Review: Invincible Summer

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz was released in the U.S. on April 19, 2011 in paperback and eBook formats. It is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

Published by Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster, the print edition is 288 pages.

Goodreads description:

Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive….

Not your typical beach read.


When you’re young, summer is a time of freedom – from school, from schedules, from the repetitiveness of everyday life. It’s a time for family and friends. A time for relaxation. A time to be carefree and careless.

But summer isn’t always about beaches and sunshine and fun. Sometimes it’s in summer when the moments that define your life happen. Moments that will shape the rest of the year and take you through the seemingly infinite months until summer rolls around once more.

Sometimes it’s during that short span of time that is summer, as the sun beats down and the days seem endless, that your world can fall apart. That what you were so sure of in fall and winter and spring can reveal itself as fragile and as fleeting as time itself.

And as you pass through those long, hot days, with a backdrop of light and laughter, summer’s cruelty can mock you. It can expose you as insignificant and powerless and breakable while summer itself remains invincible.


Invincible Summer is a subtly powerful, immensely sad and beautifully written story about relationships and family and loss that will continue to resonate long after the final word has been read and the book has been closed.

Author Hannah Moskowitz has penned a sorrowful tale about one teenage boy’s life and observations over the course of four summers. Summers that had a much more profound effect on his life than any of those times in between.

Readers get just a peek at Chase’s life during the summers of his fifteenth through eighteenth birthday as he watches his family grow and change and ultimately collapse around him as he tries so hard to keep everything together.

Above all else, family is what is important to him. It is the core of who he is. And over those four summers he learns just how much his own happiness is tied into his family and how little control he has over either.

Invincible Summer is not a light or superficial read. Readers should not expect a light-hearted summer romance or a story of fun in the sun. There is depth to the story that becomes apparent as each summer fades into fall, growing darker with each passing year and as the innocence of youth is lost.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

I could tell right from the start that I loved the author’s writing, but it took one summer before I began to feel a connection to the story and two full summers before I was hooked.

It was the third summer that turned everything around for me with this story and made me feel that there was meaning for me hidden in the pages. The third summer worked its magic and entranced me with the beauty of the words and the underlying despair. And the third summer allowed me to relate to some of the things going on with the main character and his family.

I might have engaged much sooner, but for the considerable spouting of Camus. While I grew to understand how his writing related to the characters and the story, at first I didn’t and it wasn’t made clear at the outset as to why a fifteen-year-old boy felt so connected with him that he would memorize passages and relate them to his life.

For the first summer I asked myself why I should care about the character and couldn’t quite come up with an answer. I often love when I feel disconnected from a character, but then I need something in the story to make me want to find out more, and in the first summer I didn’t find that foothold. It came slowly, but it did finally hit, and was actually rather powerful once I sat with this story for awhile.

I was on the fence about my rating and I’m glad I didn’t post my review immediately upon finishing the book. It actually began to affect me the longer I sat with it, thought about the characters and felt what Chase truly lost.

This may not be a story to everyone’s taste – although I grew to at first appreciate and then to love it – and the description is so misleading that it could turn people off the story. If they are expecting a drama-filled summer romance with two brothers battling for the affection of a girl, this is definitely so far from that. I don’t usually like to criticize, but it doesn’t seem that the person who wrote that description actually read this book. This is a story about family, and a highly dysfunctional one at that, and not about some love triangle with a summer girl.

As I was reading this story it reminded me of some of John Irving’s books and his interesting familial relationships. There were other parts that reminded me of Herman Raucher’s Summer of ’42. But in the end the author’s voice was her own and the story came together in that third and fourth summer.

At the end, I was left empty, hollowed out and feeling a great sense of loss – maybe not for Chase, but for the loss of innocence, the loss of family and the loss of what could have been.


I actually have two favorite passages, but one is much too revealing. Here’s the other:

When you’re grieving, the times you’re happy are so much more tragic than the times that you aren’t. Because being happy feels fake and it feels temporary and it feels meaningless.

To read an excerpt of chapter one from the publisher’s website, click here.

Book trailer for Invincible Summer:

This review is based on an eARC I received as part of Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program.

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