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The Summer of the Frogs Paperback – July 27, 2010
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
About the Author
Tressa Green is an author who enjoys penning engrossing character driven stories that focus on deeply human issues. Her highly unique writing style stands out sharply in the current market.
Bucking conventions in writing tickles her nearly as much as it does in life. One of her favorite responses from a stranger is "I wouldn't expect someone like you to have all those tattoos." Shattering stereotypes and living "outside the box" gives her the voice of experience when writing the outcast character many people can relate to.
Tressa is also passionate about art; a life-long love she pursued professionally with fair success for five years. Art continues to play a large role in her life today.
Currently, she resides as a full time writer in her beloved home state of Indiana with her husband, two of three children (one being grown), and her clutter of feisty felines.
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The Summer of the Frogs is a veritable cloud of uncertainties with a bright ray of sunshine somewhere above the overcast sky. You can feel the glow as you read the novel. This is a first person story about a young woman with problems; most would say mental problems, possibly schizophrenic. One wonders, throughout the telling, if anything Claire experiences is real or not. Her problems start after she suffers a dog attack, but the dog may not have been a dog at all. It could have been something otherworldly. Then, while raving in her bedroom, bleeding from self-mutilation, Claire meets a man, Tommy, who may have arrived to finish her existence. But he doesn't.
The title is almost a red herring until you look at the book cover again after reading a certain small anecdote the protagonist relates about a park filled with artisans. The cover is art by the author. It's absolutely beautiful. I never fail to stare at it. And now attach this conception of artistry to the prose. That's Tressa Green's gift: imagery, some of which is pure poetry.
Ok, back to not being able to read this for a few months: it's mostly because I'm a rather linear sort of reader/writer and tend to choose action-filled novels, but The Summer of Frogs is a cloud of events. The author can leave you wandering in that cloud (which, I remind you, has a glow from that hidden ray of sunlight) and while you're in the cloud wandering, you're often musing on what you should think about the latest thing Claire said. You keep reading, thinking you'll figure Claire out later, but you once more end up pondering truths after the author skillfully leads you to believe in Claire's sanity again, and all throughout, there is this poetic imagery.
While reading it, I started thinking of this cloud as a soft sort of coral with branches leading off. Claire tends to branch at random, but one always comes back to that bright main trunk again. This story is as much about accepting loss of control as it is about anything else. And you can feel that loss of control. You can see Claire being selfish and then generous, blind and then radiant. She's really fractal. But that main trunk of story draws you back inward, the story about Claire and Tommy and whether their relationship--a strange composite of fear, love, closeness, dependence and independence--can survive their enemies.
Ok, up front and honest, I know Tressa Green from working on line with her. Her grammar and punctuation in this story needs work (she'll probably laugh after reading that, because it's just like me to say so, very blunt like). If I gave her five out of five stars for the writing, it wouldn't be fair. She really needs to buckle down on the grammar and punctuation. This brilliant piece of work deserves smoother grammar and punctuation. But enough editorial harping. I am giving her five out of five, and it's because of the cover art. That deserves a ten out of five, but yeah, Smashwords won't let me do that.
Keep doing what you do, Tressa--and get better at the punctuation and grammar. :-) Well done, you. Once I finally picked the story up for a proper read, digested it all in a day. Awesome cloud!
P.S. Would have given Tressa a four out of five for the story, but you know, the cover. Really beautiful.
Through medication, she loses the beauty of her existence: the ability to travel across dimensions, the ability to communicate with nature, and the love of her life. Refusing medication, her abilities -and her brown-eyed boyfriend- return to continue the adventure to its tearful conclusion.
As I read, while I wanted to believe in the establishment view ("crazy"), a thought kept nudging the back of my mind: What if her beautiful, bizarre perception is the reality and my mundane and unidimensional "reality" is actually the falsehood?
This is a vivid, haunting portrayal of a troubled young woman's world. Can't wait to read more from this author! -Catherine
The good: Green has amazing, beautiful descriptions. She is amazingly vivid, and she's able to describe someone's looks in detail without being repetitive or boring -- a feat in and of itself. The prose is wandering and it's not separated into chapters per se -- but this is perfect, because it suits the narrator's headspace very well. Tressa does a good job keeping us guessing at whether the narrator and main character is really seeing what she's seeing, or if she's really just as crazy as the rest of the people think she is. It's also nice to see a hero/ine without a lot of inborn charisma: she's often caustic, grumpy, and not quite able to connect herself into her own world. That doesn't make her any less compelling, of course: her strong emotions draw you in and make you want to find out more about her and her life.
The bad: the plot takes a while to really kick off, and it wraps up in a way that doesn't feel as...detailed, perhaps as the rest of the story. It feels a little sudden and a little haphazard compared to the beautiful wandering descriptions we've had of her journey through her world(s) thus far. But, then I also finished the book around 2 in the morning (I couldn't put it down), so that could also be me starting to fall asleep. But it's still an area I feel needs some work.
Regardless, it was a compelling, interesting read and I give it 4/5 stars. Any book I can't put down is a good one for me! Can't wait to read the next!