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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2019
  • 9780578522524 0578522527
  • 263 pages
  • $13.59
Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 08/2019
  • B07SJXWQ5N
  • 265 pages
  • $2.99
A Summer of Fever and Freedom

At eighteen years old, Jane is teetering on the cusp of womanhood, a rite of passage complicated and painful for even the most stable of hearts. For Jane, who is anxiously awaiting her brother’s return from the war in Vietnam, the heavy journey is cracking her already fragile foundation. When she attends a party in Greenwich Village and meets twenty-three-year-old gay rights and anti-war activist Maria, the ground threatens to crumble completely under the weight of unexpected infatuation and desire.

Maria has been on her own for years since her mother kicked her out in high school. The activist and writer has had to erect a fierce shield around her heart in order to navigate a world actively fighting against her humanity, and she certainly doesn’t expect the quiet, bookish Jane to tug at those defenses. Maria is sent for a rare tailspin when the walls break just as she prepares for a major life transition that leaves her and Jane at a vulnerable crossroads. From Beatnik cafes and student protests to the Stonewall Riots and Woodstock, Jane and Maria explore the bustle and beauty of New York in the summer of 1969 while exploring their friendship, as well as their own hearts.

As the heated season nears its end, the young women are forced to make monumental decisions and come to terms with realities neither of them wishes to face, ones that will shape them for the rest of their lives. Set during one of America’s most tumultuous periods, A Summer of Fever and Freedom is a historical fiction novel about coming out, coming of age, and coming together, and an ode to the revolutions we all experience.

Reviews
Engel’s debut offers an engaging plunge into the unrest and excitement of 1969 New York. Jane Martin, 18, grew up in Brooklyn and plans to attend Sarah Lawrence College to study literature. At a party in the city, she meets 23-year-old Maria Valentino, who works as a writer at an activist newspaper. Maria, who was disowned by her mother when she came out as a lesbian, has a best friend in her roommate, Kay, a gorgeous, vivacious drag queen. Kay is injured during one of the Stonewall demonstrations, but his wounds heal quickly, and Engel illustrates the intoxicating effect of Kay’s and Maria’s resilience on Jane (“To experience joy in who one was, one must know who they are”). Maria and Jane are attracted to one another, though Jane is just beginning to understand her own sexuality, and they plan to attend Woodstock together. Jane’s brother Stephen, a Vietnam veteran, agrees to drive them, and as they wait in the rain-soaked field for Joan Baez to take the stage, Stephen espouses his theory about the festival’s meaning (“we’re all here searching for something”). The unpolished prose can be distracting, but the author shines in her descriptions of new love. Engel shows promise with this tale of self-discovery. (Self-published)
Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2019
  • 9780578522524 0578522527
  • 263 pages
  • $13.59
Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 08/2019
  • B07SJXWQ5N
  • 265 pages
  • $2.99

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