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The Drowning Summer

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A gorgeously atmospheric contemporary fantasy by the author of The Devouring Gray and The Deck of Omens. Six years ago, three Long Island teenagers were murdered—their drowned bodies discovered with sand dollars placed over their eyes. The mystery of the drowning summer was never solved, but as far as the town’s concerned, Evelyn Mackenzie’s father did it. His charges were A gorgeously atmospheric contemporary fantasy by the author of The Devouring Gray and The Deck of Omens. Six years ago, three Long Island teenagers were murdered—their drowned bodies discovered with sand dollars placed over their eyes. The mystery of the drowning summer was never solved, but as far as the town’s concerned, Evelyn Mackenzie’s father did it. His charges were dropped only because Evelyn summoned a ghost to clear his name. She swore never to call a spirit again. She lied. For generations, the family of Mina Zanetti, a former friend of Evelyn, has worked as mediums, using the ocean’s power to guide the dead to their final resting place. But as sea levels rise, the ghosts grow more dangerous and Mina has been shut out of the family business. When Evelyn performs another summoning that goes horribly wrong, the two girls must navigate their growing attraction to each other while solving the mystery of who was really behind the drowning summer…before the line between life and death dissolves for good. Beautifully written and just the right amount witchy, The Drowning Summer is a deliciously eerie story perfect for reading under a full moon.


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A gorgeously atmospheric contemporary fantasy by the author of The Devouring Gray and The Deck of Omens. Six years ago, three Long Island teenagers were murdered—their drowned bodies discovered with sand dollars placed over their eyes. The mystery of the drowning summer was never solved, but as far as the town’s concerned, Evelyn Mackenzie’s father did it. His charges were A gorgeously atmospheric contemporary fantasy by the author of The Devouring Gray and The Deck of Omens. Six years ago, three Long Island teenagers were murdered—their drowned bodies discovered with sand dollars placed over their eyes. The mystery of the drowning summer was never solved, but as far as the town’s concerned, Evelyn Mackenzie’s father did it. His charges were dropped only because Evelyn summoned a ghost to clear his name. She swore never to call a spirit again. She lied. For generations, the family of Mina Zanetti, a former friend of Evelyn, has worked as mediums, using the ocean’s power to guide the dead to their final resting place. But as sea levels rise, the ghosts grow more dangerous and Mina has been shut out of the family business. When Evelyn performs another summoning that goes horribly wrong, the two girls must navigate their growing attraction to each other while solving the mystery of who was really behind the drowning summer…before the line between life and death dissolves for good. Beautifully written and just the right amount witchy, The Drowning Summer is a deliciously eerie story perfect for reading under a full moon.

30 review for The Drowning Summer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    3.25 Stars. This was an okay read but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I have been really enjoying this resurgence in YA paranormal and horror books, so I was really looking forward to this. Sapphic mediums that are using ghosts to solve a murder mystery, I mean sign me up. Unfortunately, while I did find the read reasonably entertaining, there was nothing that really grabbed me so this falls in just the okay category. There was a lot of pre-talk going around that this had a Gatsby-vibe, 3.25 Stars. This was an okay read but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I have been really enjoying this resurgence in YA paranormal and horror books, so I was really looking forward to this. Sapphic mediums that are using ghosts to solve a murder mystery, I mean sign me up. Unfortunately, while I did find the read reasonably entertaining, there was nothing that really grabbed me so this falls in just the okay category. There was a lot of pre-talk going around that this had a Gatsby-vibe, well I didn’t get that at all. I’m human, maybe I missed something, but I didn’t get Gatsby and I started wondering if people were getting this confused with the book, Wild and Wicked Things, that has a Gatsby feel with sapphic witches and also just recently was released. It doesn’t really matter, I just want people to know that you should not go reading this looking for a Gatsby retelling or you might be disappointed. One of the things I love so much about YA is all the feels. I love the emotional roller coaster most YA books will take you on since everything was so heightened when we were that age. This book had a lot of opportunity for this to happen. You have parents lying, parents accused or murder, and just plenty of ammo to make a super charged book. Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen and instead everything felt dulled and more on the surface. When characters were yelling, crying, and upset, I thought, huh. I don’t want to feel numb, instead I wanted to be feeling those emotions too and hopefully grabbing some tissues. I was happy with the bi rep of the two main characters, and I also thought that their romance was really cute. On the downside, it did seem like because these two were spending time together, that’s why they liked each other. I’m not really big on proximity romances, so I wish Herman would have built their connection more, but I did think their scenes together were sweet and enjoyable. I’m such a big mystery fan that I was hoping to enjoy that part but I feel very on the fence about it. I thought the reasoning behind the main mystery was not so great and a little convoluted. While I understood what was happening, there were some parts I just didn’t understand why. Also, the big twist, was kind of a head scratcher. I liked that I did not see it coming, but I didn’t see it coming because it felt so out of left field that I don’t think I really believed it so much. There is more I would like to say here but I just can’t for possible spoiler reasons so I’m just going to stop. I just found certain things problematic so it is what it is. TLDR: I didn’t mind the read, and I found that the book entertained me for a night, but it really is an average read in my opinion. The book has a cool premise, but it just never really takes off. There is a lot of turmoil that the characters go through, but we never experience it as readers which was disappointing. The sapphic romance was cute, but I wish we could have watched a stronger connection form. I’m pretty down the middle with this one. I think if you are a Herman fan that you might enjoy this one, but if you are new to Herman, you might want to start with one of her other books. A copy was kindly given to me for a review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elle (ellexamines)

