Book Review: Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay

About the Book:

Title: Summer Reading

Author: Jenn McKinlay

Page Length: 480

Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis: For Samantha Gale, a summer on Martha’s Vineyard at her family’s tiny cottage was supposed to be about resurrecting her career as a chef, until she’s tasked with chaperoning her half-brother, Tyler. The teenage brainiac is spending his summer at the local library in a robotics competition, and there’s no place Sam, who’s dyslexic, likes less than the library. And because the universe hates her, the library’s interim director turns out to be the hot-reader guy whose book she accidentally destroyed on the ferry ride to the island.

Bennett Reynolds is on a quest to find his father, whose identity he’s never known. He’s taken the temporary job on the island to research the summer his mother spent there when she got pregnant with him. Ben tells himself he isn’t interested in a relationship right now. Yet as soon as Sam knocks his book into the ocean, he can’t stop thinking about her.

An irresistible attraction blossoms when Ben inspires Sam to create the cookbook she’s always dreamed about and she jumps all in on helping him find his father, and soon they realize their summer fling may heat up into a happily ever after.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

A wonderful contemporary romance about relationships, falling in love, and finding yourself, Summer Reading is a fresh and fun read. The story follows Samantha, a chef who has dyslexia and hates to read and Bennett, a hunky librarian searching for information about his family. Samantha has returned to Martha’s Vineyard to her family’s home to watch her teenage brother for the summer. Passed over for a deserved promotion, Samantha left her job and is in transition, so spending the summer on the Vineyard is a perfect place for Samantha to figure out what’s next. And when she meets the new and hunky librarian, her summer looks even better.

Samantha is such a relatable protagonist, and I really enjoyed her journey. She’s trying to figure out what to do career-wise now that she quit her job, she has a distant relationship with her family, and she’s returning to an island where she spent a lot of her childhood. She has such a vivacious personality, and she’s so funny! She’s also really smart, though she doesn’t give herself nearly enough credit. Samantha has dyslexia and is neurodivergent, and she definitely has negative feelings about herself. It’s not surprising years of insults, judgment, and discrimination have affected her confidence and sense of self. I think being back on the island, reconnecting with her roots, and meeting new people give her a different outlook on herself and life.

Bennett has a lot to do with Samantha’s growth, and I absolutely adored him!! A hunky librarian reading a romance novel to a woman who hates reading? I was sold! Their love story is so sweet and charming and beyond romantic. From their first meeting, you could totally feel the chemistry between them, and I love how their relationship progressed over the course of the novel. Bennett is a such swoon-tastic book boyfriend! The way he woos Samantha is lovely. OMG their banter is perfection, and they have as many fun and funny conversations as they do serious or romantic ones. One of my favorite scenes is when Samantha teaches Bennett and her brother different dance moves. It’s so fun and funny, but it also says so much about them and their feelings for each other.

I also love that Bennett gets Samantha to see herself the way he sees her. He helps Samantha see that people read and learn differently and that her struggles with dyslexia and ADHD show how incredibly intelligent she is. He offers her a different perspective that she never really considered, and it empowers her. I think being back in Martha’s Vineyard, a place where she had so many wonderful times, connecting with her brother, spending time with her best friend, and having this new relationship with Ben changed her in incomprehensible ways.

The story explores so many different relationships in Samantha’s life, and the standout is her relationship with Tyler, her 14-year-old brother. Her relationship with her brother changed so much. They are fabulous together, and the way they tease and banter back and forth is the best. Samantha and her best friend are great too. They have total ride-or-die vibes. Even her relationships with her father and stepmother changed, and I think it shows how much Samantha has grown over the course of the summer.

The mystery behind Bennett’s father was interesting too. Bennett took a position on the island so he could investigate his family history since he never knew who his father was. I love how his journey took us to many different places on the Vineyard. I don’t live too far from this gorgeous island, and the author captured it well. It’s a beautiful place to visit, especially in the summer, and McKinlay makes me want to hop on the ferry (which is only one town over from me) and head over there!

Summer Reading has everything I love in a contemporary romance. It’s fun and funny, emotional and entertaining, and the romance is wonderful. Oh, and the food!!! Samantha cooked up some delicious-sounding food, and I want to try it all! Special thanks to Berkley Books for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The setting.
  • The relationships.

Favorite Line:

I just found you, Samwise, and I feel you’re my … person.

How you connect to a story is your choice, whether it’s from reading or listening or watching.


  • opposites attract
  • small town romance
  • great sibling bonding
  • food talk!

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay

  1. Great review! I’ve only read one book by this author but I am keen to try this one.

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