Elizabeth Margaret–better known as Em–has always known what her life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard, and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is, it’s not what she wants. So when she gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em learns that her family has some pretty significant secrets. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn’t. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels that for the first time ever, she is really living life on her own terms.

With the weather here in Kentucky in the 90s, books about summer pretty much scream their appropriateness. I love the lightness that most “summer reads” call for, but at the same time I love books based in the summer that are troubled. The Summer My Life Began balances both nicely. Em has lived her life under a strict rule of her parents and grandmother. Her life has been planned out for her, but when she gets an offer for a summer vacation from an aunt she’s never met she is determined to go.

The Summer My Life Began is a type of coming of age story that I can’t help but be intrigued by. Can you imagine this mysterious relative appearing and getting the chance of a lifetime to get away? It’s the sort of concept I’m fascinated with. Em’s character surprised me with how down to earth she really was, considering her background. This is a girl whose lived to please, but has little “rebellions” that for the average person aren’t rebellions at all but facts of life.

While I loved the romance story behind The Summer My Life Began, I was more intrigued with her family history than her dating. Em’s ease of being in this completely new situation threw me off a bit, but I liked it. It showed that Em is a pretty strong character. Throughout the entire book I wondered just what all of the secrets were, but couldn’t help but smile at Em’s relationship with her newfound family and her new life.

The Summer My Life Began is definitely a book to watch for this summer! It’s light enough to be a beach read, but deep enough that it can entertain in any and all situations.

I received my copy of The Summer My Life Began in exchange for my honest opinion.