    sapphic murder mystery retelling of the great gatsby > all other classical literature retellings

  3. 4 out of 5

    booksneedcaffeinetoo

    OH FUCK YES A F/F MURDER MYSTERY WITH GATSBY VIBES STARRING TWO BISEXUALS oh this is the best news 💕🌈☺️

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    imagine this: me, on a deck lounger with a martini, an extremely smug look on my face, surrounded by the piles of EXCELLENT f/f books coming out in the next two years and the drowning summer in my hands. god bless the sapphics, our time is now.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ☀︎El In Oz☀︎

    Edit: THAT COVER WOW OMG I NEED ❗️❗️ And it sounds even more amazing with an official synopsis 😭 SAPPHICS SOLVING A MURDER MYSTERY PLUS GHOSTS WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED? Edit: It just got pushed back to 2022. Omg why😭 This sounds good and I love mysteries. With fledging mediums. Great Gatsby vibes. Sign me up.

  6. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    I didn't realize this had a cover reveal. I absolutely love it! Preorder has been here a while now. I need to read this!! ((scrambles to do so)) I didn't realize this had a cover reveal. I absolutely love it! Preorder has been here a while now. I need to read this!! ((scrambles to do so))

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    OoOhhh this is giving me semi The Diviners vibes (maybe thats because I loved it so much that I, y’know, only binged the entire series in just shy of a week & finished it less than a week ago & i’m dying over it being over ? Who knows. Either way...) I AM SO HERE FOR IT!

  8. 5 out of 5

    theresa

    christine lynn herman is really giving us a spooky gatsby vibes sapphic murder mystery book and i love that I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter christine lynn herman is really giving us a spooky gatsby vibes sapphic murder mystery book and i love that I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter

  9. 4 out of 5

    akacya ♡̷̷ˎˊ

    I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating. When Mina and Evelyn were ten, three teens in their town were murdered. Six years later, their deaths still remain a mystery, though most of the town suspects Evelyn’s father—though Mina and Evelyn made sure through supernatural forces that he wouldn’t be charged for it. This was an intriguing story that I had trouble putting down! It’s a ghost story, a mystery, I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating. When Mina and Evelyn were ten, three teens in their town were murdered. Six years later, their deaths still remain a mystery, though most of the town suspects Evelyn’s father—though Mina and Evelyn made sure through supernatural forces that he wouldn’t be charged for it. This was an intriguing story that I had trouble putting down! It’s a ghost story, a mystery, and a coming-of-age story all in one. I loved seeing the main characters’ relationship growing throughout the story. Evelyn’s relationships (or lack thereof) with her family members and Mina’s relationship with hers were also explored well and weren’t static, which I appreciated. I recommend to anyone looking for a mysterious ghost story with bisexual MCs!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Isabel Sterling

    Such a fabulous read! Love love love!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine (Reading With Lori)

    *taps mic* Hello, yes, I’m here for the Bi Rep, F/F relationship, 1920’s vibe, unsolved murder and ghosts. I’m emo. I CANT WAIT FOR THE COVER REVEAL.

