Last Summer by Evan Hunter
This book not only makes the list as one of my favorite books for the amazing story line, but also because of the sheer amount of effort I put in to attaining a copy of this book. One night I woke up randomly about two in the morning. Unable to get back to sleep I found a movie called Last Summer starring a young Barbara Hershey. I wanted some background noise in which to fall asleep, but what I got was more powerful. Usually, I'm a believer that the book is somehow always better than the movie so when I discovered that this 1969 movie was based on a 1968 book, I was eager to find a copy in which to sink my teeth in to. After scouring every flea market, vintage bookstore, and Barnes and Noble I was feeling discouraged. So, I took to Amazon after a month of searching and finally received my comfortably worn in copy that I've read multiple times over since.
The story follows the lives and the ever complicated friendship of four teenagers on Fire Island that are coming into their own. It's about growing up and the fine line between childhood and full-fledged teenagerdom. It's about sexual tension and friendship, first loves and the uglier sides of reality that are somehow masked during the seemingly invincible and carefree summertime. This is a book that really explores humanity and really captures that feeling of being fifteen or sixteen years old. It's really raw and wonderful, at times dark and aggressive even. I highly recommend it because though it's about growing up and summertime (plus it's a very quick read), there's an element about it that makes it far more than your average beach read.
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