When I saw that Annabel Monaghan had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it. I adored Nora Goes Off Script.
Monaghan’s new novel, Same Time Next Summer, tells the story of Sam and her first love, Wyatt. After their devastating breakup, Sam tried to build a life that would protect her from ever feeling that desperate and lost again. She’s avoided the summer home where the two fell in love and found a stable relationship with a man who lives by the rules. Then, her parents convince them to come check out a potential wedding venue, and Sam finds herself colliding with the person she used to be… and the man she used to love.
I fully admit that this kind of setup, where a woman is engaged and has to choose between her current partner and a past love, isn’t my favorite. It’s hard to do well, and that made me a bit worried about this one. However, I absolutely loved this book and found myself tearing through it! Let’s take a closer look at why this book is another home run for me.
What I Liked
The writing just flows so beautifully and draws you in from the first page. The story is told in present-day first person from Sam’s perspective, with past chapters in third person from both Sam and Wyatt’s POV. This is a tricky move to pull off, but I felt like it worked well to give us backstory and a sense of present-day urgency.
I adored Sam’s family and how free they felt at their beach house, how they just let their art drive their lives. The were fun side characters who really shed light on who Sam is and how hard she’s worked to be different to protect herself.
The banter and ease between Sam and Wyatt is also great. You can really feel that longterm friendship-to-lovers connection between them even as adults who broke one another’s hearts.
Like many of my favorite stories, there is a lot of focus on Sam learning to accept herself and choose to do what makes her happy, rather than what makes her feel solid and safe but doesn’t bring her alive. I love that self-discovery and self-honesty being the heart of the story, even as it kind of plays out through a love triangle.
What I Didn’t Like
At times, I did feel like Sam’s fiance felt like one of those “this guy is so obviously wrong for her, ugh” kind of characters, which I hate. Yes, people do get engaged for the wrong reasons some times, but I would’ve liked to see a bit more humanity out of him at some points in the book to avoid his being a charicature of a tight-laced guy. There are some moments of that here and there, but ultimatley it did feel like he was painted in a way to make us feel no guilt about rooting for Wyatt.
I will also chant my usual refrain that things did kind of wrap up quickly at the end, though I think the foundation was laid for the ending in a way that the quickness did sort of make sense.
In all, I absolutey loved Same Time Next Summer and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good romance, a beach read with depth, and/or a story about a woman overcoming her past to embrace her true self. It comes out on June 6th, but you can put in a preorder right now.