Book Review: Two Friends, One Summer by Kate Le Vann

Two Friends, One Summer is a contemporary YA novel by Kate Le Vann. It was published by Piccadilly Press on 31st July 2009 and the book is 176 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Best friends, Samantha and Rachel are spending the summer living out a dream. They’re both staying with different families for the summer in France and couldn’t be more excited about doing something like this together. These two girls have been used to doing everything together for the longest time and couldn’t bare to be so far apart for such a long time.

On arrival in France though, the girls realise that the families that they will be staying with are very different. Rachel gets to stay with a wealthy and classy family while Samantha is stuck in the middle of no where in a house where the toilet overflows every time someone uses it. Samantha soon realises that her and Rachel’s roles have now been reversed and Sam is no longer the loud and outgoing one who gets all of the attention. A summer in France threatens to ruin a friendship that has taken a whole life to build but can the girls see past their problems?

What I thought
Two Friends, One Summer is another of the books that I read which was set in France although not Paris this time around. The descriptions in this though, compared to the others I read were not nearly as good unfortunately. Samantha is living pretty much in the middle of no where in a run down house but I think a bit more time could have been spent on describing just how bad the situation was. Also, the towns that the girls visit did not give me a clear image in my mind of the places they were walking or what they were seeing so the magic of a new destination was missing in this book.

I really enjoyed the friendship between Samantha and Rachel. It was obvious from the start that these two girls had been through a lot together over the years and had each others’ backs when it was needed. As the synopsis says, these girls go through some problems when they are in France in the way that the dynamic of their friendship works. Samantha is the more outgoing girl while Rachel is quieter are more reserved. Their roles are quickly reversed once they move in with their host families as the teenage girls they have to live with are the opposites of each other and this has a huge impact on their time in France.

There is quite a lot of drama in this book and that was something I loved about it. Not only is there conflict and tension between Samantha and Rachel but also between the girls and their new friends, between them and boys and the families they are living with. Considering this is such a short book, there sure is a lot going on all of the time. This kept the plot interesting and entertaining and Le Vann doesn’t give the reader any chance at all to be bored with what is going on. However, I think some of this could have been drawn out more or spaced out a little better as sometimes, there was too much happening.

The romance was what really let this book down. While it showed a lot of promise, the book just wasn't long enough for me to really believe in any of it. The characters aren't given enough page space to really get to know each other or for that build up to happen which is something I really like in a book. It kind of felt like the characters were just thrown together for the hell of it at times instead of there being true romance happening. I wish that the romance had been better in this book as it would have made it go from OK to great for me.

While Two Friends, One Summer wasn't the perfect summer read for me, it was still entertaining and different and it does have good points about it as well as the bad.

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