Blog Tour ~~ The Summer Remains by Seth King
Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may very well end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.
As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app – and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.
Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.
The Blushing Babes and Seth King
Bash At The Beach- Harrah’s Atlantic City
KERRY’S 5 STAR REVIEW (added 6/12/15)
When I opened the first page, I was hooked on Summer’s story… I didn’t know what to except and let me say this I wasn’t prepared to have my heart ripped out, my emotions were all over and I’m not a big crier but Summers story is so beautiful inside and out. I still get emotional when telling someone about this book.
Summer’s story is one that will stay with you and have you reflect on life has a whole, will have you look at everything in a different way, has people we look at things in a superficial, judge mental ways and who are we to do these things.. What are we trying to hide behind. Summer is a young women who grabs life has she see it and wants to experience things in life that we take for granted.
Summer is the most selfless person that you meet and she just has the most beautiful soul and never asks or wants anything in return, she truly is a hero!
Two of my book buddies (Jade & Louisa) have been raving about this book so I took a chance on it but let me tell you I was so blown away and speechless, I wanted to scream at someone, I was a complete mess I kid you not, crying uncontrollably. This is one story that will stay with, it was we’ll written, beautiful story about a selfless person who was going through something that none of us can imagine
I have so many emotions going on inside and I am in such a book funk now.. I can’t stop thinking about this book and Summer’s story it has ripped me apart and Cooper he is just the most incredible person that you would want to meet.
The two of these characters are going to stay with me, I highly recommend this book it deserves more than 5 stars… I really can’t stop talking about this book
JADE’S 5 STAR REVIEW (added 5/27/15)
Seth King has given us all a gift when he wrote The Summer Remains. A gift of love & a REAL perspective on life that I will take with me forever.
“We don’t get to choose how much time we get in this life, but we do get to choose how we spend it.”
The story of Summer and Cooper is beautiful within itself. But the beauty in it is also HOW it’s written. Seth King’s writing is fresh and brand new. His analogies are fresh (“… I was like a piece of a puzzle that had become so wet and swollen from the condensation of a glass left on a coffee table, I no longer fit anywhere.”) and they throw you right into the mind of Summer or Cooper and you LIVE that moment with them… Gutted by how unfair life can be and you want to change the destiny Summer has been handed. But through tears I found myself laughing at his use of words (“…when you live in Florida and it was a humid eighty-seven degrees at 7pm and socks made you swear like a vegan in a bacon factory…”). It was unlike anything I’ve ever read. Funny in one moment and tears seeping from my eyes the next.
The lessons though that Seth King teaches us are what’s priceless. “No I’m just a human. And I fight. That’s what we do. We have to. There is no other option.” I might tattoo this on myself to remind me of this reality when I forget. Seth has made me want to be a better human with this story. I will now not only look at different people, but SEE THEM. I will not only listen to different people, but I will HEAR THEM.
“Miracles are everywhere, Summer. All you have to do is stay positive enough to notice them.”
And that I will try because of The Summer Remains. Summer was faced with the inevitable, as in reality we all are. But she managed to touch people to their cores and change them for the better even when the demise of her beautiful life nipped at her heels. She’s a stunning character full of life even though it could slip away shortly. She’s real and her thoughts are those of every single 24 year old who is consumed by the facade of social media. Summer lived her life HONESTLY and only shared it with those deserving of her.
Cooper Nichols teaches us about facades as well. He’s good looking, funny and smart. Picture perfect as most would say. But what everyone needs to realize is that what’s displayed for all the world to see on the outside isn’t necessarily what’s lying on the inside.
“You know, we all have scars, Summer. If yours are only on the outside you should consider yourself lucky.”- Cooper Nichols
Yes Cooper is all of those wonderful things but beneath the surface lies his struggles with life, family, addiction, loss, and his own pain. Not everything is as what it seems. Ever… So do not judge people from what you initially see.
Which brings me to Seth King’s Note To Readers at the end of this magnificent gift. Read it… THIS was the part, to be honest, when I truly “lost it”. I had no idea when I began Summer & Cooper’s story that it was inspired by truth. Thank you Seth for sharing even a small piece of Martin with us. I’m sure he was incredible but please know that I will strive to now be incredible too because of your writing.
