The Summer of Bitter and Sweet Summary and Reviews

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet

by Jen Ferguson

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson X
The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson
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Book Summary

In this complex and emotionally resonant novel about a Métis girl living on the Canadian prairies, debut author Jen Ferguson serves up a powerful story about rage, secrets, and all the spectrums that make up a person - and the sweetness that can still live alongside the bitterest truth.

Lou has enough confusion in front of her this summer. She'll be working in her family's ice-cream shack with her newly ex-boyfriend—whose kisses never made her feel desire, only discomfort—and her former best friend, King, who is back in their Canadian prairie town after disappearing three years ago without a word.

But when she gets a letter from her biological father—a man she hoped would stay behind bars for the rest of his life—Lou immediately knows that she cannot meet him, no matter how much he insists.

While King's friendship makes Lou feel safer and warmer than she would have thought possible, when her family's business comes under threat, she soon realizes that she can't ignore her father forever.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"In a layered first-person portrayal of a young Indigenous woman navigating the edge of adulthood, Ferguson (who is Métis and white) tackles necessary issues—of identity and sexuality alongside colonialism, generational trauma, racism, physical and sexual assault, and substance reliance—through well-wrought, complicated characterizations and prose that sings with poetry." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Debut author Ferguson, who is Métis and White, touches on intergenerational family suffering at the hands of the state, mental health, substance abuse, racism, sexual harassment and assault, and missing and murdered Indigenous women—all with nuance and care. Heart-rending and healing; a winning blend that will leave readers satisfied." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Ferguson's frank and powerful debut opens readers' eyes to the multiplicity of daily traumas faced by people of color, especially Indigenous women and girls. Ferguson, herself Michif/Métis and white, boldly writes on many challenging topics, including racism, physical violence, sexual identity, sexual assault, and teen alcohol use. Lou is complex, smart, and honest, and a narrator readers will trust, love, and learn from as she works to repair friendships and gain security for her treasured family." - Booklist (starred review)

"Young adult readers can relate to the struggles Lou is facing as she navigates her transition from high school to college, and also use them as a conversation starter about race, identity, sexuality, dating, and friendship." - Horn Book (starred review)

This information about The Summer of Bitter and Sweet was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jen Ferguson

Jen Ferguson is Michif/Métis and white, an activist, an intersectional feminist, an auntie, and an accomplice armed with a PhD in English and creative writing.

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