Those Summer Nights

S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry. Aug. 2022. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534488397.
Gr 8 Up–After the catastrophic events of her bubbie’s death and a soccer-career-ending injury, Hannah Klein went on a downward spiral that ended with her being sent to a boarding school for troubled teens. Now she’s back home for the summer, determined to stick to a plan that will prevent her from returning to that school and help her figure out life without soccer. The first step is getting a job; lucky for Hannah, her brother Joey works at the local entertainment multiplex, Bonanza, and recommends her for a position there. Hannah just wants to do the mindless tasks required of her, but she soon gets drawn into the unique atmosphere of Bonanza thanks to a friendly group of coworkers, including her brother’s best friend Ethan. As Hannah rebuilds old relationships, develops new ones, and tests out new hobbies, she begins to realize that a life without soccer might not be so unimaginable, or so devastating, after all. The present-day story is interspersed with flashbacks to the previous summer to provide context for Hannah’s current situation. Substance abuse is touched on, though not explored deeply, throughout the story. The well-developed workplace setting and the vibrant personalities of the diverse cast of supporting characters are the perfect complement to the sweet summer romance between Hannah and Ethan, who are both Jewish.
VERDICT Readers who have enjoyed other summer romances featuring unusual jobs, like Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel, Jennifer Dugan’s Hot Dog Girl, and Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything, will find this one to be similarly engaging.

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