  12. 5 out of 5

    milliereadsalot

    Thank you Netgalley and Titan Books for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review! I've never read from Christine Lynn Herman before, but I enjoyed this book a lot! You've got mediums, an unsolved triple murder from six years ago, a potential demon and two girls who have to work out how to save themselves and their town - while also falling for each other. I really liked the two main characters of Evelyn and Mina, particularly Evelyn with her love for the environment, althoug Thank you Netgalley and Titan Books for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review! I've never read from Christine Lynn Herman before, but I enjoyed this book a lot! You've got mediums, an unsolved triple murder from six years ago, a potential demon and two girls who have to work out how to save themselves and their town - while also falling for each other. I really liked the two main characters of Evelyn and Mina, particularly Evelyn with her love for the environment, although I did find their voices to be quite similar. The whole ghost-murder-mystery was done really well, to the point where I was getting quite freaked out and didn't want to be reading it at night before I was going to sleep! I loved reading about the details of mediums and scrying focuses; as someone who is connected to that community in real life, it was really fascinating and great to read about it, especially in a way where it wasn't being dismissed as codswallop. I wish we could have seen more of Evelyn and Mina's relationship in this book. You do get some really nice moments between the two of them, but it is largely drowned out by the plot, and I would've really liked to see them actually together a bit more than we got.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    Check out more book reviews and content here! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free. I'm a big fan of Christine Lynn Herman's Devouring Gray doulogy and was really excited to pick up The Drowning Summer. This was a fine read, but I didn't end up loving it as much as I would have hoped. I'm always here for witches, especially in contemporary fantasy, and throw in a murder mystery and ghosts? Yes please. I really loved the way Check out more book reviews and content here! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free. I'm a big fan of Christine Lynn Herman's Devouring Gray doulogy and was really excited to pick up The Drowning Summer. This was a fine read, but I didn't end up loving it as much as I would have hoped. I'm always here for witches, especially in contemporary fantasy, and throw in a murder mystery and ghosts? Yes please. I really loved the way that Herman created the medium magic that is so pervasive throughout this book - give me a magic system with rules and structure, and I will eat it up! The mystery of the murdered teens and the paranormal aspects of the book were well done as well. However, I had some really mixed feelings about the writing. It felt incredibly clunky at times -Mina is always going on about ocean metaphors and Evelyn is comparing everything to the environment in her mind. I understand wanting your characters to feel three dimensional, but literally no one talks like this. This, in part, led to the characters feeling incredibly flat. They didn't really have any life to them, unlike the characters in The Devouring Gray, and they didn't seem very bright. I just wanted to grab them both by the shoulders and shake them at times, however in their defense, I am more than twice their age. They aren't really meant to relate to me! The Drowning Summer had a lot of promise, but the most important aspects of the book (i.e. the writing) fell flat for me. I will, however, keep an eye on her future books. Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars CW: biphobia

  14. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Elizabeth (Booksatlunch)

    2.5 rounded up, This was my first Christine Lynn Herman, and honestly if might be my last. This book was objectively fine, but it was kind of boring for what a paranormal ghost story. The tone feels inconsistent with the book, and there's way too many plot lines that none of them feel satisfyingly resolved - especially the environmental impact of the plant. The romance felt forced, and all of the characters felt pretty one-dimensional and didn't show that much growth throughout the novel. The si 2.5 rounded up, This was my first Christine Lynn Herman, and honestly if might be my last. This book was objectively fine, but it was kind of boring for what a paranormal ghost story. The tone feels inconsistent with the book, and there's way too many plot lines that none of them feel satisfyingly resolved - especially the environmental impact of the plant. The romance felt forced, and all of the characters felt pretty one-dimensional and didn't show that much growth throughout the novel. The side characters of Kenny, Luisa, and Amy were some of the most enjoyable characters of the book and deserved more time. My favorite thing might have been the twist, which I admittedly did not see coming, so points for that! Thanks to the publishers for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Michelle

