The new #SparkNA books from Anvil are out, and I happily got myself copies of whatever was available at the bookstores I visited for the benefit of my 2017 Reading Pile (despite the toxicity of doctor life, I surprisingly still got a lot of reading done last 2016, but have yet to write any reviews on them!). In attempts to address my need for daily kilig, I hopefully turned to these new Filipino contemporary romances.
Book ranting starts in the next paragraph, and as always, I cannot promise a spoiler-free review! 🙂
Sounds Like Summer by Six de los Reyes takes the reader into a one-of-a-kind weekend adventure at a music festival set in Zambales. I related to the protagonist Lux far more than I would have liked. First of all, we were both working in a field of science. Second of all, we’ve both, at some point in our lives, struggled with falling in and out of love with our respective professions. Well, Lux might have gotten it worse compared to me, but yeah… And lastly, we’ve both reached a certain point when we’ve yearned for some sort of escape. But yet again, Lux has gotten the shorter end of the stick here…
This isn’t your typical love story. In fact, if you’re the type who prefers the sweet, cheesy moments of romance novels, you’re not going to find that here. The underlying theme of Sounds Like Summer is heavy. In fact, I think trying to portray depression in a romance novella is quite an ambitious thing to do. I have to commend Six de los Reyes for her guts! I’ve seen countless of patients struggling with depression in all its forms. People like Lux appear okay on the outside, but they are suffering immensely on the inside. They tend to prefer being alone, lose interest in the things they used to like doing (what we call anhedonia in the medical field), and yes, they tend to overthink even the simplest of things. They require the constant support of the people around them. So, yeah, we have a realy complicated heroine here, who seems like she might just float off or completely sink into the deepest trenches all of a sudden.
Enter Micah. I’ve never met a boy Micah before! The best thing about him as a love interest is that he never judged Lux for anything. His openness and understanding is something I don’t think you’ll find easily in men these days. But what do I know? I spend most of my time in the hospital! Haha! I especially liked that Micah never once said that he “understood” what Lux was going through, and that “everything was going to be okay”. He served as Lux’s anchor in more ways than one throughout that eventful weekend.
Honestly, I found that Sounds Like Summer read more like a prequel to something bigger. There is quite a number of “almost” scenes, but we don’t even get to see a single kiss! I understand why though, remembering that the whole thing happened within a span of single weekend,and Lux and Micah are, in fact, strangers in reality, even if they feel this great connection between them. BITIN, in other words. There are a lot of things that could have been further explored – I personally wanted a more in depth glimpse into the life of Lux pre-festival, just so I could further appreciate just how desperate she was to escape, so desperate that she even had to step out of her comfort zone and spontaneously ride a bus to somewhere.
Life is a rollercoster, and with its never-ending ups and downs, we can never be ready for what we are to face. We need only be willing to face those ups and downs. After all, it is only in giving the world a chance that we discover whole new parts of ourselves that we never knew, that we grow into the people that we truly are to be.
We may never be ready, but we should always be willing. Willing to try. Willing to face life.
DOCTOR’S ORDERS: Recommended for those interested in atypical love stories, those that contain depth and pretty serious themes;
Watch out for: quite a complicated heroine, a hot stranger I wouldn’t mind encountering during a random bus trip, and a well-executed portrayal of one of Medicine’s most unfortunate but misunderstood diseases (yes, it is a disease, and no, sufferers are not simply “negative thinkers”, “kill-joys”, and whatever stereotype you may be thinking…)