Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner is a must summer (or lockdown) read
I’ve been excitedly waiting to read Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner for months! I just love Jennifer Weiner. All of the Weiner books I’ve read are about women becoming their own heroes and living their best life. This one is not different, but I have to warn you this book was not the book I thought it was.
I’m now going to walk a fine line, trying to describe my emotional journey through this book without spoiling it for potential readers.
Let’s talk about our heroine, Daphne
Daphne and Drue were friends for years, starting their “bestieship” in grade school. Drue was the thin, beautiful, and rich mean girl, while Daphne was the chubby, kindhearted, and loving sidekick. Through Daphne’s flashbacks, we learn about how their friendship developed and how it ended after an awful and emotional night at a club.
Years after the fight, Daphne is now a popular Instagram influencer, promoting acceptance and self-love. Drue has continued struggling with personal relationships and regrets the actions that led to the demise of their friendship, and ultimately led her to not have any close friends as part of her wedding party.
Drue reaches out to Daphne and asks her to be her maid of honor. With much hesitation, Daphne agrees to Drue’s request, and they rather quickly resume their friendship.
Even though Drue still causes Daphne many negative emotions, bringing even more to the surface her feelings of self-doubt and struggles with self-love, Drue no longer seems like the bully she used to be. Daphne enjoys having her old BFF’s best qualities back in her life.
Their renewed friendship seems to be working for both of them, but you get the feeling that we’re all just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The backdrop for the shoe dropping is a glamorous affair in Cape Cod
Something happens during this million-dollar wedding celebration that makes Daphne go Agatha Christie on us. Simultaneously, I’m enthralled and disappointed with the book. I don’t know how to explain it. And I really can’t without spoiling it for you.
The bottom line is that about halfway into this book, you start a new one. This new storyline has all the elements of a Jennifer Weiner book—personal growth, acceptance, and empowerment—but in the most random circumstances.
The first half of the book felt familiar, nostalgic, and inspiring, but it also bordered on cliched. Then the second half is surprising, clever, and exciting. It’s everything you want in a summer read—including some steamy encounters— but it’s too darn short!
I wish Weiner had spent a little more time priming me for the big reveal. I needed the unraveling of this mystery we encounter to be a bit more believable. I think spending little less time on the background (first half) and more time on the mystery (second half) would’ve benefited the story. Nevertheless, I 100% enjoyed the read.
You’ll never regret reading a Jennifer Weiner book
Jennifer Weiner doesn’t just narrate a story, she paints you an incredibly lively and detailed picture. You are there with the Daphne and Drue in Cape Cod at the lavish parties. You are actually seeing the photo from that fun moment the friends had at the beach. You even feel the jitters from that passionate kiss with a mysterious man.
I wrote and rewrote this review multiple times, trying to get you excited about reading this book without spoiling it while also trying to be fair about its shortcomings. If you are a Jennifer Weiner fan, I’m sure you’ll enjoy meeting Daphne and Drue and being part of the wild ride that is their friendship. It’s a perfect lockdown read.