Series: Campfire #1
Author: Beth Merlin
Pages: 244 (Kindle)
Publisher: Ink Monster
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Source: For Review
Since that first bus ride to Camp Chinooka twenty long years ago, Gigi Goldstein has been pining for her best friend’s guy. She knows her crush is wrong and has to stop, but her heart won’t listen to reason. To escape the agony of their impending wedding, Gigi accepts a summer job at the only place she’s ever been happy.
But working at Chinooka isn’t all campfire songs and toasting marshmallows. Gigi’s girls are determined to make her look bad in front of the boys’ Head Counselor—the sexy but infuriating Perry—and every inch of the campground is laced with memories.
When Gigi realizes she can’t fix the present by hiding in the past, she’s forced to reexamine her choices. Maybe everything she thought she wanted wasn’t what she actually needed... But if she can get her act together, Gigi might have one last shot at the summer love of her dreams.
One S’more Summer wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it and read it in one afternoon. Gigi’s life is a bit of a mess. She was recently fired, and her parents are pressuring her to attend law school. She’s in love with one of her best friends who happens to be her other best friend’s fiance. Gigi thought she’d have at least a year to get use to the idea of Joshua and Alicia getting married, but the wedding is scheduled to happen before the end of the summer. Gigi knows she can’t watch the two people she loves most tie the knot, so she signs on as a counselor at the camp where the three of them met.
I liked how One S’more Summer was more about Gigi getting her life and her emotions in order rather than being a romance. There is a summer romance between Gigi and one of the foreign counselors, Perry, but it’s not the focus. Gigi just doesn’t know what to do with her life and the situations being thrown at her. She knows it’s wrong to want Joshua to be with her instead, but you can’t control who you fall in love with. She thinks getting away from it all will help her sort through her problems, but really she’s surrounded by memories. And honestly, I was convinced that this is all Joshua’s fault. He’s selfish for stringing Gigi along. Yes, Gigi should be honest with Alicia, but so should he. He’s the one getting married!
The one thing that kept me from fully enjoying One S’more Summer was time. Time passes in a weird way. The narrative alternates between Gigi’s current stay at the camp and the months that she spent with Joshua. That’s all well and good, except that the past chapters aren’t always in order, so I was confused a lot about the series of events. It’s important to know when things happened, because Gigi and Joshua come close to sneaking around behind Alicia’s back. I wish it was clearer exactly when things happened. Then in the current chapters, there’s many references to “in a few weeks” and “it’s been a few weeks.” Camp is only eight weeks long, how many “few weeks” could pass?!
One S’more Summer also has an open ending, which is why I’d consider this more Realistic Fiction or Chick Lit rather than Contemporary Romance. Gigi and Perry have an enemies to lovers kind of dynamic going, and it was fun seeing the rivalry between the boys and girls cabins. But the ending doesn’t have them together. It really is about Gigi realizing what she wants to do with her life and fixing or not fixing things with her best friend. However, after reading the blurb for the next book, I’m curious about what did come next since there seems to be quite the time jump between books.