Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash

Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash
Release Date - May 19, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them...
Woodstock is not a setting you get to read about frequently in YA novels. Three Day Summer immediately caught my eye as a result of it being set there. The setting is indeed magical, but the characters didn't quite spark for me, which left me feeling disconnected and distant from the story.

With a setting like Woodstock, you need to get it right. Research need to be done, and attention to detail will be what brings the setting to life for the reader, or leaves them grasping to feel some kind of connection. The setting, in this case, was the most striking part of the writing. Sarvenaz Tash cares about the music, and getting it right. The three days that this book spans capture the good and bad of one of the most infamous music festivals to take place and each are given equal attention. The feeling of what it must have been like to be part of it is something that is definitely felt. It is immediately evident why this was such a defining event in history, and there is something special about it being captured in fiction.

The characters, for me, did not feel as richly developed as the setting. Michael, in particular, felt generic to me. Nothing stood out about either of them to ensure that they would be memorable in any way. They felt like characters that were there to further the setting rather than ones with their own agency. Instead of them being the focus, it felt like Woodstock was. The romance, as a result, also did not resonate with me. It was hard to be invested in them together, when I did feel anything for them as individuals. It was cute enough, and there were moments that captured the more relaxed attitude to love and sex that was prevalent in the 60's, but it never quite leapt off the page the way I wanted it to.

The political, and social issues of the 1960's, particularly around the time of Woodstock, are touched upon but this story stops just short of going as in depth as I would  have liked. It would have elevated this novel from a typical romance into something with much more heft. Those looking for a story that transports you into Woodstock will mostly walk away satisfied, but the factors that led to an event like Woodstock happening are mostly a footnote or background. Historically, there was so much going on in the 60's, and the war was a looming presence with anti-war movements happening at the event. I wish it had played a larger, more integral part of the story as I found that to be the most fascinating aspect. This is one of those novels that could have benefited from being a little longer allowing the author to flesh out these elements and the characters a little more.

The unique setting shone in this novel about peace, love and music. It's a fun, fluffy read that doesn't quite have the same lasting impact as the iconic music festival at it's heart did, but one that I found myself enjoying nonetheless. 

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