February 28, 2021
All he wants to do is skate. But they have other plans for him.
Michael Daniels is seventeen and dreams to enter professional skateboarding contests. But beneath New Manhattan, a city under the oppressive shadow of climate change, exists another world altogether—secret laboratories which threaten society as he knows it.
Those with power will get what they want. No price is too high, even if it means making someone special or robbing them of their dignity, freedom . . . or life.
The price is too high for Michael, though. He has endured his stepfather’s abuse and mind games for almost as long as he remembers. Until one day he takes matters into his own hands, ruining the lives of those he loves most. And his skateboarding friends, Alien and Victor, are his only hope for freedom.
When there is no hope left, friendship is what remains.
Michael, a young adult who lives among the skateboarding community in New York, is grieving from the loss of his mother, who passed away a few months earlier. Michael is left to fend for himself spending most of his time skateboarding, grieving his mum and trying to escape his stepdad’s abuse and control. His younger sister is on holiday at their grandparent’s ranch and his stepdad works long hours. Michael’s dream is to become a professional skateboarder, however, unknown to Michael, his stepdad has sinister plans for him which do not include the skateboarding world. Michael takes matters into his own hands when he needs money to pursue his dream. His stepdad has unacceptable conditions around lending Michael the money. Led by desperation and fear to escape the life he is living, Michael takes control which leads to a life on the run. With the support of his friends, he is able to survive.
There is so much more I could write about this story, but I do not want to give anything away. Some of the contents are shocking and disturbing, though Bernard writes these scenes in a way that makes them a little easier to read. Though Bernard states this is not based on a real life, it would not surprise me if it was!
I found Cruel Summer to be an emotional, moving story that pulled me in right from the start. I found the characters to be strong and vivid, Bernard’s writing is so easy to absorb that it brings the story to life. I really enjoyed Cruel Summer. Bernard’s writing drew me into the story straight from the start. A fabulous book!
I give Cruel Summer 5 stars.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.