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My Summer of Love [Paperback]

Helen Cross
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

18 Oct 2004
It's 1984 and one of the hottest summers Yorkshire's seen. It's the kind of woozy heat to lose your mind in. Mona is fifteen years old. She's a drinker, a thief and a fruit machine addict. Things are already going badly in the pub where she lives with her obese step-brother PorkChop. But when Mona meets posh Tamsin Fakenham, a sassy girl with beautiful breasts, an actress mother and a sister who's died of starvation, things very quickly get much worse.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Film tie-in edition edition (18 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747575886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747575887
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 431,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Helen Cross

Helen Cross was born and brought up in the village of Newbald in East Yorkshire. Her first novel, My Summer of Love won a Betty Trask Award and became a BAFTA award-winning feature film. Her short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, and her plays and stories have been broadcast on Radio 4. She has recently returned from working for the British Council as Writer in Residence at the University of Mumbai. Helen's second novel, The Secrets She Keeps is now available in paperback, and her third novel, Spilt Milk, Black Coffee was published by Bloomsbury in May 2010. She lives in Birmingham, England with her partner Andy and two daughters. She's just completed a fourth novel and film adaptation of Spilt Milk, Black Coffee for Rainy Day Films. More details at

Product Description

Amazon Review

In her debut novel, My Summer of Love, Helen Cross has crafted a highly original and often shocking tale of two 15-year-olds spending one long, hot summer together. Mona is a heavy drinker, a fruit-machine addict and aspiring criminal, while Tamsin is a spoilt, rich girl, living in her parents' luxurious country home on the posh side of town. Although hailing from opposite ends of the social spectrum, both girls are victims of parental break-ups as well as, it would seem, suffering recent bereavements. When Tamsin's parents are away, Mona moves in and together the girls embark upon a wild relationship that is both beautifully romantic and shockingly violent. Set against the backdrop of a Yorkshire town in 1984, the text is seasoned with well-chosen motifs of the period: references to the miners' strike, the fear of nuclear attack, New Romantic fashions and the spectre of a serial killer on the loose.

It is this authenticity and humanity that separates this novel from other familiar coming-of-age tales. While novels covering this ground are often refracted through a lens of cosy, middle-aged nostalgia, My Summer of Love doesn't flinch from communicating the sheer awfulness of the girls' antics. As disturbing as the denouement is, the whole story is shot through with a black humour that, while not diminishing the sense of horror, conveys the teenage condition in all its embarrassing absurdity. Mona's obsession with removing bodily hair, Tamsin's weird culinary concoctions and their drunken attempts at dancing all rekindle cringe-inducing recollections of that period in your lives. Disturbing and funny in equal measure, Cross has succeeded in creating two vibrant and distinctive characters who linger in our memory long after the last page has been read. --Jane Morris --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'A hand grenade of a novel Cross depicts a world every bit as shocking, and as violent, as the one Anthony Burgess created in A Clockwork Orange' Daily Mail 'A sharp, disturbing and highly original debut novel' Sunday Mirror 'Energetic and blackly comic' The Times 'This is the book to namedrop and a gripping read it is too Dark, intelligent and superbly written. Prepare to be seduced and shocked' Glamour --various

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it because it's real. 5 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I couldn't believe that a woman wrote such a honest book, about the unpredictable behavior of teenage girls. This book shows what happens when two girls do not get the unconditional love they expect and how they take out their emotions on themselves, their environment and particularly the men around them.

Read it because it's real.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Haunting 7 May 2003
By A Customer
This was a strange book. There's no doubt that Helen Cross can write and the idea for the story was a good one, that certainly intrigued me and kept me reading until the end. I didn't think it was as shocking as 'Clockwork Orange' though, infact in some ways the violence seemed tame, but maybe I've been watching too much TV!
However, having said all that, I find myself strangely haunted by the book and some of the scenes. The hot summer really pervaded every page, adding to the sense of oppression and imminent disaster. So although it had its faults, on the whole it was well-written and I enjoyed it (I think!!)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hard work sometimes 31 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A good read at times but I felt that the main character's antics are meant to shock and after a while this does get a bit tedious. Nicely written though with good characters but for me a little too down wit the kids!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Watch film first, then read this. 21 Jan 2009
I don't think without the imagery of the film I would have gotten into the book, it really helped me imagine the characters even though some are very different than in the film or do not exist at all.
I really enjoyed this book, it's one of those that you put down and you don't want to start on another because it probably won't be as good.
I do think that some of the characters idiosyncrasies are a little too far fetched but this doesn't do anything to lessen the enjoyment of the story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tension and fear in teenageland 21 Aug 2008
By Lou Ice
A very grim tale of two 15 year old girls going mad together. It's normal for teenagers to be bored, especially if you live some place small. But for these girls it's not enough to drink and have sex. They want crime and brutality. Egged on by each other they do one stupid thing after the other ....

There's a nice contrast between Mona who comes from a rough family whose life evolves around running a pub and Tamsin who grew up a rich girl and went to boarding school. They both envy each other and detest each other. There's always tension and fear in the air when they are together, but also a mad passion. What they have in common are fathers who have cheated on their wives and the death of a close relative. They are also obsessed with food and their bodies, which is described very well.

I thought the beginning was a bit slow and it was hard to figure out who the book was going to be about. It all starts with the wedding of Mona's ex-punk sister and even if this runs as a thread in the background I'd expected more about the relationship with her sister. The beginning doesn't really make sense until you reach the last page.

However what really lifts the book is that Helen Cross's uses a very consistent language and the voice of Mona the narrator is striking, the way she always uses "me" instead of "my" and "mesen" instead of "myself." There's also the clever repetition of phrases Mona has heard in the pub like "my darling you lurk wunderfool toniiiite."
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I loved this so much! It's so accurate about girls and how they are, and it's so funny too. I also thought it really good that the book is set in the NOrth of England where I live as not many books are, and I thought also that the backdrop of the miners' strike was very fitting adn unusual. Read this book
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Brilliantly written in East Yorkshire slang. Great references to the town that Helen was brought up in (I went to school with her). You feel you know the characters really well, and feel empathy for them. It makes you scared to read the next chapter for fear of what they'll do next. Helen was always wonderfully theatrical in her youth, and this stunning debut novel proves her intelligence, imagination and guts that we all knew she had. Well done Helen (from Gillian Madden as was)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written 27 Jun 2007
I read this after reading Helen Cross's second book, The Secrets She Keeps, which I really loved. This is great too. It's beautifully written, full of dreamy images, humour, deftly drawn characters and stays with you long after you've finished it.
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