Kale Jackson is a high school dropout, a disappointment to his father, and an annoyance to his older brother. Kale is also a time traveler with no control over where or when he goes, or when he returns. He has tried for years to make his father believe him. Lately, his life has been divided between 1945, where he is a sharpshooter in WWII fighting to stay alive while watching friends die, and the present, where the PTSD he suffers makes his home life even more difficult. When Kale’s childhood friend, Harper Croft, returns to live next door with her widowed Uncle Jasper, their friendship quickly turns to romance. But time is running out. Harper googles Kale’s name, discovering the date he will be killed in 1945. Kale must learn to control his time-traveling or he will die.
Written for ages twelve and up, Cold Summer is a romance at its heart—a true coming of age. The time travel element is a unique obstacle the lovers must overcome. Given that this is more of a romance than a sci-fi, the time travel works well enough, though readers with a sci-fi preference may be disappointed. Likewise, because this is more of a romance than an historical novel, the lack of historical detail may disappoint readers looking for true historical fiction. Also missing are satisfactory explanations as to why both characters’ mothers are absent. Still, it is a good summer pick for fans of romance.