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Hello, Summer

Review

Hello, Summer

Mary Kay Andrews has an impressive resume of bestselling beach reads. HELLO, SUMMER exceeds all expectations.

Sarah Hawkins, who goes by Conley to maintain a more serious air, is an award-winning journalist who is about to move to Washington, D.C. and start a cushy new job. However, in the middle of trying to escape her farewell party, she is notified that the position has fallen through. As an experienced journalist in an ever-shrinking print industry, Conley is in limbo, with no job or housing. She has no choice but to move back to her hometown of Silver Bay, Florida.

Aside from the occasional obligatory weekend visit, Conley hasn’t been back there for years. She returns to find herself in the same position she was when she left --- reluctantly working for her older sister, Grayson, on their family newspaper, ​The Silver Bay Beacon.

"HELLO, SUMMER is everything you’ve ever wanted in a fun beach read, with a perfect touch of Southern charm. There is drama, romance, politics, family, mystery and an underdog fight. Though fast-paced, you will waste no time getting attached to these lovable characters."

Soon Conley witnesses the sketchy death of a local congressman, which drives her into investigation mode. Secrets and scandals abound as she presses deeper into the life of this politician. While digging for the truth, she is tasked with managing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer,” and helping Grayson drag their outdated newspaper above water. Along with her reporter duties, she juggles romantic interests and family drama. Forced to confront both her and the deceased congressman’s past, she finds nostalgic stories and unresolved conflicts.

Conley is a headstrong protagonist who will stop at nothing for a story. It was inspiring to see a woman of such drive, taking what she wanted from the world. She seems so passionate about her job, which made the book so much more captivating. Additionally, the Southern women were quite well-written and entertaining; they are forces to be reckoned with. I loved G’mama and her sassy remarks. With a tough-as-nails attitude and a superhero complex, she faces getting older with dignity and strength.

I very much liked the small-town setting that Andrews depicts. The suffocating social norms must be obeyed, punishable by social excommunication. With regards to the suffering newspaper, its relationship to the community is its lifeblood. With the stakes so high, Conley must find a balance between discovering the truth and not crippling the current relationship between town and press.

Another aspect of this setting that I appreciated was the abundance of gossip. Everyone knows each other’s business, which added a fun, personal touch that I enjoyed reading about. The information that was divulged proved to be important to the investigation as well. Each nugget of knowledge was like a piece to the puzzle, and it all tied together in the most satisfying way.

Although the book is mostly lighthearted, there are some serious topics that Andrews addresses, and I would caution readers who are triggered by rape or suicide. However, these issues are not the main focus of the story. HELLO, SUMMER is everything you’ve ever wanted in a fun beach read, with a perfect touch of Southern charm. There is drama, romance, politics, family, mystery and an underdog fight. Though fast-paced, you will waste no time getting attached to these lovable characters.

Reviewed by Alison Lee on May 7, 2020

Hello, Summer
by Mary Kay Andrews

  • Publication Date: May 5, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250256925
  • ISBN-13: 9781250256928