cover image The Best Summer of Our Lives

The Best Summer of Our Lives

Rachel Hauck. Bethany House, $17.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-7642-4097-3

The feel-good latest from Hauck (You’ll Be Mine) follows four former best friends who find their way back to one another. Snow, Summer, Spring, and Autumn have been friends since kindergarten, when they met and dubbed their clique “the Seasons.” The summer before college, the four fill the nearby university swimming pool with car wash soap as a prank and are sent to Camp Tumbleweed to serve as counselors to complete a community service sentence. Meanwhile, each girl is caught at a tenuous personal crossroads: Summer struggles to find her place in a family that’s falling apart, Spring’s hiding a pregnancy, Autumn contends with debilitating anxiety, and Snow navigates the emotional aftermath of her older brother’s death. At the end of the summer, the four have a friendship-ending fight that lays bare the secrets they’ve been keeping. When Summer ends up back in Tumbleweed 20 years later, a friend calls the other three to return and mend things, though forgiving one another proves harder than anticipated—and will require some faith. While the four protagonists don’t always feel equally developed (Summer comes across most vividly), Hauck’s exploration of friendship, second chances, and faith is tender and often emotionally nuanced. It’s an undeniable heartwarmer. (June)