Extremely relatable and downright charming, Laura Silverman’s most recent young adult novel, Those Summer Nights, is a captivating page-turner. Alternating between the present and the previous summer, Silverman molds the protagonist, Hannah Klein, into a complex young woman who is trying to find her new normal after a series of life-changing events. As she begins her summer job at Bonanza, an entertainment multiplex with miniature golf, bowling, and other activities, Hannah must face the demons that continue to haunt on her journey of self-discovery. All audiences, not just young adults, will be able to relate to Hannah’s story.
The novel’s flashbacks allow readers to gain a deeper understanding of Hannah’s character. Hannah loves soccer and had hopes of making it to the Olympics — but then she shattered her ankle. That same summer, she lost her bubbie and made a string of catastrophic decisions; now, she reels with grief. Her summer job helps her recover, offering her friends and mentors.
Silverman does an excellent job weaving in Jewish representation, as when she depicts Hannah’s relationship to her beloved bubbie and her friends from Hebrew school. While Judaism isn’t central to the storyline, Silverman makes sure to incorporate plenty of Jewish content, such that there’s no mistaking the protagonist’s Jewish identity.
Elizabeth Slotnick works in the technology space but has a growing presence on bookstagram, where she reviews books spanning across all genres. She graduated from the University of Virginia and lives in Seattle, WA.