Jolene Perry grew up in Alaska, and graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in Political Science. She started writing when she taught herself to play the guitar, and when songs weren't long enough to tell the story, she began writing novels.
After living in Washington, Utah and Las Vegas, she now resides in Alaska with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.
You can find Jolene on her website at www.jolenebettyperry.wordpress.com and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jolenebettyperry
Title: The Summer I Found You
Author: Jolene Perry
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication: March 1st 2014
Cover Rating: 3/5
At first, I thought the book was going to be a little weird for me. Reading about a guy who lost his arm and a girl with diabetes and their budding romance had me a little on edge. How could a one armed guy possibly be sexy? How was this book going to keep me interested? Well, I didn't even need to ask those questions because they never crossed my mind once I was actually reading the book.
Kate is a terrible girl. She just found out she has a life threatening disease and she can't be responsible enough to take her insulin or eat right. She is setting herself up to die and I can't find it in me to feel sorry for her. Her top priority is worrying about her ex dumping her. Not that fact that she could slip into a diabetic coma at any second.
Aiden is awesome. Aside from the whole PTSD thing. But would you really expect a guy who lost his arm and a good friend to be okay? To me, he seemed pretty good for a guy who went through hell and back. He lost his career, his future, his motivation but he survived, in the end. He is kind, caring and all the things that I don't think Kate deserved at first. But they worked together so well and I am glad they found each other.
I really loved how the book combined such trivial high school things with some very tough choices and lifestyles. On on hand, I can understand Kate just wanting to live a normal life but on the other hand I can't condone her lack of self preservation.
The ending had me worried for a little bit but I am glad it happened the way it did. Kate needed a wake up call and I think Aiden was the only one who was able to do that for her. Which is quite sad considering they hadn't known each other that long. When your FAMILY and FRIENDS cannot convince you to save yourself then you really need to rethink your priorities in life.
Update 6/29/2015 - I have been thinking about this book a lot lately. I adore the author and I love her work so her books are always popping into my head. Last night I was thinking about how I have a few different illnesses but most of them I can hide because they are inside. I feel like Kate thought she could hide her "disability" and get away with it, which technically she could. But it wasn't right of her to do that. Aiden can't hide his disability. I am torn between right and wrong here. I don't normally tell people about my ailments unless they ask or if my one visual ailment is present. Oh the one hand, I completely understand wanting to hide your flaws. But on the other hand, Kate was getting into a relationship with a guy who she could somewhat relate to in terms of disabilities. But she didn't and I can't fathom why. Internal conflict aside, I truly think everyone should read at least one of Jolene Perry's books. They are always deep and beautiful and they have such horrible trials that each character must over some. Her books are very inspiring; I know they inspired me.
Overall, I gave the book 5/5 kitties.
1) What was the inspiration behind The Summer I Found You?
Two things – ONE (as far as writing about diabetes) – my grandma Betty (where my middle names comes from) was Type 1 Diabetic. She died before I was born, but there’s something about being named after someone that made me curious about her. I also have a very close friend with Type 1 diabetes, and hers came about in the same way as Kate’s (or maybe I should say Kate’s came about the same way as my friend). It was really great because I could ask her questions about blood sugar and how certain foods make her feel, how stress affects her, etc… And TWO – my husband served in the Army. I used people he knew, and he was the one who said – “You have to finish this book” so I did.
2) If you have a disability/illness that could be hidden would you hide it or be open and honest about it?
This depends totally on the people I'm around and my situation. With some things I’m very open. And I’ve had other, more personal experiences, that only one or two people know about. So… I’m actually not sure. If I felt like my story could help other people? I’d be very open. When I thought I had cervical cancer, I told no one until all the surgeries were done and I was OK.
3) If you weren't an author what would you be doing job wise?
I was a high school and middle teacher before I became an author, but I love doing hair. LOVE it. So I’d have to say that would be a close second to being a teacher. I hope that I can teach on the college level at some point, but I’ll just have to wait and see what life brings me.
4) Are you currently working on any new books?
LOADS. I just sold one to my publisher about a girl who grew up in a funeral home – it’s like a mash-up of The Addams Family and a John Hugh’s movie. I’m working on one about three kids who survived a boating accident and now have weird abilities and I’m working on a parody of a vampire novel for fun wink emoticon
5) How much impact do you personally believe bloggers/reviewers have on the publishing world?
Sometimes I feel like they’re shouting into the void like I feel so much of the time. Other times I feel like they have enormous influence. I’m not sure. I will say that negativity spreads so much faster than positivity, and that’s a massive bummer. I’ll also say that meeting book bloggers and reviewers has been one of my favorite things about being an author Bookish people are the best.
6) If you could only eat the same food for the rest of your life what would it be?
My husband’s fettuccine with broccoli. Or his mac and cheese with broccoli. Or the flourless chocolate cake from Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas. I know, I know, but narrowing it down to one is like…impossible. OH! DONUTS!
7) If Aiden could trade Kate to get his arm back do you think he would do it?
Yup. I know that sounds terrible, but right now? He would. About 6 months to a year after the book ends, when he’s super in love? Nope.
8) If someone asked you to recommend some authors who would you pick?
If someone was after a gritty read, I’d recommend Christa Desir, Carrie Mesrobian or Ellen Hopkins. Jandy Nelson and Nina LaCoeur’s writing is beautiful. Jessica Martinez’s stories are un-put-downable. The Raven Boys series is maybe my fav-ever series (and I don’t do series often). Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my favs.
*Jolene Perry's List of Favorite Books*
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
Other Broken Things by Christa Desir
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
Pivot Point by Kasie West
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
With or Without You by Brian Farrey
Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
The Dream Catcher series by Lisa McMann (perfect marriage of contemp “issue” book with paranormal)
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Hourglass series by Myra McEntyre
Sweethearts by Sarah Zarr
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Funny – Anything by Cassie Mae
The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram
Adorkable by Sarra Manning