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Summer of '76 Paperback – 4 Jul 2013


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Summer of '76 + Hurry Up and Wait + Glasshopper (Myriad Editions)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Myriad Editions (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908434333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908434333
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.5 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Tender and subtle ... Ashdown tiptoes carefully through explosive family secrets" - Observer

"Ashdown's storytelling skills are formidable; her human insights highly perceptive" - Mail on Sunday

"Funny, insightful and often tragic" - New Books Magazine

Isabel Ashdown was born in London and grew up on the south coast of England. She is the author of four novels and winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition. Her debut, Glasshopper, was named as one of the best books of 2009 by both the Observer and the London Evening Standard. In 2014 Isabel was Writer in Residence at the University of Brighton, where she now continues to teach on their Creative Writing MA.

Isabel is represented by Kate Shaw of the Viney Literary Agency, London. Her fourth novel, Flight, will be released in May 2015 (Myriad Editions).

You can find out more at www.isabelashdown.com or follow her on twitter or Facebook.


Product Description

Review

"A fabulous coming-of-age novel that's saturated in '70s nostalgia." - Glamour magazine

"Isabel Ashdown is adept at portraying the bickering normalcy of ordinary family life ... [she] effortlessly transports you back to the seventies a world of Abba, flares, punk and David Bowie." - Press Association

"Isabel Ashdown writes with an incredibly perceptive style, her characters are well-rounded- at times amusing and at times intense...Just when you think you know what is going to happen, Ashdown subverts your expectations. The novel's denouement is a compelling whodunit, with twists and turns to grip until the very end, making Summer of '76 a great book for summer holiday reading." - We Love This Book

"Isabel Ashdown handles big themes and period details with heart." - The Simple Things Magazine

"A thought-provoking novel, funny as well as moving, and extremely difficult to put down. Isabel Ashdown writes with clarity and grace." - Jane Rusbridge, author of Rook and The Devil's Music

"Summer of '76 did not disappoint. Evocative of that hot, dry summer ... book groups will have a lot to discuss." - NewBooks Magazine

"Ashdown always manages to capture a real sense of Britain's past without resorting to rose-tinted glasses." - -- Bella Magazine

"Ashdown has her finger on the pulse of adolescent/adult relationships" - --The Book Bag

Ashdown always manages to capture a real sense of Britain's past without resorting to rose-tinted glasses. -- Bella Magazine

About the Author

Isabel Ashdown lives in West Sussex with her carpenter husband and two children. Her first novel Glasshopper (Observer 'Best Debuts of 2009', Evening Standard 'Best Books of the Year') won the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition. Her second novel Hurry Up and Wait was published to critical acclaim and was listed as one of Amazon's Customer Favourites for Kindle in 2011. Her third novel Summer of '76 will be published in July 2013.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lincs Reader TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 July 2013
Format: Paperback
I remember that summer of 1976, I was 10-years-old and it seemed as though summer was going to last forever, never before had we experienced weeks and weeks of baking sunshine, water shortages and cracks in the tarmac. It seemed like a whole new world, and even though we've had hotter weather in the years since, that first long hot summer will always be remembered.

The three page long prologue takes place a few years before the Summer of 76 - New Year's Eve, 1971 at a party on the Isle of Wight. Although this short snapshot does not go in to great detail, the reader quickly understands what is happening.
Fast foward to the Summer of 76 and Luke Wolff is seventeen, finishing his exams and looking forward to starting college in Brighton after the summer. He and his four-year-old sister Kitty live with their parents on the Isle of Wight. They are a pretty ordinary family; Dad's a teacher, Mum stays at home to look after Kitty. Luke has a best friend Martin - who people seem to think is a bit weird. Luke fancies Samantha, who is dating his ex-best friend Len. The weather is hot, hot, hot and when Luke lands a job at the local holiday park he's sorted - OK it's only cleaning chalets, but he gets to work alongside Samantha and can use the swimming pool whenever he likes.

The heat begins to make people behave strangely. Luke's Mum and Dad seem to be arguing a lot these days - something about the parties that their friends hold every so often. Dad's mate Simon seems to be the cause of some of this tension. Is it because he encourages Dad to stop out late on drinking sessions, or is there something else?

