The Summer Between Us
by Andre Fenton
Award-winning African Nova Scotian writer Andre Fenton’s third novel tackles contemporary social issues such as class difference and colourism in the Black community in this vibrant coming-of-age story.
This coming-of-age story follows eighteen-year-old Adrian Carter as he graduates from high school and confronts difficult decisions about his future, all while dealing with the stress and pressure he feels to please those closest to him. As Adrian navigates the emotional highs and lows of the summer between graduation and the post-secondary future, he negotiates the difficulties of forging a path in life against others’ expectations.
Despite his wish to follow his longtime girlfriend Mel on her cross-country trip with her band, Adrian is hesitant about spending too much time in the punk’s scenes majority-white spaces. Adrian struggles with these feelings and works to find common ground with his emotionally distant father. Meanwhile he starts to understand that his own passion is grounded in a desire to support a community he’s forged on his own.
Dealing with important themes (a desire for independence, identity, first love, familial tensions) from the nuanced perspective of a biracial teen, this story tackles key contemporary social issues. Class differences, colourism in the Black community and the structural barriers limiting access to post-secondary education for Black youth are all embedded in Andre Fenton’s readable narrative.
About the Author
ANDRE FENTON is an award-winning young adult author, spoken word artist and arts educator. He has written two previous novels, Worthy of Love and ANNAKA. Andre’s work focuses on race, self-esteem and creating more representation and diversity in young adult fiction. He lives in Halifax.
The Summer Between Us is a triumph of storytelling. A window into the contemporary lives of teens of colour as they embark on uncertain futures in a world filled with discrimination and judgement, this novel is stunning, truthful and wise. Crackling dialogue, crisp, poetic language and engaging, memorable three-dimensional characters that readers will root for from the beginning, Fenton the poet has not just written a novel, but created a world we believe in.
Family relations, young love, mental health, systemic racism, heartbreak, hardship and endurance, in an aching, tender story; it is all here. Adrian, the protagonist will stay in hearts of readers as will the chant, “Black, Brown and Infamous.” Above all else, this book is a spark of hope on the cusp of tomorrows to come. Fenton asks us, simply, to live the words Mel sings. “Show me healing/Show me love/Take me as I am.” Simple, yes, but profound truth. I look forward to selling this book in my shop to teens and adults and reading Fenton's next novel. I found it hard to leave these characters for this is exactly the kind of book I never want to end.
"...don’t be fooled into thinking you’re too old to read Fenton’s work. The kids he casts in amber across the pages of The Summer Between Us are dealing with serious stuff, the likes of which it takes most of us well into adulthood to figure out...questions of identity, fidelity and how to stay true to yourself without disappointing those you love."
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