Happy Thursday, Reading Nook!
It's almost summer, which means it's time for summer reads! And I found a perfect book to kick-off my summer reading this week, with Three Day Summer.
Sarvenaz Tash shares a sweet romance between two unlikely teens, set against the iconic Woodstock festival. It's a funny and charming book, that absolutely captures the generous, energetic spirit of the period.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format read: E-ARC via publisher
Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment, and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.
Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She’s volunteering in the medical tent. She’s like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert, and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.
When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And they’ve got three days of the most epic summer ahead of them…
Tash introduces us to Michael and Cora, two young teens who meet by chance at the start of Woodstock. However, both have more in common than they think; Michael is trying to figure out what to do with his life, and Cora is struggling with her desire to be a doctor, in a still very male-dominated field.
Over the course of the next three days, as legendary bands take to the stage and attendees experience the bliss of living in a temporary musical utopia, Michael and Cora will challenge each other's expectations on life and love, and learn to find their way...
I've read many, many books with a boy-meets-girl-at-extraordinary-location premise before, but nothing that has captured my imagination as Tash's book. From their first inopportune meeting in the medical tents, to the first stirrings of love against a 24/7 all-star musical backdrop, Tash is able to show just why this is an unforgettable moment of time for both Michael and Cora.
Even though both have arrived at the festival with emotional baggage of their own, it's easy to see how the festival inspire both Michael and Cora to look at their problems a little differently. Rather than focus on the sheer chaos a crowd of that size can cause, Tash does a great job of conveying the energy and inspiration that comes with hanging out with thousands of other like-minded folks, especially when there are so few rules and demands on a life.
Tash teasingly shows Michael taking advantage of the environment - albeit, in occasionally not well-thoughout ways - to live out his musical fantasies, and to find his own passion in both personal and professional arenas; while Cora learns to let loose a little, and is also inspired to both pursue her dreams, but to also pursue a different type of relationship with her family.
Outside of Michael and Cora's core romance, Tash does an exceptional job of showing just why Woodstock is stil considered an iconic representation of the idyllic, no-holds-barred attitude of the 1960s. Rock idols aren't swept up in the protected, media-driven culture of today - there are great encounters with rock legends throughout the book, including a poignant moment with Jimi Hendrix - and there's an almost unfathomable degree of positivity and kindness amongst the attendees, as they share food, toiletries and life experiences.
At multiple points throughout the book, Michael and Cora are both faced with reminders of just how unusual and fantastic the positivity can be, and Tash really encourages readers to wonder just what it is about Woodstock that has encouraged such a degree of love and happiness, and just how it can be reproduced in the greater world, especially as the Vietnam War continues on.
And while we don't necessarily get answers in this case, or even a firm path for the romance between Michael and Cora, Tash makes it very clear that the experiences of this three-day period have irrevocably changed attendees forever. They'll continue to help spread their Woodstock-gained positivity with the rest of the world, and hopefully help make the world a little better.
Tash's book will absolutely make you wish that you too could travel back to witness the optimism, no-holds barred delight of Woodstock, and live with the same zest for life. But more importantly, she'll also make you love the choices and mistakes of Michael and Cora, as well. Together, the two of them prove that being young isn't always full of drama or misgivings. It's also a time when you can take risks, push yourself, and do incredible things, to help you become the person that you want to be.
I'm so glad that the two of them - and a host of seriously good music - has been brought into my life, and I'm super confident that all of you will agree. So do yourself a favor, and get this book.
Highly, highly recommend this joyous, musical book, full stop.
About the author:
Sarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran, and grew up on Long Island, New York. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies. (It was a lot of fun.) She has dabbled in all sorts of writing, including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. Sarvenaz currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.