2 Sentence Summary
Every Summer After by Carley Fortune is a very moving and beautifully crafted coming-of-age tale. The story revolves around Percy and Sam, who share a deep connection until a mistake tears them apart. Spanning six years and a meaningful reunion 12 years later, this book explores the transformative power of moments, relationships, and life-altering choices.
Summary Read Time: Less than 5 minutes
Actual Book Length: 255
First Published in: 2022
Below is the detailed yet quick Every Summer After summary:
The story begins when Percy’s family buys a summer cottage in Barry’s Bay when she is 13 years old. Percy befriends the two boys who live next door: Sam, who is her age, and his older brother, Charlie. The boys’ mother, Sue, owns and runs a local restaurant called the Tavern. Percy and Sam quickly grow close over the course of that first summer and become best friends. They spend their summers together, swimming or rafting on the lake, or watching horror movies. As they grow older, Percy realizes that she has more than friendly feelings for Sam.
When Percy is nearly 16, her friend Delilah sets her up with her cousin, Mason. Mason eventually asks Percy to be his girlfriend. Confused, Percy asks Sam for advice and, in the course of the conversation, reveals that she likes someone else more. Percy also begins working at the Tavern that summer, wanting to spend more time with Sam. One night, when her parents are away, Percy stays over at the Floreks’ and shares Sam’s bed. They end up kissing, but at the end of summer break, Sam tells Percy that they shouldn’t rush into a relationship, as it could distract from their academic pursuits.
Percy and Mason make things official when she returns home. The following summer, Mason, Delilah, and Delilah’s boyfriend, Patel, visit the cottage for a week while Percy is staying. Sam is jealous and uncomfortable watching Mason and Percy together. He admits he doesn’t want to wait to be with her anymore. Percy eventually breaks things off with Mason, and she and Sam begin officially dating.
Throughout senior year, Percy drives up to the cottage on free weekends to spend time with Sam. Percy gets into the University of Toronto, while Sam is accepted as a premed student at Queen’s in Kingston, a few hours away. Sam invites Percy to prom with him, where he breaks the news that instead of having all summer with her, he is leaving in three weeks, as he has been accepted into an exclusive program for premed students.
After Sam leaves for the program, Charlie tries to cheer up a morose Percy. Meanwhile, Sam becomes distant and uncommunicative as he is overwhelmed by the demands of the program. Feeling insecure and unwanted, Percy responds to Charlie’s overtures and sleeps with him; she regrets it immediately after and has a panic attack. Percy resolves to tell Sam what happened when they meet over Thanksgiving break. However, when Sam proposes to her, she is unable to tell him the truth and so breaks up with him instead. Percy’s parents sell their cottage that same year.
Twelve years later, Percy is an editor living and working in Toronto. She receives an unexpected phone call from Charlie, with news that Sue has passed away. Percy immediately agrees to return for the funeral, though she hasn’t been to Barry’s Bay since breaking up with Sam. Over the weekend, she reconnects with Sam and Charlie, and the romantic connection between her and Sam is still palpable.
Sam eventually tells Percy that he has never stopped loving her, and they sleep together. After, Percy finally tells him the truth about why she broke up with him, and Sam reveals that he has known all these years: When Sam was having a hard time following their breakup, Charlie told him the truth in a bid to help him understand. Sam spent a long time drinking and sleeping around, trying to hurt Percy the same way that shehurt him, but eventually he stopped and the anger dissipated.
Percy apologizes to Sam, and he, in turn, apologizes for never having told her how much he has loved her since the first time they met. The two reconcile and eventually move in together in Toronto. One year after Sue’s death, Sam, Charlie, and Percy come together to spread Sue’s ashes on the lake by the cottage, a place that holds many memories for all of them. This event is particularly significant as it marks the full circle of their journey, from their childhood summers spent together to their individual paths of growth and reconciliation.
The epilogue reveals that Sam, Percy, and Charlie now all live in Toronto. Despite their busy schedules, they still find time to spend together, a testament to the strength of their bond. Percy reflects on the work it took for her and Sam to rebuild their relationship, acknowledging the arguments and misunderstandings they had to overcome. However, she also highlights the ease of their friendship and their deep, unspoken understanding of each other.
As they spread Sue’s ashes, Percy watches Sam and reflects on their journey. She notes how much he has grown and yet how he still resembles the boy she fell in love with all those years ago. In a tender moment, Sam mouths the words “I love you” to Percy over the roar of the boat’s engine, a gesture that speaks volumes about their enduring love for each other.
The epilogue ends on a hopeful note, with Percy planning to ask Sam to marry her.
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