DAWN’S 4 STAR REVIEW (added 5/27/15)
The Summer remains by Seth King is like nothing I have ever read before. I feel like I am a better person after reading it. It has given me a different perspective on life. How often forget what’s important? How often do we forget to just stop and enjoy the beauty around us? The Summer remains message is profound, powerful and heartbreakingly beautiful. I suddenly find myself taking it all in…
Seth may be a fairly new author, but his book has the feel of a seasoned author. Although, there were some parts, I did find a bit wordy or long winded. But I felt there was reasoning behind it. Like perhaps the author was trying to purge his feelings into words. Tapping into the raw emotions of the story.
You would have to be dead not to feel for all the characters, especially Summer and Cooper. Two absolutely beautiful souls trapped and lost within their lives till they meet… Their love was so pure and true. It wasn’t over night, it blossomed and grew… showing us love doesn’t see our flaws.. love doesn’t know sickness and love can live on forever! This book certainly makes you appreciate your life, your loved ones and especially your health. It will give you faith in the human spirit and It makes you want to hug, kiss and smile more. But most of all, it will make you want to live and love better!! I give Seth King all the credit in the world, he turned a tragedy in his life into something prolific and reflective… Beauty from pain. You can clearly see the book is written from his heart and soul. I can not wait to see what he does next… I think we just got a glimpse of his genius. Float on people….
Louisa’s 5 Star Review
This book has absolutely, utterly blown me away. There are books you will read that will just stick with you forever. This book is that book for me.
The writing in this book is beautiful, descriptive, and brings these characters to life. You will laugh with them, cry with them, feel with them and connect like you should with all character, but rarely do. You have no choice. This author has perfected the romance novel. This isn’t your everyday romance story. Their relationship may be brief but the amount of emotion, intimacy and love they share is epic. It is the love of their lives, soul mates you may even be inclined to say.
We have all fallen in love with Romeo & Juliet, Christian & Ana, Holder & Skye ~~ you need to add Cooper & Summer to that list of timeless couples.
To say you will be emotional while reading this book is saying it lightly, I would venture to say that I lost my breath a few times while reading this book. I had to put it down, compose myself and then go back to reading. How Seth expects us to read this book through the tears, I am not sure.
More beautiful words have never been written! Seth King is now on my list of “must reads”!
Kristine’s 5 Star Review
I’m gonna try my best to write a review that will come close to explain my feelings about Summer Remains. I saw this beautiful cover come up on my news feed constantly one day and my blog sista Louisa was going crazy telling us that we all needed to read this. I’ve stated this another time on a different review that this is what I love about this book community…that it will be hard for brilliant books like this not to hit my kindle screen. This is my first book that I read from Seth King and I’m truly blown away on how perfect he tells a story. He is raw and natural, I was pulled right into this story from page one. I had no idea what to expect…for what I do, is read not one teaser or review before I jump in, so I was solely depending on my fellow post crazed reader friends for telling the honest truth about this one. That it was an absolutely must read….that’s all I needed and I’m all over it and so very greatful I was!
What got me so intrigued about this story in the first few paragraphs was this girl named Summer. What a strong and heroic girl she is. All her intellectual views….her life as she sees it, feels it, deals with it….I feel it too! This girl is unique, very different from many main characters I read about and hear from their point of views. I feel for her, I sympathize and I totally agree 100% with most of what she shares. She opens my eyes through such an art form of dialogue. This girl will never be forgotten.
So as I go on I know this is gonna be an emotional flood for me. As the words tell their story….I’m saying thank you to all my book friends, Louisa, and Seth King! Thank you, thank you…for all these emotions and feelings…this is why I love to read! I’m feeling all the emotions bleeding from these characters….I feel Seth pouring out of them. Truly a remarkable feeling to feel.
So this is going on right from the beginning. Then I meet Cooper. I have a feeling this boy is gonna be another very special character.
“You’re beautiful, and beautiful things don’t demand attention. It just gravitates to them.”
