Jennifer Kelland Perry
Samantha Cross has always been in her older sister Veronica’s shadow, but this could be a summer of big changes. When the Cross girls move with their mother from Calmer Cove to the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Samantha’s first friend is a handsome eighteen-year-old boy, Ben Swift. Samantha watches the inevitable sparks fly between Ben and Veronica and she knows she can’t compete with her sister’s beauty and flirtatious charms. Maybe, she dreams, Ben will tire of Ronnie and appreciate Sam’s love of books and artistic talents. And maybe he will notice those pretty green eyes behind her glasses.
What sounds like a simple story of first love is much more complex, however, because the Cross family has been upended by crisis. The girls’ parents have separated, money is tight and their mother Darlene is drinking too much. Between Darlene working the night shift and her father far away in Alberta, Sam and Ronnie are on their own to navigate the new social terrain. High school starts in a couple months but for now it’s new friends, parties and Ben.
Ben may seem like the perfect guy, but he is keeping his own family problems shut tight in his head. As the weeks pass, sibling rivalry, jealousy, misunderstandings and fistfights add tension to romance and friendship and the Cross family spirals towards disaster.
Calmer Girls is a realistic and at times, edgy Young Adult coming of age novel, taking the typical problems of adolescence and placing it in a part of the world many people have not seen. Perry also includes the important subjects of alcoholism, abuse and economic downturn to make her story both relevant and meaningful. Set in the 1990s, readers will also enjoy many references to popular music, including Pearl Jam, Green Day, REM and Nirvana.
I very much enjoyed reading Calmer Girls and I chose this book for my summer reading challenge to read about a place I would like to visit. Newfoundland, Canada sounds like a beautiful place and it’s easy to picture the scenes, thanks to Perry’s descriptive talent. From a sizzling plate of “chips” and gravy, seasoned with packets of vinegar and salt, to city street scenes and the beauty of the sea, Calmer Girls is both a love story and a visit to a charming place.
Follow along as I work my way through my 16 in 16 Challenge!
Book 1 – A Book You Can Finish in a Day: The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
Book 2 – A Book in a Genre You Typically Don’t Read: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
Book 3 – A Book with a Blue Cover: The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Book 4 – A Book Translated to English: I Refuse by Per Petterson
Book 5 – A Second Book in a Series: Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy
Book 6 -A Book To Learn Something New: The Beginner’s Photography Guide by Chris Gatcum
Book 7 – A Book That Was Banned: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
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