“Cold Summer” by Gwen Cole
Sky Pony Press, 322 pages, $16.99, May 2, 2017, Goodreads
If anyone is a fan of history, time-traveling, romance and young adult, Gwen Cole has somehow taken all of these things and produced an incredible novel about not only the journey that happens inside oneself, but the journeys that happen with the people around them as well.
Cole’s debut novel is about Kale Jackson, a time-traveling teen who would wish anything to be normal. Having to contend with not only his everyday life in the present, Kale, has to also navigate his life in the past as a sharpshooter during World War II. The PTSD and the unannounced disappearing is enough to put his relationships with his friends and family on edge, but when the girl from several summers ago moves back to town everything changes for Kale.
This novel is so deeply character driven that you get lost in the pages. Cole has this way of making any reader become empathetic with her characters. I found all the characters to be so humanly realistic, which I would say is hard to do given the background of time-traveling that this story is set against. And it’s not only the characters in the present that are fully flushed out, but those that exist during the war are dynamic and attention grabbing.
The pacing of this book is so well done. Cole knows exactly how to give just enough to her readers that keeps them not only satisfied, but also wanting more, but not in a way that makes the reader angry at the author. Also, the end of the book left me very satisfied in terms of where the story went and how things were resolved. I didn’t have any lingering questions, nor did I feel like I was missing anything from the resolution.
Gwen Cole has knocked it out of the park with this debut, and I cannot wait to see what else she has in store for her next novel. You can read a quick Q&A I did with Cole, for my regular day job, here.
Gwen Cole can be reached on Twitter at @GwenCole_ and on Goodreads.