would scold her and tell her she's never to cook, always to be served. She hopes to be able to cook this summer and meets a challenge when she can pick out what spices were in the fish the first night she was on the island. When she arrived some bad things happened and some good things. It was not at all like she expected and there were other family secrets as well. Why had no one even talked about the secrets so deeply hidden.... Love detailed descriptions of all the lush vegetation on the island. Wow and to learn about surfing, never knew about a guard before. And I love the indepth secret of the family, as more is revealed and more is hidden. Love combinations of foods and spices, gives me an idea of what to use in my own homemade muffins. I did laugh out loud when she answered the phone thinking it was her sister and it was her mother and she told her where she was. I never laugh out loud, it was SO unexpected. Glassblowing, love to watch the artist do this craft in person, such a treasure to hear the objects being described. Love the ending and wish there was another book as in a series, the next part...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book best one