These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org
Voice of Youth Advocates
VOYA Reviews 2014 June
At New Horizons, young men and women are taught how to fight off their SSA (Same Sex Attraction). Lexi agrees to attend as she wants to fix herself and her relationship with her heart-broken mom. The staff consists of successful graduates of New Horizons, a place where they teach residents how to be proper young men and women; explain how their parents and society guided them toward their illness; and how they must fix it. As much as Lexi wants to change, she grows concerned with some of the program’s practices. When another camper is publicly beaten to rid him of his “homosexual demons,” Lexi has to decide if she is strong enough to take on the truth: Maybe she cannot be changed and New Horizons is not only unethical, but also breaking the law Inspired by Lady Gaga’s song, “Hair,” Verdi has offered an uncomfortable, but realistic, journey into conversion (or reparative) therapy programs. Lexi is a likable protagonist with wide appeal. Many teens can relate to an adolescent who wants to please her mother and struggles with identity and fitting in, losing a father, trying to conform, and needing to call on her inner strength to challenge a leader, a system, or even her own beliefs. The only part of the story that seems unbelievable is the camp itself. Unfortunately, the practices at the camp are very much real. This title is recommended as a quality piece of fiction in a teen collection, and especially as part of an LGBTQ collection.
—Dianna Geers 5Q 4P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.
School Library Journal
SLJ Reviews 2014 April
Gr 9 Up—Lexi Hamilton feels her homosexuality is too much of a burden on her recently widowed mother, so she agrees to go away for the summer. At Camp Horizon, a Christian “un-gaying” institution on the East Coast, each teen reveals his or her past trauma in group therapy sessions led by the evil Jeremiah Martin. What keeps campers cooperating is that, like Lexi, the reality they’ve gotten away from seems much worse. Only Matthew, in love with Justin at home, remains aloof, until Mr. Martin selects him for his personal brand of mistreatment, and a rebellion ensues. Kids’ doubts and misgivings about both identity and religious beliefs get a good airing here, and two books familiar to high school readers—The Great Gatsby and the “Harry Potter” series—provide an interesting backdrop for these discussions. The trouble with The Summer I Wasn’t Me is that since Lexi is likable from the start, we know she isn’t going to change; good for her, but tough on readers, who must endure a contrived and drawn-out ending that attempts to convert this too-long novel into a page-turner.—Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY
[Page 175]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Reviews 2014 April #2
Since the death of Lexi’s father, Lexi’s conservative Christian mother has been a shell of herself. When she discovers the truth about Lexi’s sexuality, her depression worsens, so Lexi agrees to attend a camp that promises to make her straight. But when she falls for a fellow camper, Lexi becomes conflicted. With this crush, as well as a new friend who doesn’t believe in what the camp preaches, Lexi has to decide how she can be true to herself and still keep her family together. Lexi comes off as a bit naive about her camp experience, and the characters that surround her aren’t always fully fleshed out. Furthermore, the eventual reveal about the camp leader and the truth about what has been happening is a bit predictable. But even given the overly neat resolution of Lexi’s crush on Carolyn, their relationship develops in a satisfying way. This would be a fine additional purchase for libraries looking to shore up their LGBT collection.
Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.