    **4.5 rounded up** **Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the e-arc!** Six years ago, three Long Island teenagers were discovered murdered, with sand dollars placed over their eyes. Evelyn Mackenzie's father was the main suspect until Evelyn summoned a ghost to clear his name, with the help of Mina Zanetti. She swore to never call a spirit again, but when she finds herself in a bind that could drastically impact her future, she breaks her promise. Mina Zanetti's fam **4.5 rounded up** **Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the e-arc!** Six years ago, three Long Island teenagers were discovered murdered, with sand dollars placed over their eyes. Evelyn Mackenzie's father was the main suspect until Evelyn summoned a ghost to clear his name, with the help of Mina Zanetti. She swore to never call a spirit again, but when she finds herself in a bind that could drastically impact her future, she breaks her promise. Mina Zanetti's family is a family of mediums that uses the ocean's power to guide the dead to their final resting place. But with Evelyn's summoning, sea levels rising, Mina being shut out of her family's business as mediums, and ghosts becoming more dangerous than ever, they must work together to solve the mystery behind the drowning summer before the ghosts grow too powerful to stop. I haven't read many ghost stories, but I really enjoyed this one! I thought the way Christine Lynn Herman weaved this story together was very well done. There were a lot of different aspects that came together to solve this mystery, and while I did find a couple of things to be minorly confusing, overall I think she did a great job keeping the reader invested and working to solve the mystery along with Evelyn and Mina. Speaking of those two, the relationship between them developed so perfectly, and I was so happy to see two bisexual main characters! The growth that the two girls go through throughout the story was well-paced and very realistic. I also appreciated the strong focus on the familial and platonic relationships that are incredibly important in this story. Mina's relationships with her mother, uncle, and cousin, and Evelyn's relationships with her father, sister, Nick, Kenny, Luisa, and Amy, were so essential to the story and also to the girls' growth and development as characters. Mina's ability to stand up for herself and believe in her worth and Evelyn's ability to let others in and allow herself to feel connected to others would not have been possible without these additional relationships playing a key role in the story. Overall, this was a wonderful story and I definitely want to read more by this author in the future!

  16. 4 out of 5

    sunny

    ARC provided by NetGalley and the publishers! Thank you so much for allowing me to read this early in exchange for an honest review! So, it took me a while to get around to this book as I was in the middle of moving, but once I started it I got sucked in and finished it in two sittings! This was an extremely engaging blend of murder mystery, paranormal investigation, and coming of age story. Two girls who haven't talked since they did something unspeakable as kids get wrapped up in the investigati ARC provided by NetGalley and the publishers! Thank you so much for allowing me to read this early in exchange for an honest review! So, it took me a while to get around to this book as I was in the middle of moving, but once I started it I got sucked in and finished it in two sittings! This was an extremely engaging blend of murder mystery, paranormal investigation, and coming of age story. Two girls who haven't talked since they did something unspeakable as kids get wrapped up in the investigation of a lifetime in their seaside community in an attempt to set things right and solve the mystery of the three teenage murders that took place six years ago. I won't lie, I did struggle a bit connecting with the two main characters regarding their romance, and so many of their issues and the way they went about things were so Teenagey, but I'm in my twenties and they're 16 and I know in my heart that's not a fault of the book, but just part of growing up LOL. Sure, I cringed when they talked about bi pride eyeshadow and the over-attention to how each other looked and dressed all the time, but it's very teenager. Very teenage sapphic. The plot itself was very fun. Never quite spine-chilling enough to be YA horror, but a solid mystery that blends true crime and the paranormal. I enjoyed watching them struggle with their powers and I genuinely loved trying to figure out the mystery with them— and was pleasantly surprised by some of the twists that added some depth to it! I think if you're an adult reading this, it's important to remember this is YA and try and put yourself back in teenage you's shoes for some parts of this, but ultimately I enjoyed myself. And I know that this book would've been EVERYTHING to me as a sapphic teen, and I hope sapphic teens now find some solace reading a genuinely engaging mystery and paranormal story about two sapphic teenagers. Well worth a try :) And what a GORGEOUS cover!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maegan (maeganisreading)

