lake effect | n.
The effect of any lake, especially the Great Lakes, in modifying the weather in nearby areas.
It’s the summer after his senior year, and driven, focused Briggs Henry is ready to leave behind his ex-girlfriend, his comically aggressive grandmother, and his parents’ money troubles for Lake Michigan and its miles of sandy beaches. He’s lined up a summer job working as a personal assistant and living in a gorgeous Victorian on the water—exactly the kind of house Briggs plans to buy his parents once he’s a multi-millionaire. But when he arrives, his boss, the eccentric Mrs. Bosic, tells him to get dressed for her funeral. Uh . . . It’s the first of many funerals they’ll attend this summer—to hilarious and eye-opening effect. Add to this a new set of friends-cum-enemies-cum-friends-again, and Abigail, the mysterious girl next door on whom Briggs’s charms repeatedly fail, and “the lake effect” is beginning to take on a whole new meaning.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published July 11th 2017 by Dial Books
Four stars: A fun, quirky coming of age book with terrific friendships and interesting life lessons.
Briggs Henry has just graduated from high school. His summer plans include a job as a personal assistant for an elderly lady who lives on the beach of Lake Michigan. Even if he has to wait on an old lady, he will be at the beach, and everything is better at the beach. Once at the beach, Briggs meets the eccentric Mrs. Bosic, a Serbian lady who has a strange habit of attending funerals. As the summer progresses, Briggs makes new friends, learns some life lessons and comes away a changed young man. What will Briggs learn on the beach?
What I Liked:
- I went into Lake Effect expecting a funny, romantic story, what I got was something outside my expectations and far more enjoyable. Even though this features a small romance, the romance is not the highlight of the story. Instead this one is all about family, friends and the relationships we forge in life and how they change us. I loved the heart and the humor in this one.
- The best part of the story hands down is Mrs. B. At eight five, she is still going strong. I loved her so much. Mrs. B is from Serbia, and she still hasn’t completely mastered the English language. She is always mixing up words, which is so darn funny. Plus, she likes to attend funerals so she can get ideas on how to plan her own. She has her quirks, but deep down, she is kind, compassionate and wise. She knows a thing or two about life and love, and she is dead on when it comes to relationships. I would recommend reading this for Mrs. B alone.
- For all you romance lovers, there is a small romance. It is subtle and slow, and it never overtakes the story. I liked that. I also appreciated that it didn’t suffer from any unnecessary drama and there weren’t any love triangles. It is a simple romance that evolves from a friendship that was built on conversation and trust.
- Briggs, the main character, comes off as pretentious at first. His life focus is on getting to college and making lots of money after he lived the fall out of his parents losing almost everything. He believes he is charming and witty, and that old woman love him. Thankfully, Briggs grows and changes throughout the story, mostly thanks to his relationship with Mrs. B. He also learns a thing or two about funeral etiquette. I loved the way he changed, especially at the end when it came to his Grandma Ruth. I also appreciated his reevaluation of his future goals and his ideas about careers and money.
- The majority of the book focuses on family and friend relationships. Briggs through the summer, begins to see his familial relationships differently, especially when it comes to his Grandma Ruth and his dad. Briggs had never had a good relationship with Grandma Ruth as she is a brisk, no nonsense woman, however, things change, and for me the highlight of the story was the way Briggs finally got his grandma at the end. I loved that this book was all about relationships instead of a summer romance.
- The book is full of humor. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments, whether they came from Mrs. B mixing up her words, or Briggs making an ass out of himself at a funeral. I loved the quirkiness of the story.
- The end is just right. It ends in a good place, with hope and promise for the future. No cliffhangers or anything ridiculous, which is so refreshing in YA.
And The Not So Much:
- Even though I liked that the romance was subtle and simple, I never felt the connection. It lacked spark and chemistry. I wish that it had been better.
- The story does not flow well, and that is due to the choppy way it is put together. There are way too many chapter breaks. Most chapters are only a few pages long, with some being only a paragraph or so. It made the book disjointed.
- I loved the break through scene with Briggs and Grandma Ruth near the end, I wished that there had been more with them.
The Lake Effect was a surprise for me. I went into this one expecting a typical YA summer romance read, but what a got was a coming of age book with heart and humor. I adored Mrs. B, and I highly recommend checking this out to experience her quirkiness. The one draw back to the book was the choppiness of the story execution. Still it is a laugh out loud read, perfect for summer.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.