REVIEW: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

howmysummerHow My Summer Went Up in Flames
by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Simon Pulse, 2013
[Goodreads] [Amazon]

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…


You know those books that make you smile throughout? The ones that aren’t especially deep, but loads of fun and laugh out loud funny? The ones you read when you’re looking for an escape, when you don’t want to think too hard, when you just want to read to enjoy? How My Summer Went Up in Flames is that sort of book.

I am actually a newbie when it comes to books about road trips, and I’m glad this was my first experience, because it really was a cute, fun, fluffy way to spend an afternoon. The book is engaging and engrossing in equal measures, and I was actually surprised that, once we got past a hilariously funny (without always meaning to be) main character in Rosie that there’s actually a lot of depth to her story, and the way her ex-boyfriend’s actions turned her into someone she didn’t like at all. I thought it was pretty thought-provoking in the end, without hitting you over the head. I also liked the cast of characters accompanying Rosie on her trip, from boy-next-door Matty, to geeky and surprisingly sensitive Spencer, to moody and impatient Logan. Each of the boys served their own role in getting Rosie to realize that breaking up with Joey wasn’t the be all, end all and that she actually could do something to turn her life around.

I do want to say that I had a fairly big problem, however, with the fact that Rosie used words like “skank” and “slut” and other completely inappropriate names to refer to Joey’s new girlfriend. Considering that he is the one who cheated on her, not the new girlfriend, Rosie’s anger was completely misdirected. And regardless of how angry you are, throwing a word around like “slut” to describe the girl your boyfriend cheated with is just distasteful. Let’s put the blame on the right person, and quit with the name-calling.

Nonetheless, I came away from How My Summer Went Up in Flames with a new appreciation for road trip books. Rosie’s personal journey was infinitely readable, and I found it impossible to not root for her to make the necessary changes and figure herself out. If you’re looking for a fun and quick contemporary read that’s perfect for summer, do pick this one up!



An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


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10 Responses to REVIEW: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

  1. Quinn says:

    I have this one from Edelweiss as well and I was originally really excited about it. But then I read a review that wasn’t very positive and a lot of the things that the review said I know would both me. But I hsould give ti a go anyway.

    Oh and I am so with you on the name calling!! Blame the guy because he’s the one that cheated.

    • Merin says:

      I really hate when people use the word “slut” to describe a girl. That’s one of my least favorite slurs.

      • Quinn says:

        Me, too! And also I get sick of the Mean Girl comments. Especially when they imply that only girls are mean in school. Trust me I’ve met a number of conniving boys!

  2. So glad you enjoyed this one too, I love roadtrip books and I was smiling throughout this one too! I never thought about the whole name-calling aspect before, but you’re absolutely right! Great review! :)

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

  3. ChrissiReads says:

    Fab review! Sounds like my sort of book.

  4. MsJohannah says:

    I might have to check this out – and I totally agree about the name calling.. but the author could be doing that to show how immature she is? I’m not sure.

    • Merin says:

      Maybe she was, but I still kind of feel there were other ways she could have done that (and did do, actually). I don’t know. I just find the word really distasteful regardless of the motive you have for using it.

      • MsJohannah says:

        I agree. Other young adults that read it might think it’s okay for them to act or say things like that if they read this book… if they are very influenced by books that is. Great review btw! :)

  5. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves #46 –

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