Four young people come of age in small-town Mississippi where racial tension lies just below the surface - as does an unknown body in a shallow grave. Fletcher Greel, the Judge's son, is home for the summer; he falls instantly for beautiful Haley who has broken the heart of every boy in town. Fletcher's oldest friend Riley has fallen for a black girl called Crystal. Intoxicated by blues and whiskey and the new-found freedoms of late adolescence, the four of them are bold and rash and in love. But they live in a place where old attitudes die hard. As the summer wanes, disapproval of Riley and Crystal's romance takes a hateful and violent turn, and Haley's secrets surface with frightening results. Rich with unforgettable characters and smouldering sexual tension, The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me captures all the intensity and exhilaration of young love and rebellion.
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(197mm x 130mm x 20mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Set in Houser Banks, a fictional town in contemporary Mississippi, during a hot, steamy Deep South summer, this book is a wistful and haunting tale of first love and loss of innocence. Local heartbreaker 16-year-old Hayley Ellyson stumbles on her father's friend Bo with the body of an armless black man in her house. Bo makes Hayley into a conspirator, forcing her to help him bury the man and using the power of their secret to engage in a sexual relationship with her. The meat of the book concerns itself with Hayley, her wild friend Riley and Riley's black girlfriend, Crystal. The Fletcher Greel of the title is the judge's son, a sensitive and responsible young man who falls in love with Hayley and becomes enmeshed in the passion and angst of a summer long affair. Hayley recognizes Fletcher's innocence and loves him for it, while at the same time continuing her sordid relationship with Bo. But Hayley's secret is a grim shadow hanging over them all as they go to blues parties, get drunk and swim in the river. Riley and Crystal have to hide their relationship, and when they decide to make it public the racist elements of their society emerge with destructive results. The shallow grave of the black man is a metaphor for the racism which still exists in the Deep South, the stench of the crime infecting the entire story with a sense of inevitable nemesis. This is an atmospheric and lyrical first novel. Perhaps the denouement tarries a little and is a bit of an anti-climax when it occurs, but the writing has plenty of sincerity to carry it off. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Suzanne Kingsbury
Suzanne Kingsbury grew up in Conneticut and was a dancer and choreographer before turning to writing. She went to Sri Lanka as a Fulbright scholar, lived in Morocco, Finland and Japan, and travelled in Africa. She now lives in Tucson, Arizona.