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Cruel Summer Paperback – May 27, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Colby Cavendish's plans are tossed overboard when her parents decide she should spend the summer with her aunt on a remote Greek island. They are jeopardizing her hard-won spot as ultracool Amanda's "new best friend," and now that she's hooked up with hottie Levi Bonham, how is she supposed to hang on to him? Crazy Aunt Tally, who talks to her plants and sells handmade jewelry, doesn't have a cell phone, TV, or Internet access. Colby's feelings and experiences are relayed through clever, but sometimes typographically confusing, emails, journal entries, letters, postcards, and a "Cruel Summer" blog. (The island has an Internet café.) The story is one of understandable teen frustration and resentment: adults don't make sense to her, and she's insecure about her new social status. She's far away from the usual connections, electronic and otherwise, that she and many comfortably middle-class, modern American teens rely on. An islander, Yannis, complicates her feelings for Levi, and Colby finds herself becoming involved, against her will, in the rhythms and lifestyle of this charming, remote place. The protagonist's venting and observations are alternately whiny, wistful, strident, and hilarious. Despite typical teen self-obsession, Colby is likable and ultimately well intentioned. As she deals with her feelings, she blunders her way rather charmingly into a new maturity.—Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Alyson Noël truly captures what it's like to be a teenager struggling to find herself." --Portrait Magazine
“Noël writes a smart and compelling story about life, love and loss that you won't be able to put down.” --Cara Lockwood, author of Wuthering High
"Noël writes with a bit more humor and authenticity than some of her contemporaries." --Booklist

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312355114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312355111
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alyson Noël is the #1 New York Times best selling, award-winning, author of 21 novels including: FAKING 19, ART GEEKS AND PROM QUEENS, LAGUNA COVE, FLY ME TO THE MOON, KISS & BLOG, SAVING ZOË, CRUEL SUMMER, FOREVER SUMMER (a LAGUNA COVE/CRUEL SUMMER 2-in1), KEEPING SECRETS (FAKING 19/SAVING ZOE 2-in-1), THE IMMORTALS series: EVERMORE, BLUE MOON, SHADOWLAND, DARK FLAME, NIGHT STAR, EVERLASTING; THE IMMORTALS spin-off, RILEY BLOOM series: RADIANCE, SHIMMER, DREAMLAND, WHISPER; The SOUL SEEKERS: FATED, ECHO, MYSTIC, HORIZON; with short stories apearing in the anthologies: FIRST KISS (THEN TELL), KISSES FROM HELL, & DEAR BULLY. She is currently working on a new series YA series, UNRIVALED, in stores 05.10.16, and a new MG, KISS MY WISH, in stores 12.13.16.

With over 8 New York Times bestsellers in 2 years, and over 7 million copies in print, her books have been translated into 37 languages, sold in over 50 countries, and have made the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, NCIBA, Walmart, and numerous international bestsellers lists. And have won numerous awards such as: the National Reader's Choice Award, NYLA Book of Winter Award, NYPL Stuff for the Teenage, TeenReads Best Books of 2007, Reviewer's Choice 2007 Top Ten, appeared on the CBS Early Show's "Give the Gift of Reading" segment, and selected for Seventeen Magazine's "Hot List" and Beach Book Club Pick.

The dramatic rights for all 4 books in THE SOUL SEEKERS series were optioned for film by Cheyenne Enterprises--and her adult novel, FLY ME TO THE MOON, was optioned by Ridley Scott's, Scott Free Productions, with Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones' Diary) set to write and direct.

Born and raised in Orange County, California, she's lived in both Mykonos and Manhattan and is now settled in Southern California where she's working on her next book.

Photo by Nancy Villere.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rachael Stein VINE VOICE on August 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
Colbie Cavendish is looking forward to a fun summer spenet partying with her new (and über-popular) circle of friends. Unfortunately, her fighting parents decide to send her to a tiny Greek island no one's ever heard of to stay with her crazy aunt Tally. This is practically unforgivable to Colbie since she'll only have minimal contact with her new friends (email) and is worried they'll forget her. But when Colbie finally takes a break from being depressed about her vacation when she spends mostly in an Internet café, she realizes that maybe she should be out living instead of mourning all the changes to her old life. And that's when she meets Yannis, a gorgeous Greek guy who's just as interested in her as she is in him. It seems Colbie's vacation isn't as miserable as she thought it would be; it changes her perspective on her entire life.

