August 11, 2014

Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita – Review, Interview, and Giveaway

Summer State of Mind

Summer has finally arrived and fifteen-year-old Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper’s parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.

Suddenly, the clueless yet ever-popular Harper is the new girl at the bottom of a social ladder she can’t climb in wedge sandals and expensive clothes. She seems to be winning over super-cute camp “Lifer” Ethan, though, and if she can manage to make a few friends–and stay out of trouble–she just might find a whole new summer state of mind.

A fresh and funny summer-camp companion novel to Jen Calonita’s hit Sleepaway Girls.

add to goodreads

Summer State of Mind (Whispering Pines #2)
by Jen Calonita
Publication Date:  April 22, 2014
Publisher:  Poppy

Available for Purchase:

** I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song! **

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** This title was provided to us by the author for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **


Gabby-2013With summer breaking’s end nearing, all of us teens are looking for something to do. For some of us (or people like me who are located too far north to be given direct sun exposure all year round) we’re trying to soak up what rays of sun we can before the season changes and school starts up again. What’s the best way to spend these lazy summer days? By reading a book set in the summertime as well!

I wasn’t entirely sure of what to expect from author Jen Calonita’s, Summer State of Mind, but I did see a lot of hype for it online and naturally got curious. It wasn’t at all what I expected. Which isn’t a bad thing. Summer State of Mind was very fresh, new and unlike any of the summertime YA novels I’ve had the opportunity to read.

All that fifteen-year-old Harper McAllister can’t wait for is the summertime. This summer she should be heading out on a vacation with her best friends, lounging all day, spending all the money on their rich father’s credit cards, doing the typical things that girls like them do. Notice how I said ‘should’? That’s because when Harper’s parents receive an obscene credit-card bill from their daughter it’s bye, bye lazy summer vacay and hello to camp.

Harper is a total outsider at the camp. Nobody seems to really like her and despite her best efforts she just can’t fit in. That doesn’t deter her one bit. Then there’s Ethan whose eye she’s somehow managed to catch. With a bit of hard work and attempting thing she’s never done before, this summer might not turn out so terrible for Harper after all.

The writing in Summer State of Mind is very simplistic and paints an easy picture in the reader’s mind. It isn’t hard to tell what’s going on and the way that the novel is written makes it easy to turn pages without even noticing that you’re just zooming through the book. Summer State of Mind is a novel that is easy to get caught up in because, in spite of everything, you do want to know how Harper will turn out and if she’ll get the boy and finally accomplish all of her goals.

What first got me interested in Summer State of Mind was the fact that (like myself) Harper is only fifteen years old. No biggie. Sounds cool to be in the head of somebody my own age. I’ll admit that at first when I started the novel I definitely thought that she was a realistic teen but as the novel progressed that belief did begin to slip and falter. There are certain scenes that totally pulled off Harper acting her age, but then there were others that had me shaking my head. For people who aren’t within Harper’s own age demographic (15-18) they might not be able to relate completely, for readers who are tweens Harper’s adventures will probably be more relatable and entertaining.

Summer State of Mind is a good read. The only thing that took away from my experience was the above. Harper does a lot of things that—no matter how rich you are—are just plain dumb. Common-sense type things that just had me turned off a lot. That and the use of calling her father McDaddy which was kind of McCreepy to read.

I would recommend Summer State of Mind to any readers who are looking for a novel that is still funny, light and a quick summer read. Any readers who are in that middle grade/junior high age-group will probably have a very fun time with Summer State of Mind.

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---InterviewTop Favs with Jen Calonita
(author of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series, Belles series,
and the recently released “Summer State of Mind”)


You’re home alone, there’s a fire!  Top 3 things you’d grab and save from the fire.

My wedding album, my scrapbook albums (I have about thirty I’ve made so far so as many as I can carry) and my wedding rings.


Top 3 Favorite authors (dead or alive) and why

Ally Carter – Love anything and everything she’s written. She manages to do YA in a sweet but exciting way that is totally engrossing.

Meg Cabot – Her Princess Diaries series is the whole reason I became a YA author. I love how she writes dialogue and I’m amazed at how quickly she churns books out!

Sophie Kinsella – anyone who says chick lit is lame has not read Sophie Kinsella! She’s hilarious, her plots move quickly and they are the ideal summer read.


Top 3 Favorite snacks while writing and why

Groan….this is a dangerous question! I always eat too much when I write! I love little nut packs from Trader Joes. Frozen grapes are good when I remember to freeze them. Popcorn is messy. I don’t advise it when you’re near a computer keyboard.


Top 3 Favorite books that inspired you to write and why

Steven Kellog’s “Molly Moves Out.” It’s an early chapter book that I have from second grade. My dog ate a corner of it, and it’s worn and beaten up, but Steven came to my elementary school for an author signing and I never forgot meeting him. It felt like he had the coolest job in the world, and he did.

