In Invincible Summer, we follow a group of four good friends – Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien – from their college graduation to their late thirties/early forties. This book is written in bits and pieces, snapshots from the lives of these characters as they grow together and apart through the years.
There’s not much here that’s going to shock you. There are no real plot twists, nothing I didn’t see coming from a mile away, but this is not necessarily bad. You might see the words “hopelessly in love” or “pined for years” in the blurb, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that this is a romance. This is a book about friends and the ways in which their lives diverge and come together again over the years.
I think that this is a book that I would not have enjoyed a few years ago. Because, in this book, these very good friends grow apart as life happens. A few years ago, I would have sworn that you can maintain friendships no matter what. If it falls apart, it’s because you’re not trying. But then I moved halfway across the country, and, well, that makes things a little harder.
In this book, a lot happens to these four friends that creates barriers, or even just a sense of weirdness, when they hang out. Some of the characters get married, and their spouses aren’t keen on having them hang out with their single, opposite sex friends. Then come kids, and that creates a definite problem for friends who are used to hanging out at the bar. Characters move to different countries or get wrapped up in work or develop their own problems that they don’t want to share with the group, and things just fall apart. Years go by without them talking.
One of the things I really liked about this book is that these friends always find their way back together, even if it takes awhile. It was reassuring for me, someone who’s been in similar situations.
The plot kind of comes in waves – we’ll get something really interesting followed by some pretty boring filler, but that’s life, I guess.
I enjoyed this one more than I didn’t, so I’ll settle on a solid three stars.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.
Final rating: ★★★☆☆