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Bookbed reviews: ‘Sounds Like Summer’ by Six de los Reyes

BY KB MENIADO

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THE STORY

Sounds Like Summer follows lab researcher Lux Castelo who runs away for a weekend to an indie music festival by the beach. On the bus ride going to Zambales, a tattooed self-proclaimed adventurer named Micah Jacinto sits beside her and gives her no choice other than to accept his company all the way to Summer Storm. They end up spending the weekend with each other, discovering, connecting and having fun. But then Sunday ends abruptly, leaving Lux in wonder if something can happen beyond.

WHAT I LIKED

It’s not difficult to get attracted to this book. For one, the cover is undeniably pretty. Plus, what more could bring good luck to a reading year ahead than a book splashed in shades of 2017’s Color of the Year? The title’s not bad either—in three words alone, it already lays what’s down the road: music, sunshine and some splashing (of emotions, later I would come to find.)

But that’s only Phase One. Phase Two is even better. Lux and Micah are fascinating characters. They are both complicated yet still likable, and dream-like but still relatable. So are the rest of the cast (even Kara with the baby blue mermaid hair), what with other faces in the #romanceclass universe popping here and there. Getting to know them is like stepping on the water by the shore—you feel the desire to go deeper. (Or, if you prefer to reference music, it’s like hearing the first notes of your favorite song.) Frankly, that didn’t come as a surprise, as such is almost a guarantee in this author’s works. Six de los Reyes has a flair in bringing out what is important and relevant in the multidimensional characters, and worlds, she creates.

Phase III is, of course, the best. This is where you find yourself wading through chest-deep water, or if you may, singing that powerful transition between the bridge and the chorus of a song. This is where Sounds Like Summer hits you right where it hurts, and before you say I didn’t warn you, it is not just a simple case of running away and wanting a do-over. Lux has this constant dark cloud inside of her, something some of us might find too familiar. She’s perpetually worrying, fearing failure and needing to disappear. You know that feeling of accidentally stepping over that traitorous border of the ocean? Lux reminds me of that—nerve-wracking.

“I’m a walking grenade and I know it. And my factory defect is I have no fuse. I’m always at risk of combustion, so I have to keep it all in. If I let go, I’ll only burst into shatter glass. Because that’s what broken people do, they shatter.”
“Besides, if anyone really knew me, if anyone really knew the thoughts running through my mind, would anyone at all ever want me?”
“How am I supposed to leave what makes me unhappy when it’s inside my head?”

Speaking of, having somebody like Micah being there (yes, even just his mere existence) and the possibility of that somebody willing to help fill the gap brings a different kind of tingling. An adventurer, a musician and a romantic at heart, he sounds like love.

“He’s given me so much adventure than I could ever imagine in a weekend. He made me dance, he made me move, he made me feel. His songs are amazing, his lyrics are haunting. He’s sweet sensitive and smart. He’s also really very cute. At first, all I could think of is: Please, I hope I don’t fall in love with you. But now, I’m just: Shit, I could really fall in love with you.”
“If this is what it will feel like when he touches me, like a thousand waves crashing to the shore, like a million lights spiraling down from the sky, then I don’t think I’ll survive it.”

On the very top of all that? Micah is also a big believer in passion.

“The way I see it, you find something that makes you happy or maybe it finds you, then that’s what you do. You just do it. Told you, you got to make room for happy. Nudies and shells. We need more of that in your life.”

*kill me with kilig, thank you*

HOWEVER…

Now, it might be a little difficult to tell you what I found missing. But don’t fret, by far, there are only three: (Spoiler alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.) One, not much physical contact. While there is indeed a much deeper connection, I don’t think one kiss (one French kiss!) is asking for the moon. Two, not enough treading on mental health. While this is a substantial ease-in, I feel like Lux deserves a full circle in terms of dealing with her condition. In relation to that, three, the last pages feel a bit rushed and incomplete, and could have used a few more lines, even chapters. I want to know what happens to Lux and Micah during the weekdays, you know? I’m sure others would, too.

tl;dr

Sounds Like Summer is insightful, relevant and at times, funny. This story of courage and self-understanding blown in by music and sea breeze is worth reading any time of the year. ☁

The writer received a digital copy of this book in exchange for honest thoughts. Sounds Like Summer, a #SparkNA release, is available on the Anvil Publishing website and in selected National Book Store and Powerbooks branches.
BY THE WAY: This book has a (sort of) GREEN COVER, and is eligible for #BookbedReadsPHLit. Accept our reading challenge and support local throughout the year!
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