When life, love, and rock and roll come together on the sandy beaches of La Union for music festival Summer Crush, expect nothing less than the crashing of lips, bodies, and waves against the shore, against each other, and against your soul.
Allow these three tales of love to take you away for an unforgettable weekend.
Ana’s life as a corporate warrior, graduate student, and girlfriend to indie rock band boy Miki starts to spin out of control, and she wonders if it is love that has to give. (You Only Need Reminding, Jay E. Tria)
Newly reinstated EG Project roadie Filipina Legaspi flies with her band back to the Philippines for Summer Crush, unaware of the emotional waves that engulf her when she sets foot in the beaches of San Juan, La Union. (Almost There, Tara Frejas)
Rhys has three problems: Arabella, the theme song with the Trainguy, and singing live for the first time—and now also on that list is Isaiah, sea-sweet Mango Rum kisses, and long overdue decisions she’s intent on avoiding. (Ocean Eyes, Six de los Reyes) Get a copy: Amazon (ebook), via the author (print) / Read reviews: Goodreads
WHAT I LIKED
You Only Need Reminding starts off with Ana surprising Miki minutes before his band leaves for La Union. She’s your typical overachieving career woman who’s trying her best to balance work, school, and what could be perceived as remnants of her social life. She admits she often neglects Miki and feels guilty for spending less time with him when all this time he’s been the best, most supportive boyfriend ever. I instantly felt a connection with the character. We’ve all been there anyway, on the cusp of success not knowing if what we’re doing is bound to do us any good in the future, and sacrificing parts of ourselves for a dream we think we’ve always wanted.
(Spoiler alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.) I especially loved that scene where Ana finally breaks down over a bag of spilled Nips that Miki left on her work desk because, yes, there are bad days that are aggravated by the littlest of things, like when the light bulb in your condo suddenly dies on you after a long, stressful workday. That scene was so raw, and so real.
As for Summer Crush in its entirety, I loved that the book had elements that kept popping up during the least expected times. There’s the ever present cat, the Mango Mojitos, the beautiful La Union beach, the Landian and Kilig Stages which I thought were GENIUS names for a music fest setup and the ‘pislabrakenrol’ guy who in my head looked like Empoy but was apparently written with Pepe Herrera in mind. It was fun looking out for the interconnected parts of each story.
The other characters were also placed strategically all throughout the book that it almost felt like a “Where Is Waldo” game. Miki’s interaction with Rhys and Ana’s quick inuman session with Fi and Isaiah (who are characters from the other two stories, Almost There and Ocean Eyes) was definitely a delight to read. Oh, and that Afterparty chapter was amazing too! Overall, you can clearly just how well these authors collaborated and I can just imagine how much fun it was for them to write the whole series.
I guess if there’s anything I’ve noticed in the entirety of the book that needs improvement it’s that the descriptions we’re sort of lacking. I found it hard to imagine what Miki and Ana looked like, how the band sounds or how Ana’s horrendous bosses look like. The whole music fest set-up was a bit hard to image too, and it even confused me at first. Why were there two stages? How many people were there? How big is this music fest, really, and why is it so special?
To some extent, I would also say that the first few pages failed to take my overworked brain to the beach and the music fest in the way I initially thought it would. But it might have to do with the fact that the book is made up of three story lines, each had a world of its own before Summer Crush even began. For instance, You Only Need Reminding has original characters that came from the Playlist series.
Last, there were scenes and characters in each book that felt a little bit unrealistic. Miki seems way too good to be true. Apart from his bad taste in clothing (Spoiler alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.) (he wore a Don’t Fall In Love With A Rockstar shirt), there’s nothing much not to like about Miki, and I know some guys like him exist in real life but, really? (Spoiler alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.) (He does not even have a bit of resentment for the fact that Ana does not have time for him, comes to the gig unannounced, suddenly wants to leave La Union, and drops the break-up bomb on him.) Then again, in the world of romance, there’s very little time to spend writing cons for characters because, duh, we all need to see the juicy parts, right?
While it was a bit of a challenge to finish the book (probably because of major beach envy), I still had fun reading through the kilig and landian moments. I’m excited to check out the other universes that inspired Summer Crush. I was left wanting to read more from the authors and maybe try to understand the characters by checking out the books that came before it. I especially loved the set lists, the song lyrics (I wish someone would create melodies for them or that the songs were posted somewhere in the Internet) and the dedication pages. I’m glad authors like Jay, Tara and Six get to collaborate on fun travel anthologies like this one and I can’t wait to see what other projects are in store for us under #romanceclass! ☁