I really enjoyed Alyson Noël's writing in her other novels that I've read, Faking 19 and Saving Zoë, and Cruel Summer was no different. While the plot isn't fast-paced and exciting, it's the well-developed characters that really caught my attention, though in this case, Colbie was the only well-developed character as the story was told from her point-of-view. Alyson Noël has a subtle way of making her stories much deeper and more meaningful than they may appear on the surface, and this makes them seem real. For example, Colbie is initially portrayed as a whiny and insecure girl, but as her vacation progresses, she starts to appreciate or at least accept what she has in life. I also liked how romance was incorporated into Colbie's story, because she really deserved Yannis in the midst of all her other problems. In all, Cruel Summer was a very enjoyable story and, despite the cover, much better than just a beach read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Colby Cavendish has finally made it into the in crowd! She worked hard to gain Amanda's favor and now she's her new best friend. She's practically guaranteed the best Senior year ever! As an added bonus, Levi Bonham, the hottest guy in school, has suddenly become very interested in Colby! So interested that she's actually sitting right next to him on the couch at Amanda's house.

Okay, so Colby's just a little nervous that it's their first date...well, not even really a date. She's alone downstairs kissing Levi like she's always dreamed, like they'd been dating for forever, while Amanda is upstairs in her room with her guy. And Colby can't stop thinking about her curfew, which, by the way, passed, like, two hours ago. But at least she's stopped feeling guilty about dumping her former best friend, Natalie. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in order to progress up the social ladder. It's just part of life. Right?

Colby's parents are in the middle of a messy, angry divorce. Turns out they were so engrossed in their fight of the night, that they didn't even know Colby missed her curfew. It seems they barely remember they have a daughter, whose life they are royally screwing up. Then Colby finds out they have plans for her summer that don't include hitting the malls and becoming fully entrenched in her new social order.

They are sending her to Greece. No, not Athens. A tiny little island called Tinos. No amount of ranting, reasoning, pleading, or even crying will change their mind. Colby boards the plane bound for three months with Crazy Aunt Tally and no TV, no computer, no Wi-Fi. Nothing. How is she supposed to maintain her new social status? What if Colby gets replaced by a new Amanda Wanna-Be?

But soon things are looking up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Libro Joven - (Blogspot) on January 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book was the reason why I wanted to read Evermore. I hoped that Evermore would have a higher dose of the spirit in Cruel Summer (which it didn't, but that's not the point). Which means: the main character was a really funny girl, with an actual sense of humor, and the style was fast and, sure, funny. The ending went down, being too philosophical and corny for comfort, but the first two thirds of the book definitely made up for that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa Marie on October 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a fun, fast, easy read that I would recomment to all lovers of young adult fiction. It deals with real-life issues in a humorous and hopeful way. From divorce to the death of a friend, Noel covers it all and lets readers know that no matter what happens, there is still hope and life is still worth living.
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Format: Paperback
Cruel Summer has all of the elements of a perfect summer read: an exotic location, a love story, and a summer full of beaches and relaxation. In fact it even sounds like the perfect thing to read while on vacation to Jamaica (which I was while reading it). Unfortunately, the main character, Colby made the story almost painful to get through. The angst, selfishness, and overall bratty attitude was just to much to bear.

Despite spending a summer in Greece, all Colby does is complain. Sure, Colby's parents are getting divorced and she's going through a lot, but that didn't make her any less ungrateful or unappreciative. The only thing she cared about for the majority of the novel was making sure she staid friends with the popular kids while she was a zillion miles a way in Greece. There were just too many problems with this to count. My top two though are that the popular kids are so cliche (bitchy and obnoxious) and that they clearly aren't even real friends! So why does Colby care about staying in touch with such awful people? She's incredibly superficial.

Next, she is in Greece! Greece! And what does she do the entire time? Complain! That's it--she just complains. At any time she could have traveled to another island and explored, but all she wanted to do was sit in a cafe and write about how her summer sucked. Then when she finally starts to live a little, she decides that a lot of the things Greeks do are stupid because one of her obnoxious popular "friends" makes fun of a few pictures. AND she defiantly betrays a few people who really trust her. To be fair, Colby does see the error of her ways by the end of the book and grows as a person, but she was far to unlikable to really be redeemed.
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