Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Title: How My Summer Went Up In Flames
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: May 7th 2013
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, road trip, friendship
Source: Edelweiss

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

Summary by Goodreads

Last year I read the summary of HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES and immediately knew that I had to read Jennifer Salvato Doktorski's 2013 debut as soon as possible. I was lucky to get approved for an Edelweiss copy in November and what can I say... I loved it. What drew me to HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES in the first place was the well-done combination of an adorable YA contemp cover, edgy title and the impulsivity of our main character Rosie, plus prescribed road trip cure.

Upon first hearing about what brought Rosie in the situation of having to leave her city and go on a road trip with three boys, my first thought was: 'That girl is nuts (lucky)'. She burnt her ex boyfriend's car and can't stop stalking him. But be assured that crazy is only meant by the best possible definition. Rosie is crazy fun and a super lovely girl and friend.  Rosie Catalano is a YA contemp main character you don't see every day. With her mother being from Ecuador and her father Italian, it's no wonder she's very headstrong and temperamental. She is one of the characters whose emotions are very strong, but has a very gentle heart at the same time and is willing to learn from past mistakes.

HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES was such an unusual road trip book -one of my favourites nonetheless- because in other YA contemps characters actually want to go on road trips and are eager to leave their hometown, see many different places, not Rosie.  I wish someone would force me to go on her road trip!
A girl, three boys. Two brothers, and two constellations of best friends. I very much adored our road trip crew and their group dynamics. Going on a road trip with three boys is an adventure of itself. 
Matty is such a great guy and I loved that he and Rosie have been best friends for ages. They know each other well and can always rely on the other. 
Logan is this very laid-back, confident guy with various layers of hidden depth. And his brother Spencer is the cute nerd of the group. I'm totally like Spencer myself, because I am a manic planner and always need to work things out to the smallest detail. 
All three boys have other great things to offer and quirks you just have to want to hug them for. And I tell you Rosie will fall for one of those three boys, but you have to read Jen's debut to find out who it will be. Don't be scared if you want her to end up with all three of them, it's only natural these boys will steal your heart!  
But they are not the only characters that grow on you, Rosie has a best girl friend back home, an adorable dog, and her exceptionally likeable parents and brother. And of course the four meet many new people on their trip, too - numerous curiosities among them. 

Their route suggested a ton of fun. Culture, sightseeing, food, music, a fun park. This road trip is so enjoyable, because they are doing many different things, and no over the top activities or only because others would consider them cool. Rosie, Logan, Matty and Spencer are visiting places they feel like seeing and mean something to each of them. For example the Luray Caverns, Dollywood and the Grand Canyon are stops of their trip. They take with them a collection of unforgettable memories, stories of friendship and romantic feelings that will last for a lifetime. I wish I could have joined the four on their road trip for real!

1) every girl deserves to live her cowboy fantasies
2) of its unforgettable moments
3) of newfound friendships
4) of a life-changing road trip
5) of charitable propositions

5/5 ***** HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES - A debut charged with exquisite and summery road trip fun you don't want to miss out on!

Jen's book came out only a few days ago and I've read it twice already. You know what makes me so giddy with excitement I could do a book dance all day? Jennifer is working on a sequel to HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES! There aren't many sequels or series in YA contemporary so it's no wonder I'm craving a continuation of a story I loved very much. I can't wait to possibly read more about Rosie and the boys' story!

* Jennifer's second book, FAMOUS LAST WORDS, will be published by Henry Holt and Co. July 2nd!

* For an excerpt of HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES click here.

* Click here for my Q & A with Jennifer Salvato Doktorski.

* Jen did also write a guest post about road trips. Find it here.

* For further information about Jen and her books visit

* Thanks to Jen, Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for providing me with a  review copy of HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES!


  1. OoOoOOO I wanted to read it before, but now? I am dying to read it. I love Road Trip books!

  2. The road trip element also reels me in and glad to hear that you enjoyed. I may go request now :)

  3. Lol, I wish someone would take me on a road trip too! Normally, I'm not a fan of impulsive characters but Rosie sounds crazy in a good way.

  4. Ooooh I can't wait to read this one!! It was already on my TBR list, but since you loved it I'm even more excited. =)

  5. Oh now you have me wanting to read this one. I love the road trip idea and I can see it working. This one just sounds like a lot of fun!

  6. Oh I can't believe that I haven't heard of this book before. It really sounds awesome and as summer time is getting closer I'd love to read a road-trip novel :) Great review :)

  7. Nice this sounds awesome! I've enjoyed every single road trip book I've read and this one sounds like it won't be an exception for sure. I also like how she's forced into it it's a different spin on things. Great review, I def. want to give this a try!

  8. This sounds amazing! I also was so intrigued by this when I first heard about it. I think I'll definitely be bumping it up on my TBR. Amazing review :)

  9. I think you may have just convinced me to pick this one up now! I wasn't really considering it before, but I do like road trip stories (though I've read very few), and the characters sounds like a great group. Brilliant review. :)

  10. Amazing review :) So glad you loved this book. <3 I don't know if it is a book for me, because of the romance thing, I'm just a bit weird about it (A) but oh. I love the cover and it sounds like a fun book :D Thank you for sharing your review. <3

  11. I love road trip books! I'm hoping to get to this one before it expires - but I'm running out of time. Too many books!

  12. This book is on my wishlist, I'm DYING to read it! I'm so glad you loved it!

  13. Heh, Rosie sounds like a blast!! I would want to go on a road trip with her, too. That you've already read this one twice speaks volumes, really! It must be very, very good, I'll take your word for it! I like that it has a sequel because you don't see that very often in contemporaries. This was a fantastic review, by the way!

  14. 5/5! I must read this book. I love road trips! Thanks for the awesome review


  15. Awww, I'm glad you liked this one. It totally looks super cute. I need to get my hands on it ASAP. I love road trip books. They generally have me dying with laughter. I need something cute and I think this is it!

    Thanks for the review!