“Big Summer” by Jennifer Weiner was an entertaining story about female friendships, frenemies, self love, family, resilience and life as an Instagram influencer. I went into this book blind and was happy that I did, as there was a pleasantly surprising whodunnit twist to the story that I wasn’t expecting!
Six years after the devastating fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is totally shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks right back into her life with a huge favor to ask. Daphne and Drue haven’t spoken a single word to each other in six years, so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the most anticipated wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless and weary of Drue’s intentions.
While Drue was always the one with the seemingly perfect life, she has never been able to maintain healthy friendships. As a result of the fight from six years ago, Daphne’s built a life that she loves and is no longer the same self-effacing sidekick that she was in high school. She has a wonderful friendship with her childhood friend and roommate Darshi, and a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Daphne knows that allowing Drue back into her life is risky, but it includes an irresistible opportunity to spend a weekend at a waterfront Cape Cod mansion- a chance to meet some cute single guys and the perfect Instagram-worthy setting to photograph the new line of clothing she was recently contracted to be the face of.
I enjoyed the character development of Daphne Berg throughout the story and found her to be very strong, relatable and real. We’ve all experienced issues with self-love, body image, sticking up for ourselves, and frenemies, and I loved how gracefully Daphne handled these issues through out the story. Drue Cavanaugh’s character gave off all of the Regina George and Mean Girls vibes, which I both enjoyed and hated. I adored Darshi’s character and felt that she was such a great loyal, loving friend to Daphne- always honest and telling her like it is, but giving her the space to figure things out for herself and providing a non-judgmental, safe space when she needs it most.
One minor aspect of the book that I didn’t completely understand is why the very beginning of the book started off from the perspective of a character who only reappears for a short period of time later in the story. While the story is primarily told by the perspective of Daphne, the initial character perspective at the beginning of the book almost feels out of place and a little unnecessary. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on this as well if you’ve read the book.
A lot of reviews I’ve seen say that this book feels like there are almost two stories in one- the first part of the book feels like a women’s fiction read, while the second half feels like a thriller. I absolutely agree with these thoughts and I think that surprise shift in the story made it that much more enjoyable.
Overall, I thought this was a really enjoyable story. Big Summer is the first book I’ve read by by Jennifer Weiner and I feel like I’ve been missing out. This book was a great first read by this author and I look forward to exploring more of her books!
Beer Recommendation: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner is best paired with Salted Rim by 1623 Brewing Co. This delicious, balanced sour gose gives all of the margarita vibes with notes of lime, salt, and a slight agave after taste 🍻