    Rating: 4.25⭐️ Thank you to the publisher for gifting me an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book follows Mina and Evelyn who used to be best friends until six years prior during The Drowning Summer. Evelyn’s dad was accused of the murders but the girls summoned a ghost to help clear his name. Six years later, Evelyn summons another ghost for selfish reasons and drags Mina back into her life when the mysterious sand dollar reappears on Mina’s wrist. Both girls must now wor Rating: 4.25⭐️ Thank you to the publisher for gifting me an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book follows Mina and Evelyn who used to be best friends until six years prior during The Drowning Summer. Evelyn’s dad was accused of the murders but the girls summoned a ghost to help clear his name. Six years later, Evelyn summons another ghost for selfish reasons and drags Mina back into her life when the mysterious sand dollar reappears on Mina’s wrist. Both girls must now work together to figure out what’s happening to the ghosts and who actually murdered the Cliffside Trio six years ago, while also confronting their feelings for each other. I really liked this mystery story. It was an easy read and kept my attention the whole way through. I like the addition of the ghosts and the mediums to the mystery. It added an extra element that fit really well. Both Mina and Evelyn were strong characters who changed throughout the story. The author did a great job highlighting their mental health and how the murders have effected their families over the years. They both have different ways they cope but they still seem to relate to each other. Their transition from friends to a little bit more than friends was well done. It wasn’t the whole point of the story which I appreciate. It was ok the back burner while the mystery unfolded. I really like when mysteries are set in small towns like this one because we get to meet different people in the town as they sometimes have things to lend to the investigation. The side characters were likeable. It would’ve been nice to see more of what happened to the trio before they were killed but it was still an interesting development. The ending was a little predictable and I was able to guess the murderer by the end of the book. Overall, this was a solid YA mystery and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    3.5 to 4 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. This book definitely suffered from not-quite-as-good syndrome, meaning that I read (and loved) All of Us Villains. This book just doesn't live up to that. It's fine. In fact, in a lot of ways, it's fun. But it wasn't as beautifully executed at AOUV. My expectations were perhaps a bit too high, because I was ultimately disappointed. I did find a lot that 3.5 to 4 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. This book definitely suffered from not-quite-as-good syndrome, meaning that I read (and loved) All of Us Villains. This book just doesn't live up to that. It's fine. In fact, in a lot of ways, it's fun. But it wasn't as beautifully executed at AOUV. My expectations were perhaps a bit too high, because I was ultimately disappointed. I did find a lot that I liked in this book, and that will all be included in my full review, available April 22, 2022 at Gateway Reviews.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roxana

    The Drowning Summer combines an engaging, propulsive story with a concept I, at least, haven't encountered before - the effect of climate change on a paranormal world. I found the blending of the supernatural with the wholly natural a fascinating, cleverly executed conceit, and fortunately it's served well by the compelling story of two girls investigating a six-year-old mystery, handling ghosts and demons, dealing with family trauma, and falling in love along the way. The writing is sometimes a The Drowning Summer combines an engaging, propulsive story with a concept I, at least, haven't encountered before - the effect of climate change on a paranormal world. I found the blending of the supernatural with the wholly natural a fascinating, cleverly executed conceit, and fortunately it's served well by the compelling story of two girls investigating a six-year-old mystery, handling ghosts and demons, dealing with family trauma, and falling in love along the way. The writing is sometimes a bit clumsy (Evelyn's oceanographical analogies might be accurate, but they're still pretty laughable), but it's a thoroughly enjoyable story nevertheless. Recommended for fans of Erica Waters, Shea Ernshaw, and Taylor Swift's song "Betty." Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Therese

