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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 03/2021
  • 978-953-59581-7-8
  • 511 pages
  • $14.99
Ebook Details
  • 02/2021
  • 978-953-59581-6-1 B08X6JZKRM
  • 484 pages
  • $4.99
Bernard Jan
Author
Cruel Summer
Bernard Jan, author

All he wants to do is skate. But they have other plans for him.

Michael Daniels is seventeen and dreams of entering professional skateboarding contests. But beneath New Manhattan, a city under the oppressive shadow of climate change, exists another world altogether—secret laboratories which threaten society as he knows it.

Those with power will get what they want. No price is too high, even if it means making someone special or robbing them of their dignity, freedom . . . or worse.

The price is too high for Michael, though. He has endured his stepfather’s abuse and mind games for as long as he remembers. Until one day he takes matters into his own hands, ruining the lives of those he loves most. With disaster looming, his skateboarding friends, Alien and Victor, are his only hope for freedom. But will Michael’s attempts to earn his freedom cost him his life?

When there is no hope left, friendship is what remains.

 

If you like emotional stories, authoritarian dystopias, and fearless friendships, you’ll love Bernard Jan’s gripping young adult drama.

Buy Cruel Summer to enter this chilling world now.

Reviews
A.X.Y. Grace at Goodreads

When I read the synopsis for Cruel Summer, I was expecting a laid-back light reading on skateboarding youths. What readers can expect from Bernard Jan’s book will be much more. The book itself could fall into a combination of genres including sports, sleuth and sci-fi.

Being a book lover, action-sports fan and writer myself, I read the book from three perspectives.

As a reader, the story transitioned from dramatic into somewhat of a mystery which I enjoyed, although I did hope that there was more explanation of how the lead character’s gift was supposed to be manifested. I do not feel a star-rating system can justify my review for this book, so did not put it in.

As an inline-skater (yes, friendly rivalry with skateboarders), I appreciate the author Bernard’s inclusion and explanation of skateboarding terms which are helpful in visualizing what the characters were doing.

As a writer, I was impressed by the choice of words as this was a translated book from Croatian and written twenty years ago. It did not feel out of place at all or had sentence structures that jumped out due to a foreign context (since this version was set in NYC). The poems penned by the author inserted at the end of the novel was a refreshing touch, especially "the East River Has Begun to Weep".

Thanks again to Bernard for the copy for review, and look forward to your upcoming new works!

Aaron Polish at Goodreads

even though I don't skateboard, I do love this story, ending has tragedy in it, but this story is full of interesting things.

Angel Ramon Medina at Goodreads

An overall excellent Dystopian fiction book, a solid read for sure. This is always a hard one to grade without spoiling the plot for others to read the book. Well here it goes, The plot has a dark dystopian feel to it with the ice age hitting new york and Bernard finds a way to fit his personality, which is what I absolutely love! I have to say that is the trickiest part of any book for an author to pull off. Michael has to prove himself innocent of a crime he did not commit, very similar to my second book, Framed: The Second book of the Thousand Years War Series. Anyway, it's a great plot that I don't wish to spoil, so you'll just have to read it for yourself.

I was lucky enough to get a translated copy from the author, the actual book is in Croatian.

Anna Casamento Arrigo at Amazon

Jan’s ‘Cruel Summer,’ is a magnificently written story! Bordering on poetic prose, (which I absolutely LOVE), a tale of unbelievable events-aliens and all-is deftly revealed through wonderful dialogue. Love when a weaver shows the emotions rather than tell the reader what is happening or may happen! Well done! Highly recommended!!

Betanda Shanam at Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored

Michael, a young adult who lives among the skateboarding community in New York, is grieving from the loss of his mother, who passed away a few months earlier. Michael is left to fend for himself spending most of his time skateboarding, grieving his mum and trying to escape his stepdad’s abuse and control. His younger sister is on holiday at their grandparent’s ranch and his stepdad works long hours.   Michael’s dream is to become a professional skateboarder, however, unknown to Michael, his stepdad has sinister plans for him which do not include the skateboarding world. Michael takes matters into his own hands when he needs money to pursue his dream. His stepdad has unacceptable conditions around lending Michael the money.  Led by desperation and fear to escape the life he is living, Michael takes control which leads to a life on the run. With the support of his friends, he is able to survive.

There is so much more I could write about this story, but I do not want to give anything away. Some of the contents are shocking and disturbing, though Bernard writes these scenes in a way that makes them a little easier to read. Though Bernard states this is not based on a real life, it would not surprise me if it was!

