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The Summer of Firsts and Lasts Hardcover – May 3, 2011

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An unflinchingly honest look at sisterhood, first love, and how one amazing summer can change everything. I completely lost myself in this book.” –Lauren Barnholdt, author of Two Way Street

"This is a poignant portrayal of sisterhood, summer love, responsibility, betrayal, and forgiveness that fully captures the intensity and emotion of the fleeting days at summer camp." –Booklist

"[A] well-told story that celebrates the powerful love between sisters....[McVoy's] writing brings the summer camp setting to life." --PW

"Fans of Ann Brashares's "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series (Delacorte) or Jodi Lynn Anderson's "Peaches" books (HarperCollins) may enjoy McVoy's novel because of the focus on the girls' close relationship and the character-centered story lines."
--SLJ

"Will most certainly transport readers back to the their own magical summer camp memories of first crushes, giggling friendships, and midnight ghost stories told around crackling bonfires." --VOYA

About the Author

Terra Elan McVoy has held a variety of jobs centered around reading and writing, from managing an independent children’s bookstore, to teaching writing classes, and even answering fan mail for Captain Underpants. Terra lives and works in the same Atlanta neighborhood where her novels After the Kiss, Being Friends with Boys, and Pure are set. She is also the author of The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, Criminal (an Edgar Award nominee), and In Deep. To learn more, visit TerraElan.com and follow Terra on Twitter at @TerraMcVoy.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144240213X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442402133
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,447,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I have been reading and writing, basically, ever since I learned how to, and everything I've done has pretty much been connected to those two things. I received my BA in English at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, and my MA in Creative Writing from Florida State University. I have worked as an event coordinator at a major chain bookstore; as a freelance writer; a composition instructor; an editorial assistant at an NYC publisher; as manager of an independent children's bookstore, in Decatur, GA, Little Shop of Stories; and as Program Director of the AJC Decatur Book Festival. When not writing or reading I really enjoy cooking and paper crafts. I live in Clarkston, GA with my husband, Scott.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on May 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sisters Calla, Violet, and Daisy have been coming to Camp Callanwolde for years. It's one of their favorite places in the world, and this summer it's the last one they'll be able to spend there together before fall comes and Calla heads off to college. But the future is the furthest thing from each girl's mind. Daisy is focused on her running, but distractions in the form of mean girls and cute, confusing Joel keep getting in the way. Violet's best friend isn't at camp with her this summer, she instead she makes friends with Brynn, who is a lot wilder than her. Before she knows it, she's doing things she's never done before and sneaking out to meet cute counselor James after lights-out. Calla loves camp, and even though she's not a camper this year, but the assistant office worker, she's determined to make this last summer the best one. And it will be...if she can find the courage to finally tell her long-time friend Duncan how she feels. The girls know that being at this summer camp is special, they they'll never imagine how important this summer of firsts and lasts may be.

The Summer of Firsts and Lasts is a sweet, fun, and poignant book. The summer camp setting is so much fun and so well described, and McVoy has captured the timeless feel of those moments where one point in time seems paramount and life-changing--for these sisters, it's their experiences at summer camp. The narrative is broken apart into rotating chapters from the point of view of each sister, which is a fun way to tell the story. McVoy does an excellent job at building the sisters' relationship, from the anecdotes from their childhood and funny nicknames, to the fights and arguments they share.
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Format: Paperback
The Summer of Firsts and Lasts was kind of hard to get into, for me. There are three different POVs, and with each narrator comes a set of friends and love interests, which was a little hard to keep track of at times. In the beginning, I kept checking back to see whose POV I was reading from because I couldn't keep the sisters' personalities straight. The way all three of the girls see themselves is very different from how they're seen by their sisters. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since that's how it is in real life (in my excperience), but it made it even harder to keep the sisters straight. To add to that, the girls have these nicknames that are kind of weird, and it was difficult to remember which nickname belonged to which of the sisters.

Once I'd spent some time inside all of their heads, though, I did like the characters; I conneced with each of them in a different way. Calla is the one I'm probably most similar to - because we're the same age, but also just because of our personalities. I know some people will be annoyed by how Calla keeps hoping beyond hope that Duncan likes her as more than a friend, but I personally could easily relate to that. I got her perfectionist ways and how she feels like she always needs to be nice to everyone - again, some people will be frustrated by that, but it worked for me, because I'm kind of like that too. Daisy, the youngest sister, is like the little girl inside of me I don't like to let people see. I got her insecurities because, well, I used to be her, when I was her age. Her character growth is probably the biggest, out of the three, and I loved reading about how she found her strength. Violet is the one I'm least like - she's the kind of confident I wish I was but know I never will be.
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Format: Hardcover
Calla, Violet, and Daisy are three sisters that spend part of their summer at a sleep-away camp every year. Calla, the eldest sister, is about to go to college and is working at the camp this summer. She is hoping to finally tell Duncan, her camp crush and longtime friend, how she really feels. Violet is learning that sometimes you need to break the rules and in turn, she meets James this summer. Also, Daisy, who normally is a bit of wallflower when it comes to guys, is finally learning how to date and get along with them. One thing is for sure, all three sisters learn about love and life this summer while at camp. The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy is a delightful contemporary read that fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy.

Camp is the prefect setting for a story that takes place during the summer and I can't recall if I have ever read a story that does take place there. It's perfect, because in this case, the characters are without their parents and they can really explore and grow as young adults. Some of their adventures and situations range from being laugh out loud funny, cringeworthy, and some incidents will even break your heart.

The best part about the book is the sisterly bond. I really enjoyed the story when it involved the sisters interacting together. They share such a strong and charming bond; it was hard not to appreciate it. Out of the three girls, I enjoyed Violet the most as Calla spent a lot of time trying to gain the courage to confess her true feelings to Duncan. After awhile, this drove me nuts and I just wanted her to get it over with already!

The book alternated each chapter with a different sister's point of view. At first, this was hard for me to get used to as Calla, Violet and Daisy's voices were all extremely similar.
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