Publication Date: March 26, 2017.
Publisher: Independently published.
Genres: Romance, Mental Health, New Adult, and Contemporary Romance.
Synopsis: It’s not just a weekend for Lux Castelo. She has a plan, of course.
Phase One: Escape to the beach for a music festival.
Phase Two: Deal with what she can’t control.
Phase Three: Return to reality whole and ready.
Nowhere in that plan is Micah Jacinto, self-proclaimed adventurer and the kind of boy with his head stuck in the clouds and the moon inked on his arm—everything her rational sense tells her to stay away from. And yet Lux finds herself welcoming the distraction. As they spend the entire weekend together, Micah leads her to rediscover the lost pieces of herself amidst the excitement and the confusion of a raving mosh pit.
But all weekends come to an end and Lux needs to return to the dreaded reality she’s running away from. Does being brave enough to leave summer behind mean being brave enough to ask Micah to stay?
Content warning: this book deals with depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm. Some of this will also be discussed in my review.
What makes Sounds Like Summer a must-read romance novel is the fact that it mixes the best parts of what makes a typical summer romance novel amazing with heavy hitting topics such as what it’s like to live with depression. This book is about Lux Castelo and Micah Jacinto and the weekend they spend at Summer Storm — a weekend-long festival filled with live music acts, parties, and time spent at the beach by the ocean. However, this book is about more than just the romance; this weekend is about Lux escaping her life for a weekend to process what she has been through because of her depression and to, for a moment, forget. After Lux and Micah spend this weekend together, they find out that what happens at a summer festival does not have to stay there and sometimes the smallest of coincidences can lead to the greatest of adventures, no matter how small and scary they might be.
Maybe one day, twenty years from now, I can fully rationalize and justify having lunch with Micah, a complete stranger I met on the bus. I would call it my moment of insanity. A decision I made under duress. A mistake that I will forever regret. I would blame it on the sun, the sand, and the surf, and his smile. Definitely that smile. Witchcraft, I tell you.
This story, about unexpected new beginnings and the magic of summer adventures, is a romance with your typical meet cute. Lux and Micah first meet as they happen to sit next to each other on their bus to Summer Storm. That single encounter start of their weekend, a weekend that turns out be quite different from what they first imagined and planned it would be. Instantly, there is something between Lux and Micah and it’s clear that when they spend time together things are just good between them.
Micah is laidback, with moon tattoos and adventure written all over him whereas Lux is more focused on what’s logical and is less of a spontaneous type of person. They are very different but they complement each other well. Micah can be described as a chatterbox and Lux never wants to stop hearing him talk. As they spend this weekend together they bond over music and life, both of them slowly opening up more and more. Their interactions are never rushed and it’s very clear that there is a potential for something more between them. It’s a slow romance and Lux and Micah take it one small step at a time. Their connection is sweet, tender, and just a little bit magnetic.
Like I’m halfway through the threshold of something, something that’s both frightening and exhilarating in a mutually exclusive sense. Maybe that’s what the moons on his arm mean. Maybe he’s the moon.
Lux, the protagonist of Sounds Like Summer, is diagnosed with clinical depression and I love the way that is portrayed in the book. Lux is a scientist in a STEM field and is a part of an institute at her university. The book tackles the extreme pressure and competitiveness that can exist in that environment. Academia is tough and mental illness can make that even harder. As someone who has been in a similar situation (in Academia but not in a STEM field) this book really made me feel seen. After being in a tough situation for a very long time, Lux decides to do what’s best for her mental health and that was such a powerful thing to see. Despite all the pain, and her rough times with suicidal thoughts and self-harm, Lux finds the strength to leave behind something that hurts her more than it helps her. Moreover, this book never implies that romance cures mental illness and I really love that we got to see that together with Lux working through what she has been through on her terms.
Sounds Like Summer is ultimately about Lux discovering a part of herself that is filled with wonder and excitement. For me, this book is about how there exists good even amidst the bad. Among all the bad days there is also exhilarating weekends spent at music festivals. Weekends where one might meet an adventurous boy who will fill you with excitement and spend time with you by the beach just talking and talking for hours until the sun goes up. The essence of this book is that despite all the scary moments and the darkness, the sun will rise and light up the morning: some moments are just simply good.
I’m here. I’m alive. A surge of electricity darts across my arms, my legs, and all throughout my body. I take a breath, and it’s like taking in air for the very first time. My lungs fill with a sense of possibility, and my heart feels like it’s suddenly been filled with a sense of hope.
Sounds Like Summer is the perfect read for anyone who is in love with summer music festivals, the beach, a slow building romance that is sweet and epic, boys with moon tattoos, and the feeling of adventure in the air. The book manages to convey all of this while also portraying the main character diagnosed with depression in the most realistic way. The ending of this story is open and filled with the promise of love and new beginnings. This book is one you definitely need on your radar. It has become one of my absolute favorite romance novels and I desperately wish there was more of Lux and Micah’s story out there so I could continue reading about them. I hope you’ll take a chance on them.