The way these two are together, think together…they are perfect. All they need is each other and everything else just dissapears and leaves thier world. They impact each other in so many wonderful ways. Young in love enjoying their moment even if one knows it won’t be for long. The thing is this is a different love story. A love story that everyone must experience.
Summer remains…will remain in my heart and soul always. This inspirational story reminds me to open my heart, see people for the light inside not the outside. This book left my eyes gushing, my heart on overload with love and compassion for each and every character in this story. After reading the last page and author note I just stared in space and couldn’t stop thinking about everything I just read, everything coming back and I was sad to say goodbye. How do I read something else after this? If I had to pick a book that awed, inspired, and will forever stay inprinted in my heart and soul, it would have to be this one.
On a sunny Tuesday morning towards the end of March, a white-haired man walked into a cold room and told me I might die soon.
I fidgeted on the hospital bed as Dr. Steinberg entered, the late-spring sunlight mocking me as smiled onto the industrial tile floors. I’d known Steinberg since I was four. He’d handled almost all of my throat problems, and I trusted him. He was like a second father to me, and I knew he would always tell me the truth.
That’s why the look on his face scared the living shit out of me.
I listened for the next ten minutes as he gave me the gist of the story. It was all so surreal that my mind could only catch certain phrases before the sentence would run away from me again:
Your esophagus has ruptured again, for good this time…
Your stomach is leaking more and more…
Toxicity levels are through the roof…
Your body just isn’t getting the nutrients it needs from your feeding tube any longer…
And finally, terminal.
“Terminal?” I heard myself squeak, my throat filling up with that weird, shivery feeling you get when you know your life has just changed. Steinberg suddenly became very interested in a fraying string on the sleeve of his jacket.
“T-terminal,” he stuttered. “Summer, the thing is…I’m afraid this is a…well, nobody has ever…”
He finally cleared his throat and met my gaze, tears pooling in the corners of his cerulean eyes. “Sweetheart, I am so sorry to tell you this, but this mountain may be unclimbable for you.”
My mother let out a small, sharp sob in the corner and then clapped her hands over her mouth.
“Okay, unclimbable,” I swallowed, staring down at the floor as I tried to grasp just what that word now meant to me and my family and this weird little life I had created for myself. “Okay. Unclimbable. Okay.”
But Steinberg wasn’t done yet.
“Hold on. I said it may be unclimbable, not that it definitely will be. I want to prepare you, and I don’t want to give you any false hope, but there may be something we can do, Summer. It’s a small chance, but still, it’s a chance. A Hail Mary, if you will.”
I reached up to rub my temples. “Okay, well, survival sounds good. Better than death, I suppose. What is this Hail Mary?”
Steinberg crossed his arms, studied me for a moment, and then took out a chart and launched into a spiel about something called the Porter-Collins Procedure, an extremely major surgery that would perhaps be saving my life in three months’ time.
“Nobody has ever survived this particular operation,” he concluded a few minutes later, skipping all the medical jargon to keep from boring you to death, pardon my pun. “Nobody. It’s been attempted three times, but none of those were ultimately successful. One person survived for three months in intensive care, but she was fifty-one, and in frail health in general. We think you’re a much more viable candidate, but then again, there is no way to be sure. We can do it in two, maybe three months, after I assemble the specialists and create a game plan – considering your health doesn’t take another nosedive before then, that is. If we’re going to try this, we need you in tip-top shape – or as close to that as we can get you, anyway.”
“Okay,” I said again, sitting a little taller. “And what are the chances that this Hail Mary will even work, and that I won’t just die a few days later, anyway?”
He peered down at me from over his glasses. “I’m afraid to say that it would be stretching things to even tell you eighty/twenty.”
I steeled myself and took a breath. “Okay, well, that’s better than a hundred to zero. Let’s go out with a bang, then, Steinberg. Let’s do this.”
He threw up a fist, triumphant, but I could see the fear in his eyes. “It’s settled, then. Hail Mary it is.”
