The Melancholy of Summer by Louisa Onomé
Sistah Girls I’m back with another book review, and this new coming-of-age novel is perfect for your summer reading list!
The Melancholy of Summer is a look into the life of seventeen-year-old Summer Ozoma, whose parents have been on the run. After it’s discovered that Summer has been living alone, she is sent to live with her semi-famous cousin Olu.
Still reeling from abandonment, Summer must navigate her new life with Olu, her ever-changing friendships, and her complex feelings, amid the sizzling Toronto heat.
Onomé is a Nigerian-Canadian author, and my, was her voice refreshing. As a Ghanaian-Canadian who is not much older than the protagonist Summer, reading about a young Black woman in Canada navigating life truly resonated with me; especially since coming-of-age novels with Black Canadian protagonists are so rare.
I not only identified with the author and Summer but with the diverse cast of characters as well.
Olu is a wonderfully complex character whose actions speak louder than words. At only twenty years old, she takes on the responsibility of being Summer’s guardian, and along the way, readers learn about her inner struggles and motivations.
There are also Summer’s friends Sid, Tanya, and Jet each with their own story (some more than others), who are great vehicles in furthering Summer’s emotional journey.
It was hard not to fall in love with the beautiful prose. It is deeply emotive and real, and once you get a taste, you’ll be hanging on until the very last sentence. Onomé’s words jump off the page, and before you know it, you’re in Summer’s mind, feeling her grief, sorrow, anger, and hope.
Another technical aspect of the novel I enjoyed was the pacing! Summer is the perfect season to get lost in a good book, and this is definitely one that readers can sink into.
It’s a medium to faced-paced novel, that I both started and finished in an afternoon. This makes it the perfect summer novel to bring along to the beach, a picnic in the park, or on a long road trip!
A final aspect I appreciated about the novel was the use of Summer as a mechanism for storytelling; Toronto in the summer is hot, smoggy, and crazy humid. It is this August heat that brings all the character’s simmering feelings of anger and sadness to the surface, making it the perfect backdrop to explore these complicated emotions.
Onomé is truly an amazing storyteller!
Overall, this is a reflective and breathtaking novel that perfectly captures the uncomfortable coming-of-age experience, while including shocking obstacles unique to the protagonist.
Be sure to grab this fantastic summer read!
Louisa Onomé’s The Melancholy of Summer is on shelves now, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
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