Cynthia Voight’s “Homecoming.” My favorite book as a teen. It was so heartbreaking, so real, and the characters just haunted me.

“Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery– It was the first time I got truly swept away in a story.


Top 3 favorite songs to listen to while writing and why

I try not to listen to anything I really love when I’m writing. Strange, right? I get too distracted by the story! I do love listening to the Maroon 5 and Michael Buble stations on Pandora. I find them very soothing.


Top 3 favorite techniques to overcome writers block and why

Step away from the computer! I’m a big believer in taking a mental break—having lunch, going for a walk—then going back to the story with fresh eyes.

2. Call a friend whose opinion you trust and hash the problem out with her. I do this with writer friends all the time.

3. Suck it up and plow right through the scene. Sometimes I realize I let myself off the hook too easily. The scene is scary, or hard, or painful and I don’t want to keep going, but sometimes you just have to!


Top 3 musicians/bands/groups and why

I love Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, Maroon 5 – I’m pretty much a radio kind of girl and am always downloading new songs to run to. I love “Classic” by MKTO.


Top 3 favorite movies of all time and why

It’s constantly changing! I love girlie movies. 13 Going on 30, Never Been Kissed, and Enchanted are three of my favorites.


Top 3 favorite animated movies and why

Frozen – It may sound clichéd, but as a big Idina Menzel fan, I just can’t get enough of it! I’m still Team Anna though.

Tangled – I’m always begging the kids to watch this one with me. I have a crush on Flynn Ryder.

Star Wars the Clone Wars – the movie is awesome and as a big Star Wars fan, I couldn’t wait for my boys to get into it!


Top 3 favorite movie moments and why

Notting Hill – Julia Roberts “ I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her” speech gets me every time.

Love, Actually – when Sam goes running through the airport to tell his schoolmate how he feels about her. I tear up even though my husband grumbles about how unrealistic it is that this kid could get through security at Heathrow.

Pitch Perfect – when I need a pick me up, I put on the Bellas finale number. I love it!


Top 3 favorite actors/actresses and why

I have a thing for Chris Hemsworth. My kids think it’s hilarious that Mom has a crush on Thor!

I’ve always been a huge fan of George Clooney and really like anything he’s in.

Reese Witherspoon


Top 3 favorite gadgets and why

Hmm…My Microsoft Surface. I use it to write on the go and love that it is a tablet and a laptop. My MacBook I’m on right now. I just love this thing. My iPhone. I am addicted to Pinterest and love searching for things on there.


Top 3 favorite dream destinations and why

Walt Disney World—always. We’re a big Disney family. We go at least once a year! Aruba. I love the Caribbean and this is my favorite island. I love being at the beach. London – my new favorite city after my first visit this year. I can’t wait to go back.




I’m Jen Calonita, a YA author who loves what I do because it lets me connect with all of you (and no, I wasn’t intending for that to rhyme!).

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it was fourth grade when I put my “three wishes” for a genie down on paper. They were:
#1. Buy all the Cabbage Patch Kids in the world and give them away for free (because apparently that was how I rolled).
#2. I wanted a mansion, limo, lake house, pool and speed boat (still sounds quite nice).
#3. I wanted to be an author for young readers, which I am!

I love writing novels for teens (and for savvy grown ups who know that YA rocks at any age). My first series was “Secrets of My Hollywood Life” and it followed a teen star named Kaitlin Burke who struggled with the fame game. I have also written the stand-alone novels Sleepaway Girls and Reality Check.

But I’m most excited for you to read my new series Belles. It follows two polar opposite Southern girls who share the same roof and one life-changing secret. I’ll be blogging more about the girls soon, but for now, you can follow the book and what inspires the details on Pinterest where I have a board dedicated to Belles.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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  1. Christina R.

    LOVE all her other books! She’s got an authentic teen voice :)

    thank you :)

  2. Irma Jurejevčič

    I wan’t to read it because it sounds awesome and I checked it on goodreads too :)

  3. Ellie M.

    This looks amazing! I love the cover and it would be a perfect read for the end of the summer. Thanks for hosting!!!

  4. GuinR

    I have been reading so many YA books lately and would really love to add Summer State of Mind to my list.

  5. Karen Bainbridge

    This sounds like a fun end of summer read just what you need before heading back to school, I would really enjoy reading Summer State of Mind

  6. Chanpreet

    It sounds like a really good story. I’d like to know what happens.

  7. Mary Preston

    This sounds like the ideal, fun, easy summer read.

  8. Pam

    This sounds like a cute, fun story.

  9. Summer

    I’ve never read anything by her, but going by her favorite authors she likes fun and fluffy, so I’m thinking that’s probably similar to her writing style, which to me is ideal reading this time of year, plus it’s set at a summer camp, and that’s always entertaining.

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