I found Cruel Summer to be an emotional, moving story that pulled me in right from the start.  I found the characters to be strong and vivid, Bernard’s writing is so easy to absorb that it brings the story to life.  I really enjoyed Cruel Summer.  Bernard’s writing drew me into the story straight from the start. A fabulous book! 

I give Cruel Summer 5 stars.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Billy Buttons, The Wishing Shelf Book Awards at Goodreads

This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:

Title: Cruel Summer

Author: Bernard Jan

 

Star Rating: 5 Stars

Number of Readers: 16

Stats

Editing: 9/10

Writing Style: 8/10

Content: 8/10

Cover: 5/5

 

Of the 16 readers:

16 would read another book by this author.

16 thought the cover was good or excellent.

16 felt it was easy to follow.

16 would recommend this book to another reader to try.

Of all the readers, 7 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a story’.

Of all the readers, 5 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘developing the characters’.

Of all the readers, 4 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘writing style’.

15 felt the pacing was good or excellent.

16 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted.

 

Readers’ Comments

“I so enjoyed this gritty, dark novel. It´s perfect for my age group, and I would love to read the next book.” Female reader, aged 15

“A novel about greed and the harm it can do. I loved all the skateboarding which the author described well. The author is good at dialogue and developing the characters. He´s also goo at setting a fast pace.” Female reader, aged 16

“A compelling dystopian novel for young adults with a climate change flavour to it. There´s lots of family drama and a ton of twists I didn´t see coming.” Male reader, aged 14

“Wow! This book is amazing. I love dystopian novels, THGs being my favourite. But this was very, very good too. I liked the skateboarding angle which was clever. If you like fast-paced adventure novels, you´ll like this.” Girl, age 15

 

To Sum It Up:

‘A captivating dystopian YA novel with strong characterisation. A FINALIST and highly recommended!’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

Carol Naylor at Carol Naylor blog

It’s mid-August and New York City is established as the main setting to this tragic and disconcerting story about Michael Daniels a 17 year old suffering grievously from the recent death of his mother, Melanie, losing the will to live.

​We are plunged into a cold NYC suggesting that America may be experiencing a new climatic disorder and establishing pathetic fallacy to set the scene for some shocking revelations. It is “ a perfect setting for his [ Michael’s ] gloomy feelings and depressing thoughts.” “ Cruel Summer ” is an apt choice of title, ominous, reflecting Michael’s mind and life. Young adults, the intended audience will understand and appreciate the intensity, dark moods and melancholic tones.

​His relationship with his step-father, Hank is a brutal one. He works at RIRI- Roosevelt Island Research Institute which is directly supervised and conducted by the White House, shrouded in secrecy, sounding unethical from the hints within the narrative.

​Hank is linked to Neil Beresford, another unsavoury character who becomes Michael’s psychiatrist for a short while. Beresford is a leading expert in biochemistry. They have guarded personal secrets coined by Beresford as “ pleasure trips ” to justify their abuse of young males. Very devious and dangerous falling stereotypically into the moulds of villains- Daniels in an extreme way as both a lunatic and a monster who won’t tolerate defiance or disobedience. Beresford, on the other hand, is more subtle and superficially, seems kinder and more generous! He understands the art of manipulation. Michael inevitably becomes the victim of these two dangerous men.

​Michael has a close-knit group of friends that share his obsession of skateboarding, all experts which balances the maudling anxieties faced by Michael. The other guys seem tougher and less emotional (apart from Victor) than Michael, born survivors. This features throughout the story and we discover how skilled Michael really is- one thing in his life that gives him the will to live as well as his undying love for sister Rebecca.

​It’s interesting that Michael’s other interest is specifically in the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, shot dead by his lover Paul Verlaine at the age of 37. Both the protagonist and his idol suffered violent relationships and I believe that the character of Michael Daniels may have been partly modelled on Rimbaud.

Christopher Henry Thomas at Goodreads

Although I've never hopped on a skateboard in my life, to avoid my certain death, I love this story. It was like a mash up of mystery, suspense, and more in a dystopian society. This book wasn't exactly my first choice in genre. Now, I've got a new type of genre and a writer that I can look forward to coming back to. I love Michael's resiliency and determination and that kept me turning the pages. This book was a translation? Extremely well written and translated. Thanks Bernard. Keep up the great work.