Isabel Ashdown has produced an extraordinary story from ordinary characters who live in an ordinary town and on the face of it, live pretty ordinary lives.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By selliot on 23 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Isabel Ashdown just gets better and better. In this novel, she captures the intensity of that extremely hot summer and combines it with skilled descriptions of the island setting. I had a couple of holidays on the Isle of Wight as a teenager in the 70s, and reading this book took me right back to that time and place. The novel is packed with evocative period detail. The teenage protagonist, Luke, is extremely well-drawn and convincing. We empathise with his concerns, from his anxieties about impressing 'Sexy Sam', his concern about his friend Martin and his deeper anxieties about his parents and what they've been getting up to at parties that have become the topic of hushed gossip around the island. Although the events in the story are shown through Luke's eyes, we come away from the novel with a good sense of the dramas and anxieties that affect his parents, too. Isabel Ashdown has a knack for creating secondary characters who are as fully-rounded as the central character, even though we only see them through the central character's eyes. Although I really felt for Luke and Martin, I also felt for Luke's parents, especially after the twist in the story is revealed at the end. I loved this book, and was particularly lucky to have read it in the middle of a heatwave!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm on 25 July 2013
Format: Paperback
Do you know - I'm starting to wonder if Isabel Ashdown has some magical way of affecting the weather ... Not more than a couple of days after I finished reading Summer of 76, having loved her evocation of the strange, oppressive atmosphere of that extraordinary year (I remember it well ...) then lo and behold - the weather turns and the heat wave begins! She has to be at least partly responsible!

This is a compelling story of intrigue and scandal, set in the small-town setting of the Isle of Wight, and the story is seen through the eyes of a (beautifully written) self-conscious teenager. Ashdown uses the weather to heighten the atmosphere to great effect.

A wonderful summer read - but this is much more than just a holiday book. My favourite of Ashdown's novels so far!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Caroline_s on 18 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
Having read all of Isabel Ashdown's novels, I was keen to read in 'Summer of '76'. Set in one of the hottest summers, Luke Wolff is ready to enjoy his last summer at home on the Isle of Wight before leaving for college. His job at a holiday camp promises new friendships and romance. But as the narrative unravels, his parents' outwardly perfect relationship becomes unstuck and Luke's very foundations are rocked.

A perfect read for a lazy summer day, full of wonderful description and nostalgia. 'Summer of '76' is coming-of age exploration, a gentle read that will take a reader back in time with ease and skill. Evocative and well-researched, this is yet another engaging read from Isabel Ashdown.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Shazjera TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 July 2013
Format: Paperback
There's intrigue as soon as we start reading ... It's December 31st 1971, Joanna Wolff and husband Richard are at a party. Whose key fob was Joanna looking for?

Leading on from this scene, it's now early May 1976. Luke has just bought a new scooter ... an orange Vespa. He's just finished lovingly polishing it on their driveway when up rides his friend Martin. They go off to listen to David Bowie's album. Feeling hungry, they go downstairs to the kitchen and we're introduced properly to his parents and his 4 year old sister, Kitty. From this time, throughout the summer of '76 we spend time with the Wolff family and friends as seen from Luke's perspective as the community secret and family secret slowly unravels. Character's backgrounds are revealed with more layers of sorrow underlying the face of situations.

Through Luke we get to experience his changing friendships, teenage angst, those awful feelings when we know we've made a wrong decision ... and that feeling of being on the edge of something really exciting. His summer isn't all about working at the holiday camp - plenty of time for sunbathing on the beach and alcohol that long, hot summer! We see him mature throughout the story. He's even able to reason through the chaos of his thoughts and have a chuckle with his dad at the end ... as opposed to slamming out of the house in frustration (I remember those days well!)

The characters are all fabulous. From pompous new neighbour Mike to 4 year old Kitty. One of my favourite scenes is with Kitty singing/performing at Martin's 18th birthday tea. So funny! I will never hear Abba in the same way again!

Everything is very authentic from the music and fashion to the social and economical environment...
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