My mom rushed over to sit beside me and kind of hang onto my shoulder as some counselor woman came in who helped families handle these types of situations – “transitions,” she called them, and just hearing that word threatened to pull me under. Dr. Steinberg watched, an apology on his face, as she said things like “preparations” and “options” and “arrangements.” I tried to be polite and pay attention, but truthfully I didn’t give a damn about what she was saying. It was go time, and things were looking grim. I already knew that. The wet, metallic panic erupting in my stomach was due to an entirely different subject.
“And finally,” the counselor, Angie, said in a hushed, clipped, polite voice that spoke of years of having impossible conversations with worried families huddled in chilly waiting rooms, “I work very closely with Last Great Hope, a wonderful organization that specializes in situations like this, and if there is anything you want before the surgery, Summer – a trip to Tahiti, a cabin in the mountains, whatever – we can do it. Or if-”
“Thanks, but no thanks,” I said, making her stop short.
“Wh – excuse me?”
“Save the Disney trips for the twelve-year-olds,” I told her. “Spend all that money on a cancer kid or something; I know the truth about those fairy tales now. Make someone else happy – I’ve got everything I need. Or almost everything.” I paused as everyone leaned in. “I do have one request, actually. First of all, all of you are forgetting something vital.”
“Oh no, did we forget your milk?” my mom asked as she reached for her purse. “I thought I put some-”
“No, Shelly, we did not forget the baby milk I pump into my stomach tube every day to keep myself alive because my throat doesn’t work, but that does have something to do with it.”
As she pouted in my general direction I realized what a complete bitch I was being, and then I realized just as quickly that I probably wouldn’t be able to stop myself anyway.
“What is it, then?” my mom asked, stung, and I took a breath and then pushed it back out.
“Frankly, I need all of you to chill the fuck out.”
My mom dropped her purse onto her lap. Dr. Steinberg looked at me like I’d just tried to jump out of the third story window. Angie held her pen in midair and stared at me, the sun turning her brownish eyes ocher.
“Excuse me, young lady?” my mother asked. “We need to what?”
“Chill the eff out,” I said, editing my language the second time around. “Sorry, but all this emotion and drama and doom and gloom crap is already making me freak out. You’re all forgetting I’ve had a broken throat and a tube in my abdomen since I was in diapers, and that I can handle this. I’ve dealt with health scares before, and I will do it again, no matter how much scarier this Scare is than all the other Scares. Like, I know you’re trying to help and stuff, and I love you, but having meltdowns in front of me is not going to help me deal with all this, so please, I beg you, everyone take a deep breath, close your eyes, and get your panties out of a bunch.”
“We’re sorry,” my mom said after an impossibly long and awkward moment. “It’s just that we need to prepare you for…for what will happen, and-”
“Prepare me to die?” I asked. “Guess what, Shelly, I’m going to die one day, be it in three months or sixty years, and wasting all my time crying over it isn’t going to help. Here’s what I want, my one last wish – or my maybe-not-last wish, or whatever the hell this is.” A tear appeared in my mom’s eye, and I softened my voice as I reached up to wipe her cheek. “Okay. Before the surgery, I want to have a normal summer by the beach,” I began as I cleared her eye and shook the water from my finger. “I want to go to the sea and go to work and read my books and go about my business like usual without everyone breathing down my neck and treating me like A Broken Person, because if I am treated like A Broken Person for one more month of my life I will break some faces, no offense. Shelly, if you so much as make one special meal – I mean, not that I can eat or anything, because I can’t – anyway, I’m burning down the house. There will literally be a pile of smoldering ashes where your kitchen used to be, I promise.” Shelly pouted again, but I trudged through. “I’m serious, no special treatment. No Christmases in July, no excessive hugging, not even a midnight run to Target for some trinkets from the dollar section. And most of all…”
I looked around and, seeing sympathy in everyone’s eyes and knowing this request would be completely futile, said – “No sympathy. Please. The sympathy is what breaks me and makes me feel broken. If this is gonna be my last chance to live and have fun and be normal, then I’m going to need to feel as normal as possible, and that means absolutely no pity, because that separates me from everyone else and makes me Different with a capital D. And if I don’t stay in a good headspace I’m gonna spend the next three months in a fetal position in my closet having an endless anxiety attack about the surgery, so please work with me here and keep the pity locked up.”
