Review: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How My Summer Went Up in FlamesHow My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Page Count: 320
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: eARC from publisher for review

Synopsis From Goodreads:

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

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I'm a little bit in love with the cover, the synopsis sounds really awesome, and it's a summertime road trip book. Yes, How My Summer Went Up in Flames was a highly anticipated read for me, but sadly, it turned out to be less than what I expected. While I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, it's still a great contemporary YA novel with really good writing. Definitely worth reading just for the secondary characters and the road trip aspect.

Rosie is served with a temporary restraining order after accidentally setting her ex-boyfriend's car on fire. After being served with the TRO, she again does something stupid and immature, and her parents get fed up with her antics. They decide to send her away with their neighbor, Matty, who is the cute neighbor boy. Even though he is younger than Rosie, he is mature and responsible, so her parents feel comfortable putting Matty in charge of Rosie. Matty and Rosie go on a road trip with Matty's friend, Spencer, driving Spencer's older brother, Logan, to college.

Rosie was very impulsive and did a lot of things that I didn't agree with. I tried to sympathize with her because I realize that she was heartbroke after breaking up with her first boyfriend. I liked her personality, so I thought I would give her a second chance. However, I was so frustrated by her behavior throughout the book that I ended up not really liking her at all. Rosie is so self-centered and focused only on what she wants that she ends up hurting those around her. She did gain a bit of awareness by the end, but it was too little, too late for my opinion of her to change. Another huge negative about Rosie - she wants all of the boys to like her. Not just the 3 boys on the road trip with her, but also a cute cowboy she meets along the way. This annoyed me and it made Rosie look so shallow and boy crazy because she supposedly still wanted her ex back.

Matty, Spencer, and Logan were wonderful and very entertaining. Even though they had some things in common, they each had unique personalities, and I ended up liking all 3 of them. I thought Logan was very charming. I loved Spencer's personality and how he was always able to say the right thing at the right time. Matty was super cute and such a nice guy, especially to Rosie (even when she didn't deserve it). For the most part, I enjoyed their interactions with Rosie, and I liked they tried to help Rosie realize that breaking up with her ex wasn't exactly a bad thing.

Overall I thought it was a great summertime story and a really good road trip book. The writing is terrific, and it has a very good pace. I thought the story was very entertaining, and it was quick and easy book to read. Even though I didn't like the protagonist, I liked the story enough to keep reading and find out what happened with Rosie's ex and the charges against her. The turnaround at the end was a little bit too easy, but I thought the way things ended up was fitting. I was prepared to really love this book, but in the end it was just okay. I am still looking forward to reading the author's next book, Famous Last Words, due out this summer.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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  1. I've heard such great things about it so it's sad that it didn't quite live up to your expectations! I completely understand about trying and failing at sympathizing with a main character. I have a hard time with that as well with some characters. Great review, I'll be reading with caution :)

  2. I just LOVED this book so much. It's a bummer that it didn't work for you in every way. I think when you are in that close of a space with three dudes, sparks are bound to fly, even if they aren't romantic ones. I didn't think she had romantic feelings for all of them, but who knows? This was a great review!

  3. Many people said this book it a must read, so I also had it no my TBR.

    Thanks though, for mentioning the main character's not-too-likable personality, so that I won't had a way too high hope for it anymore :)

    Neysa Kristanti

  4. I have this on my soon to read TBR too.
    I try not to hype a book up anymore in my mind. Its hard not to though. I have loved books in my head and then read them and was like "oh no!" lolz. So now I try not to get too excited when I get a new title thats really hot. It doesnt work very often. I love books and all their possibilities too much.

  5. Sandra it may have been because you had such high expectations for this book? I find that when I'm really looking forward to a book, more often than not it doesn't live up to it's expectations :(

    I didn't think that any road trip book could be bad LOL


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