Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
Published by Sky Pony Press on May 2, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 256 Format: eARC Source: EW
I acquired this ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.
Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.
When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.
But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.
I’ve found myself picking up more and more time travel recently so Cold Summer by Gwen Cole was always going to be on my TBR. Kale can travel to the past but has no control over when and where. It’s been happening for most of his life, making it difficult to be present at home. Now with Harper moving back to town and returning to a war zone every couple days, the stakes are at an all time high.
Kale is constantly struggling to find his place as he moves back and forth in time. He can’t seem to fit in either of his lives, son or soldier, and the war is taking its own type of toll. In a similar vein, Harper’s not sure of herself when she moves back, questioning the decisions she’s made. They both have difficult family dynamics especially in regards to parents and it was great to see Harper’s uncle fill that role.
The time travel part of this story totally holds up. It’s the simplicity of the past being the future. No convoluted theories or science to comprehend. No machines, just a feeling before Kale goes. Plus this story totally shuts down the idealization of the past forcing the reader to acknowledge the horrors of another time. There’s plenty of bad to go with the good and sometimes I think that’s forgotten.
I found the premise of this one to be really intriguing but the blurb gives way too much away. Thankfully I hadn’t looked at it again before reading. All of the elements of this story were great, I just wanted more from it. I felt like there was something missing, an overall connection that wasn’t there. I don’t know if it was the the writing or flow but something threw me off.
Overall Cold Summer by Gwen Cole was an interesting take on time travel with a story that could have used a little more. With that being said I did enjoy this reading experience and liked Kale and Harper quite a bit. It’s a quick read, I just wanted more in all areas. If you like time travel, this book will definitely draw you in. Worth a look, for sure!
So are you looking forward to Cold Summer? Interested in time travel stories? Let me know in the comments below!