Indie Review: Summer of the Cicadas by Chelsea Catherine
A Slow Burn
Everything about Jessica “Jess” is a slow burn. From the way she yearns for Natasha to the lingering scent of death that she can’t escape. Jess smolders in the fire pit of life where she encounters a chorus of cicadas that threatens to overtake her small hometown. Her character arc is so subtle, I wondered every few pages how the author would tie up the loose ends in such a short book.
In less than 150 pages Jess has to save the town, find love, and overcome the past that haunts her. The question isn’t can she as much as it is will she. The townspeople haven’t been kind to her so it’s not like she owes them. It’s possible she owes it to herself, but I admit, I had a hard time deciphering that.
Written in first person, present tense POV everything about Jess is passive. I couldn’t tell if it was the author’s style or Jess’ character trait. I wanted to see Jess take her crummy life and douse it with lighter fluid to induce some kind of change. Instead, I kept turning pages as Jess described changes in everyone else.
I had hoped for a raging inferno, but I think someone filled her gas can with water. It’s a shame. Jess deserved more. Maybe the Summer of Jess will come later.
Readers who enjoy stories about plucky teens in peril will find Musick’s novel well written. And because Clare’s viewpoint is so literal, the crimes are more horrific—and the redemption even sweeter.
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Article originally Published in the February / March 2021 Issue: Young Adult.