Book Review: The Season of You & Me

The Season of You & Me
Published By: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I love Robin Constantine's work, but I was slightly hesitant about this one due to the male main character. Bryan is in a wheelchair after an accident that left him paralyzed. As someone who is married to a man in a wheelchair, I have high standards for how paralyzed characters should be written. I wanted Bryan's experiences and behaviors to be realistic and not used as ploy to make this book stand out among other YA romances. I haven't read a ton of YA novels where one of the main characters has a physical disability so I was nervous, but Constantine has done Bryan justice and presented him a realistic way that brings him to life and doesn't tie him to his disability. Bryan is not a cause or someone to feel sorry for, but rather, he is someone who is learning to live differently and is seeking people who can support him in that endeavor.

The main female character, Cass, is spending the summer learning how to live differently as well, but her issue lies with her heart and mind. Her boyfriend cheated on her and left her broken. She decides she can't spend the summer at home with her mom and grandmother for fear she will run into the dreaded ex. Instead, she packs her bags for the beach to stay with her father, stepmother, and half brother at their bed and breakfast. To keep herself occupied, she will be working at a day camp which is where her path crosses with Bryan's. The pair form an instant friendship and begin to spend a lot of time together. I liked that Cass didn't view Bryan's disability as something she should pity. 

As one can predict, the summer friendship blossoms into something more. The relationship is not without problems, but I felt like it was realistic. I enjoyed watching Bryan and Cass navigate the waters of their relationship. I was rooting for them the entire time. In the end, I liked this one because it wasn't a traditional pairing.

Romance aside, I also liked that this novel focuses heavily on friendship and family. Cass meets lots of new people at her job and forms bonds with them. She compares these new bonds to those of her friends back home. In addition, I loved the relationship between Cass and her little brother, Hunter. The scenes when Hunter was present always made me smile or get the warm fuzzies. I also loved Bryan's interactions with Hunter.

All in all, this is a perfect summer read. I can just imagine sinking my toes into the sand, feeling the ocean breeze, and losing myself all over again in Cass and Bryan's story. The Season of You & Me is my favorite Constantine novel to date.

I would caution that this novel may not be appropriate for younger teens as it contains profanity, teen drinking and drug use, and innuendo. 

One Last Gripe: I wanted to see more interaction between Bryan and his brother.

Favorite Thing About This Book: The emphasis on friendship

First Sentence: My Nana had a saying - "Wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which one gets filled faster."

Favorite Character: Bryan

Least Favorite Character: Gavin

Cassidy Emmerich is determined to make this summer—the last before her boyfriend heads off to college—unforgettable. What she doesn’t count on is her boyfriend breaking up with her. Now, instead of being poolside with him, Cass is over a hundred miles away, spending the summer with her estranged father and his family at their bed-and-breakfast at the Jersey Shore and working as the newest counselor at Camp Manatee. 

Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with your date at prom. One miscalculated step and Bryan’s life changed forever—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. This is the first summer he’s back at his former position at Camp Manatee and ready to reclaim some of his independence, in spite of those who question if he’s up for the job. 

Cass is expecting two months dealing with heartbreak.
Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.
Neither of them is expecting to fall in love.