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Ferocity Summer Paperback – March 21, 2018
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"This book is definitely for the oldest of the teen audience with intense language and sexuality, and adult readers will devour it as well ... Recommended." --VOYA
"An engaging, realistic journey into drug addiction and bad decision making. Grosso's Ferocity Summer is a riveting read." --A.S. King, author of the Printz honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz
-This book is definitely for the oldest of the teen audience with intense language and sexuality, and adult readers will devour it as well ... Recommended.- --VOYA
-An engaging, realistic journey into drug addiction and bad decision making. Grosso's Ferocity Summer is a riveting read.- --A.S. King, author of the Printz honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Alissa Grosso is the author of the YA novels Popular, Ferocity Summer and Shallow Pond. She lives in Pennsylvania and when she's not busy writing or selling stuff on the internet she's probably hanging out with her boyfriend Ron or walking her dog, Jack. She shares her writing adventures on her weekly Awkward Author vlog and podcast. Find out more at alissagrosso.com.
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Top customer reviews
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And she's outspoken. This is what seems to throw some readers. As far as I'm concerned, if she's going to think critically of her friends, if she's going to entertain taboo thoughts, let her say so. The author took risks and I admire her for it. The key is making the reader like or sympathize with the protagonist. There's at least a little bit of Scilla in all of us.
The Author makes good points about conflicting pressures on teens, for example "the girl in the ugly green sweater" in educational films who is intended to deter teens from drugs, and instead is depicted (initially at least) as elevating her social status by turning to drugs. Another nice touch is interspersing tidbits about Tecumseh Sherman. Also, an entire novel could be built around the character Pablo.
First 50 Pages: I'm not particularly fond of slut shaming, nor am I usually fond of unlikable characters. Ferocity Summer is full of both and at first, I wasn't sure how I felt about that. It took me a while to start to get into this book, much longer then it normally does. The pacing of the story was okay, with some parts being a little slow, and the writing style isn't bad, but the characters are cringe-worthy. Now, this book is meant to be that way. All of the characters are dysfunctional to some degree. So, if that isn't something you are into, you might want to take a pass on reading this book. I ended up sticking with it just so I could find out how the main character grows and matures throughout the story.
Characters & Plot: Scilla Davis is about to go on trial for being involved in vehicular manslaughter and she hasn't exactly had an easy life. What she wants more than anything is to escape her life, her mother that drives her insane, and all of the mistakes that she has made. Scilla's best friend is a drug addict and she is bringing Scilla along for the ride. Things start to become much more interesting when a FBI agent shows up and offers Scilla a way to avoid a conviction at her trial, but in order to do so, she has to become a rat and abandon and deceive everyone around her.
Scilla is a completely unlikeable character. She makes horrible choices every single time she has to make a decision about anything. I've never come across a character like Scilla before. She doesn't have one redeeming quality about her. I struggled trying to figure her out, because for the life of me, I could not understand why she did the things that she did. She was mean to everyone, she could never own up to her mistakes and was constantly putting the blame on everyone but herself, she had no real dreams to speak of, and she was overly passive and just went with what everyone else was doing. Some of Scilla's internal thoughts were quite disturbing and over the top. She even fantasized about incest. Yuck! What was even worse than all of that, was she was always putting her best friend down by bad-mouthing her and calling her a slut, even though she was actually attracted to her friend. Oh I guess I should mention that Scilla is bisexual.
Scilla did have growth throughout the course of the story, but not as much as I would have liked. Her relationship with her vile mother didn't truly get better as I thought it should have. I never really liked Scilla, even after she started to make some more positive changes in her life. It always felt like she could easily fall back into her bad lifestyle with a snap of her fingers; that her normalcy was on the fringe waiting to drop off. The actual manslaughter trial wasn't a large part of the plot either, which disappointed me.
Final Thoughts: The ending was under-whelming and I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. It was definitely different and I think that people are either going to love it or hate it when it is released. I don't mind dysfunctional characters, but Scilla ended up being a little TOO dysfunctional for my taste. I was really disturbed by her thoughts of incest and how passive she was about everything. I like strong characters too and I think in the end, Scilla just didn't exhibit the strength I was hoping she would find.
Scilla is a very hard character to like. She is not a nice person, constantly blaming everyone and everything but herself for her problems, all while claiming that she doesn't blame anyone for how her life has turned out. Her lack of ambition, in any sense of the word, meant much of the plot revolved around Scilla following or waiting on her best friend Willow. Scilla was never an active player in any plot twist - she was always approached by others and it was consistently their decisions which directed her choices. It made for a stagnant read because when the active players were missing, you're stuck watching Scilla sitting around waiting for them to return. Her thoughts ran unbridled, and some of them were a little disturbing.
"Secretly, I fantasized about having an older brother and having wild, sordid, forbidden sex with him."
Ummm....ok? I just...how am I supposed to relate to a character with thoughts like that? Her bisexuality was a non-issue, and was handled surprisingly well in that it wasn't really given much attention. Unfortunately the constant slut-shaming that she projected onto her "friend" and love interest, Andrea, was another blow to my already low opinion of her personality.
Knowing that this was going to be a book about dysfunctional, imperfect teenagers, I wasn't expecting to really like any of them - I was fully expecting to be cringing with most of their decisions. But I was hoping to see enough character growth and development, that come the ending, I would feel passionately about at least the heroine. Which is why even though Scilla's growth is exponential, I still don't like her. Her growth is unconvincing, as she stills seems to hold on to her misguided opinions. She repeats herself several times throughout the book, stating that if Randy wasn't dealing drugs, it would just be someone else. So what he's doing isn't really wrong, because drug addicts choose to buy drugs from him; if not him, they'd find someone else. It made it hard for me to believe in her personal growth, or to hold on to any kind of sympathy for her. I was also hoping for some kind of reparation between Scilla and her mother, as their relationship seemed tenuous at best, but other then some extremely harsh words (used by both sides) their relationship wasn't really explored or explained.
I didn't like the inclusion of Scilla's report on William T. Sherman, as it interrupted the flow of the story. When it was first introduced, being quite ignorant of American Civil War history, I had no idea who he was or why Scilla was referencing his pursuits as a soldier. Perhaps it was just my copy, but I could have done with a page break, or font change, to distinguish when she was going off on one of her Sherman tangents.
The leaking of information about the trial and the incident which led up to the trial was the only reason I finished Ferocity Summer. It took until the epilogue to show the outcome of the trial, and I was disappointed with the small role it ended up having. With the involvement of the FBI being quite minimal, and Scilla's betrayal resulting in very little consequence, I was quite disappointed with the ending in general. But considering Scilla's passive role in every other aspect of Ferocity Summer's plot, I shouldn't have been surprised with her story's apathetic conclusion.