    3.5 stars. Three things I liked: • The romance!! Evelyn and Mina have that perfect friends to strangers to lovers thing going on, and I think it was really believable and well written, and they were really cute, it was just impossible not to root for them. • Most of the family dynamics. I think the parts with Mina and her family was kinda all over the place, though I mostly liked it, but my favorite was the dynamic between Evelyn, her dad, and her sister, and how the events of the drowning summer r 3.5 stars. Three things I liked: • The romance!! Evelyn and Mina have that perfect friends to strangers to lovers thing going on, and I think it was really believable and well written, and they were really cute, it was just impossible not to root for them. • Most of the family dynamics. I think the parts with Mina and her family was kinda all over the place, though I mostly liked it, but my favorite was the dynamic between Evelyn, her dad, and her sister, and how the events of the drowning summer really tore them apart and how they had to work to put themselves together again, and how even that didn't fully work. • The setting. The ocean and the surrounding community really felt like it's own character, and I think that's very much intentional. The environment shaped the girls, and the girls shaped the environment, and I thought that was really well done. Two things I didn't like: • The overuse of one particular metaphor. Mina never shuts up about the ~ocean inside of her~. Whenever she goes through something, she has to explain how the ocean reacts. It's in almost every single chapter and it drove me crazy. I understand that she had trouble expressing emotions but it just so repetitive and boring. There were also other times were the writing was a little bit clunky. It's a bad sign when I'm reading an e-book and start making small notes on the app, because that means I think the writing is doing some not so great stuff. • I wasn't sold on one of the two main mysteries in here. It was left kinda vague, and I'm sure that was intentional, but instead of feeling vague in an interesting way, it felt like a shortcut, like the author couldn't really be bothered to come up with anything exciting. (view spoiler)[It was like she needed someone to be the ghost and just pulled Annette Shorewell's name out of a hat and made up some random motive about maybe a kidnap gone wrong, maybe a murder, maybe it was Nick's family's fault, who really cares?. I also thought it was a shame how underdeveloped the Cliffside Trio was in general, I think giving them a little bit of personality would have been nice, I mean Tamara and Colin were literally just names, it could've been just Jesse who was murdered and the plot would have been the same. (hide spoiler)]

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    *Special thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for sharing this digital reviewer copy in exchange for my honest review* This book falls under the YA mystery thriller/paranormal club for me. The Drowning Summer switches between our two main characters, Evelyn and Mina as they battle creepy things that go bump in the night. And by that I mean ghosts. We're talking about ghosts here people! And boy, do I love a good, well-written ghost story. This books is definitely that and more! The b *Special thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for sharing this digital reviewer copy in exchange for my honest review* This book falls under the YA mystery thriller/paranormal club for me. The Drowning Summer switches between our two main characters, Evelyn and Mina as they battle creepy things that go bump in the night. And by that I mean ghosts. We're talking about ghosts here people! And boy, do I love a good, well-written ghost story. This books is definitely that and more! The book takes place in the Long Island Sound and something is causing the ghost population to act up more than normal and it's up to our budding main squeezes to figure out what. Did I mention this book has ghosts? And beautifully well written characters with great arcs? Oh and the ocean? Can't forget the ocean. I'm getting too excited just talking about this! To the things I loved! Gosh, what didn't I love about this book?! I loved getting the dual POV and the characters really shined in both. Evelyn with all her rough edges, passionately short-tempered self, but always wearing her heart on her sleeve. While Mina stuffed any and all emotions down and never really let herself feel anything, too worried she needed to be perfect. Until, of course, Evelyn comes barging through her perfectly laid plans. As one does. I loved getting to know these two and seeing them interact with one another and the other side characters. All the characters felt three dimensional, even the side characters. They had great story arcs and felt flushed out. I enjoyed the representation with LGBTQ+ main characters and POC side characters. The story overall really kept me hooked. The ghosts unnerved me whenever they appeared. The murder mystery kept me guessing and staying up late, saying "one more chapter" because I was just so enthralled with what was going on. I'm not going to go into too much here because I don't want to spoil anything for readers. Just know if you love a good ghost story with a thrilling murder mystery plot, you'll want to pick this up. I had no issue with the pacing. Herman did an amazing job of shifting between plot and character development. Herman weaved these two narratives really well and the story never felt dull. I never felt like one or the other was lacking. I was thoroughly engrossed the whole time. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters, the creepy atmosphere the ghosts added to the story, and trying to unravel the mysteries behind everything. The romance between the characters wasn't in your face, but a slow burn. It didn't detract from the story but added another beautiful layer to it. That slow burn got me. This was me the whole time: There were some undertones of environmental issues, mainly about the ocean and marine life. It never felt preachy to me though. Granted I care about that stuff so take that as you will. I've already been recommending this book to people! The characters are well written and have amazing story arcs, the mystery kept me enthralled and engaged and wanting to keep reading. the ghosts were described vividly in all their ghostly eeriness. the romance was *chef's kiss*, the platonic relationships really felt believable, and I was sad when I finished the book. I can't wait to purchase my copy of this to add to my collection! And talk about it incessantly to anyone who has the misfortune to ask me about a book recommendation.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    Thank you HBG Canada for gifting me a finished copy for review. This was a really solid 4 star read for me. I thought the concept was super interesting, and I liked how the author handled the ghosts. The characters were relatable, the plot moved fairly well, and the mystery kept me entertained as we learned new things and things shifted around. The book follows Mina and Evelyn. These two girls used to be best friends, but six years ago after they summoned a ghost to clear Evelyn’s dad of suspici Thank you HBG Canada for gifting me a finished copy for review. This was a really solid 4 star read for me. I thought the concept was super interesting, and I liked how the author handled the ghosts. The characters were relatable, the plot moved fairly well, and the mystery kept me entertained as we learned new things and things shifted around. The book follows Mina and Evelyn. These two girls used to be best friends, but six years ago after they summoned a ghost to clear Evelyn’s dad of suspicion over the Drowning Summer murders, they kept their secret but their friendship fell apart. Now, after Evelyn summons a spirit for a selfish reason, Mina is impacted when the mysterious sand dollar mark on her wrist shows up again. Mina and Evelyn were forced to reconnect as they worked together to unravel the truths about not only the Drowning Summer but about their families and their own roles in the present. I liked both Mina and Evelyn a lot. I thought both girls were likeable and easy to relate to, and I loved seeing their friendship become rekindled as well as seeing their romance grow. I really liked the romance here because it was very much a side plot that felt like it happened naturally over the course of their investigation. It was cute, but it didn’t take over the mystery. I also liked how the author touched on their different coping methods, and how both girls spent a lot of time alone. I especially liked seeing Evelyn grow as a character and learn to embrace herself and open up to the people in her life who wanted to be around her. The plot was pretty interesting. I found it was a bit slow at times, and I would have liked to see it start moving a bit faster earlier in the story. In the end, I liked the mystery I just wish that we’d been given even more information about what exactly had happened with the victims before they died. I thought this was a good YA mystery with ghosts and mediums and a sapphic love story. It was interesting and entertaining to read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Spiri Skye

