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Review: Big Summer

Big Summer

Title: Big Summer
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Page Count: 352
Published by: Atria Books
Date Published: May 5, 2020
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


Burgeoning plus size instagram influencer, Daphne Berg, is stunned when her ex-best friend, Drue Cavanaguh, reappears in her life requesting that she be her maid of honour in her upcoming high brow wedding. Wealthy, beautiful, “has-it-all” Drue has always been Daphne’s achilles heel, desperately seeking after her approval and friendship. Once again she is sucked in by Drue’s gravity.

But as the perfect, high class, opulent wedding of the season approaches, family secrets are unveiled, feuds erupt and the perfect veneer begins to crack as infidelities and financial windfalls are exposed. Daphne begins to see her friend and her seemingly perfect life in a new light and when tragedy strikes it is up to her to sort through the lies and expose the truth.


Being that this is my first Jennifer Weiner novel I have no basis of comparison to her previous, tremendous body of work. I have seen some fans indicating this isn’t their favourite of her novels, but after reading Big Summer, with its combination of wit, romance, intelligence, and emotional insight, I will definitely be seeking out more!

I think what surprised me the most with Big Summer is that it was nothing at all what I was expecting! This isn’t just your average “day at the beach” light read … although it absolutely would make a fantastic beach read … it has so much more going on under it’s pastel cover. I thoroughly enjoyed Weiner’s exploration of social media, Instagram, and influencer culture, presenting the many pros and cons that comes along with it. Never beating down, but also not shying away from calling out its hollow falsity, as a member of the bookstagram community I really enjoyed this introspective conversation.

I knew going in that Jennifer Weiner features plus size heroines (also, can I just state here how much I hate the term “plus size”) and it was really refreshing to read a novel from this perspective, with a complex, excellently drawn character. I did feel that we lingered here quite a bit though? It struck me as odd that a “plus size influencer” who is known for her honesty, her outfit of the days, and general positivity surrounding her size would be so, page after page … after page, constantly brought down and singularly focused on this one aspect of herself in quite a negative, demeaning way. Of course this likely was an extension of Weiner’s conversation on the falsity of instagram and the projection of only our perfect selves, but there was a lot of size-focus here that, for me, started to take away from the body positivity that I believe was its goal.

Overall I am extremely impressed by my first foray into the world of Jennifer Weiner and am excited to read more. An excellent combination of intelligence, witty banter, complex and well drawn characters and romance … steamy romance. I greatly enjoyed the conversation on Instagram culture, body image, and the false projection of a perfect life. Fast paced, well layered, and uplifting. If you are also new to this author, I think this is a great place to start.

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