A sigh and a smile. Shelly put her hand on mine. “I would never pity you, Summer. You’re the strongest person I know, and you always have been. You know that. We all know that. That’s not what this is about.”
I tried to smile back. “Thanks, Shelly.”
“Anytime. And can you please call me Mom, like a normal twenty-four-year-old?”
“Not a chance, Shelly.”
“Okay, fine. So, then…a Jax Beach summer? Is that really all you want?”
I paused as her words hung in the overly sanitized air. It wasn’t all, and I knew it. As I sat there I thought of the one thing I didn’t have, the one thing I’d never had, the one thing that screamed at me from the silence and jumped out at me from the shadows – and now that this upcoming summer had perhaps just become Summer’s Last Stand, my desire was suddenly more urgent than ever. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop the longing from rising to my face, and as I felt the blood burn my cheeks I caught Steinberg’s eyes again, which just embarrassed me even more.
“Well, I mean, since you’re asking, there is one thing…”
“Anything!” Shelly and Dr. Steinberg said at exactly the same time, and I stared out of the window as my eyes got all weird and watery.
“Okay, well, I know something so sentimental is going to sound crazy coming from someone so…well, you know how I am…”
“Honest?” Steinberg offered, trying to be polite.
“Opinionated?” Shelly said.
“Brash?” Angie asked, even though she’d just met me ten minutes ago and it was literally beyond embarrassing that she already held that opinion of me.
“Headstrong and stubborn and annoying,” I finally said, shoving it out of the way, and they all nodded. “Anyway, here goes. Since you’re asking, the thing is…well, I’d like to fall in love.”
I looked down at the ground again as everyone in the room broke my most important rule already: I could feel their pity descending on me, smothering me just like it had my entire life, snuffing out any chance I had at being treated like a normal, living, breathing human, who deserved to love and be loved just like anyone else, as they say in the Hallmark cards.
“Oh, honey…” Steinberg sighed.
“It just wouldn’t be fair to someone…” my mother chimed in, just as Angie the counselor lady threw in her two cents, too.
“Sweetie, you have to understand, your situation is very serious. People get irrational during times like these, and if you get involved with someone and the worst happened, well-”
I crossed my fingers behind my back and shook my head. I’d known they’d react like this – why had I even tried in the first place? Some things, I knew, were just better left unshared.
“Yeah,” I said. “Okay, yeah, you guys are right. I’ll try to…put that off, I guess. For now. God knows I have tons of time to think about it – it’s not like I’m dying or anything.”
Everyone forced quick, fake laughs and then got back to business. Unbeknownst to them, however, my mind was quickly leaving the room, flying past the barren oak branches outside the window and soaring above the clouds to someplace only I knew. My desires could not be contained by the circumstances in this room, or by sickness, or even by reality in general, really. I wanted love more than anything – this was true, as much as it humiliated me to admit it. I’d wanted love ever since I was a cookie-cutter little girl being brainwashed by cookie-cutter Disney movies about cookie-cutter princes and princesses falling into cookie-cutter love and then prancing off to their cookie-cutter castles to live out their cookie-cutter lives. And strangely enough, this desire had only deepened after the fairy tale fantasies faded away and melted into a more grown up, real-world entity known as relationship FOMO, when my condition had rendered me an observer from the social media sidelines as everyone my age paired up and got engaged and married and pregnant and then shouted about it from the Facebook treetops as loud as their keyboards would let them while I sat there single as a nun with the flu. But I didn’t want that cookie cutter love from the Disney movies and my social media feeds. I didn’t want some run of the mill summer romance that would fizzle out as soon as the sunrays slanted in the fall and the Facebook Official status went to shit.
Because I, Summer Johnson, Purveyor of Pragmatism, Lover of Logic, Ultimate Believer in the Rational, and Person Who Was Maybe Going To Die Soon, wanted to drown in someone.
Seth King is a twenty-five-year-old author and artist.