    Thanks netgalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review The Drowning Summer is a YA paranormal book with Bisexual representation. This author co-wrote another book I loved, All of Us Villains. I never read the great Gatsby, but I've heard from others it gives that vibe. I've been loving sapphic ghost related YA books lately, this gave me similar vibes to My Dearest Darkest. This is also a mystery/thriller. This has the friends-enemies-lovers trope too which I love! Something else that int Thanks netgalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review The Drowning Summer is a YA paranormal book with Bisexual representation. This author co-wrote another book I loved, All of Us Villains. I never read the great Gatsby, but I've heard from others it gives that vibe. I've been loving sapphic ghost related YA books lately, this gave me similar vibes to My Dearest Darkest. This is also a mystery/thriller. This has the friends-enemies-lovers trope too which I love! Something else that intrigued me throughout the book was the symbolism of the sand-dollars. Overall I'd recommend to any LGBT+ friends that like YA mysteries/paranormal books.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    I read another book by Christine Lynn Herman and appreciated the style of writing and the storytelling. This is a good mix of thriller and paranormal, I enjoyed it even if I expected a stronger horror side. The plot is well developed, the characters are interesting, and the world building is excellent. I recommend this story that I throughly enjoyed. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  25. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brady

    interesting mix of paranormal mystery! This book was an interesting mix of paranormal and mystery! I also really enjoyed the additional ecological stuff. Evelyn and Mina were both super strong characters and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them! This is definitely worth the read if you like ghost mysteries!

  27. 5 out of 5

    laur gluchie

    Why does this sound like the Fey clan backstory? Murder and spirit mediums and all that jazz.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cas

    The Drowning Summer by Christine Lynn Herman is a compelling read that blends fascinating mythology with a haunting mystery and a sweet young romance. Check out my full review on Fangirlish: https://fangirlish.com/2022/05/22/the... The Drowning Summer by Christine Lynn Herman is a compelling read that blends fascinating mythology with a haunting mystery and a sweet young romance. Check out my full review on Fangirlish: https://fangirlish.com/2022/05/22/the...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nina Andrade

    Absolutely loved this book!! So many ocean metaphors and I loved the attention to detail with the supernatural stuff! super cute slow burn romance that tugs at heart strings!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brigid Hogan

    Got an ARC and am so thrilled to have been able to read this!! A perfect summer spooky romance, Christine Herman’s writing reaches new heights. Can’t wait for this to be published so I can talk about it with everyone I know.

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