Invisible Summer is about four friends and their relationships within twenty years. Throughout college Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien were inseparable. As they graduate in 1997 and fall into a world on the brink of a new millennium, they all face new beginnings and downfalls. In love with playboy Lucien and wanting to break away from the socialist politics of her upbringing, Eva works for a big bank. Budding scientist and in love with Eva for years, Benedict stays behind to complete his PhD in physics. Siblings Sylvie and Lucien, pursue a bohemian existence - Sylvie as an aspiring artist and Lucien as a club promoter and professional partyer. But as a decade goes by, the group struggles to navigate their thwarted dreams. Scattered across Europe and no longer convinced that they are the rue masters of their own fate, the once close-knit group of friends finds themselves filled with longing. Longing for their youth...and for each other. Broken hearts and careers draw these foursome together again but in a way they never could have imagined before.
Invisible Summer opens on the summer of 1995 when all four friends (Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien) are in their first year of University. Drinking and relaxing, taking in the scenery around them and just being young. At this time we not only witness the interaction between each character but also witness how each of them feels not only about one another but also about themselves.
I have to be completely honest, at first I was starting to become relatively bored with the novel but when I was about 35% through I started to actually enjoy it. The characters seemed so realistic; they were all going through so much, they didn't want to burden one another and at times felt isolated and alone. They all seemed to go through such hardships that I felt both heartbroken for the characters yet oddly satisfied. Satisfied that an author can actually portray such emotions, such struggles, and make it seem so real - as if these characters were alive somehow. However, they didn't give up, they all continued to persevere and push until there was truly nothing left to fix.
It was a struggle to read this novel because I may not have reached the age in which I could be consumed with these thoughts but I found myself wishing that life was in a way easier. That marriages didn't fail or fall apart, that one doesn't lose their job as easily as it was to gain it, but also that one does not have to see their child or children suffer because they were born with an illness or see them grow up healthy and beautiful but then fall apart. However, through all this the characters were able to see that even though at times they may feel alone, they aren't. They grew up and found themselves in those moments in which they could have given up or fell apart. This truthful depicts the highs and lows of adulthood.
I am left in shock by Alice Adams debut novel and will be definitely keeping an eye on anything else she writes because if it is anything like Invisible Summer then it is bound to be a hit.
If you like emotional, beautifully written, captivating, heartfelt novels then I would definitely recommend you not only check this novel out but also pre-order it today. It is definitely a novel I will remember for a long time.
June 28 2016
Summary from Goodreads:
Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey. Inseparable throughout college, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien graduate in 1997, into an exhilarating world on the brink of a new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and eager to shrug off the socialist politics of her upbringing, Eva breaks away to work for a big bank. Benedict, a budding scientist who's pined for Eva for years, stays on to complete his PhD in physics, devoting his life to chasing particles as elusive as the object of his affection. Siblings Sylvie and Lucien, never much inclined toward mortgages or monogamy, pursue more bohemian existences-she as an aspiring artist and he as a club promoter and professional partyer. But as their twenties give way to their thirties, the group struggles to navigate their thwarted dreams. Scattered across Europe and no longer convinced they are truly the masters of their fates, the once close-knit friends find themselves filled with longing for their youth- and for one another. Broken hearts and broken careers draw the foursome together again, but in ways they never could have imagined.
A dazzling depiction of the highs and lows of adulthood, Invincible Summer is a story about finding the courage to carry on in the wake of disappointment, and a powerful testament to love and friendship as the constants in an ever-changing world.
ARC was kindly provided by publisher, Hachette Book Group, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
Alice Adams is half Australian but has lived in England for most of her life, growing up in a house without a TV and as a result becoming a voracious reader. Career-wise, she's done everything from waitressing to investment banking, and in addition to a BA in philosophy, she has a multitude of geeky math, finance, and computer qualifications. She lives in North London but escapes into the wilderness as often as possible. Invincible Summer is her first novel and she's hard at work on a second.