David Sharp at Amazon

Cruel Summer has good bones in a narrative sense like a solid deck of a pro skateboard. Written twenty years ago in Croatian, it feels fresh and alive in this new translation. I love that each chapter is prefaced with skating terminology—moves and tricks—that reflect the course of the story. One that follows a group of friends, NYC street skaters, experiencing near future dystopian angst, burgeoning sexuality, abuse, and a dose of X-Files in secret government plots and psychokinesis. Cruel Summer is a good story that stays in the mind long after, where snippets of character moments come back to haunt and loose plot threads intrigue with the ambiguity of poetry. In tribute to its complicated protagonist, Cruel Summer leaves me with the urge to read Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell once more.

Elie N. Azar at Goodreads

I was lucky enough to receive a translated version of Bernard Jan's book, "Cruel Summer", which was originally published in Croatian. All in all, the plot is very strong, I was just confused a little bit at the beginning, as I felt some pieces were missing, but I was able to have a better and a stronger understanding throughout my readings. This made me very curious to knowing what was coming next. I loved Bernard's style, it reminded be a bit of those of Nicholas Sparks and John Green. I love when authors write in so much detail, that they make you feel like you are part of the story itself. Being a poetry fan myself, I loved the piece of poetry at the end of the book.

Dear Bernard, I wish you all the best with this new book of yours.

I recommend everyone to give it a go.

Hana at Goodreads

didn't really like te ending, but otherwise the characters are very nicely described and explained

Jane H. Wood at Goodreads

Cruel Summer, by Bernard Jan.

An intriguing, beautifully written novel, set in New York during a summer suffering from climate change.
Enjoy the wonderfully descriptive imagery in this skilfully constructed multi-layered story where boundaries and friendships are tested. I could feel the tension mounting with each turn of the page as I quickly became engrossed in this compelling story.
Michael Daniels is a gentle, sensitive, seventeen-year-old boy who loves skateboarding with his friends in New York’s central park. Michael is a talented skateboarder who dreams of the day when he can enter skateboarding contests on a professional level, but his stepfather, Hank, has other plans for him.
Michael fears and despises Hank: he has suffered his mind games, verbal outbursts, and physical abuse for the last time. Still grieving the death of his mother, and with his sister Rebecca away on summer vacation with her grandparents in Denver, Michael finds solace in his friends, Alien, and Victor.
There were so many moving chapters, one comes to mind, it was when Victor visits his grandmother, Angela, in the care home and Michael accompanied him and he patiently reads her a poem. Very touching and sensitively told.
Beneath the streets of New Manhattan lie the shadowy underworld of secret laboratories. Conspiracy, and manipulation tangle Michael further in its web. Devious and cold-hearted the trap to capture Michael is set in motion, instigated by Hank Daniels, who is one of the leading scientists at the Roosevelt Island Research Institute. Michael’s condition descends deeper into depression when an unexpected friend reveals himself. Secrets, family drama, lies and squabbles, show the best, and the worst side of human nature.
I loved this powerful and emotional story. A harrowing read at times. Thought-provoking… most definitely. One of the best books I have read in a long time, and one that will stay with me for a long time as well. I loved the literary composition in the form of a dialogue which I found almost poetic, and the beautifully crafted characters each bringing their own personality to enrich the story.

It was interesting to note the skateboarding terms, the descriptions made me smile. Phew! Rollercoaster ride over, pity. What a gem. Well done, Bernard.

Highly recommended.

Joni Martins at Amazon UK

Book Review

Basic Details:
Book Title: Cruel Summer
Subtitle:
Author: Bernard Jan
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Part of a series? No
Order in series:
Best read after earlier books in series?

Overall score:
I scored this book 5/5
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Short Summary of the book:
This is another great book by this author.
In the book, we meet Michael, a young man who recently lost his mother and lives with his stepdad. His sister spends the summer with their grandparents while Michael spends his days skating with friends.
But all is not as it seems. Although the book is quite dark and broaches the subject of child abuse and sexual exploitation, there are a lot of positive things along the way to give us hope. Definitely a book worth reading.
What I liked about the book:
Bernard Jan has a great style of writing and I couldn’t put the book down.
What I didn’t like about the book:
I really loved the book. Even the dark scenes did not distract from the great story. Indeed, they were an integral part of it.
My favourite bits in the book:
The support Michael receives from his friends.
My least favourite bits in the book:
To tell you, would give away an important detail of the book. I’m afraid you’ll have to read it yourself and suspect you will feel the same.
Any further books in the series? Any more planned by this author?
This author has written a few other books, which are also very much worth a read. I enjoyed them all.
What books could this be compared to and why?
This is a great book that doesn’t shy away from some difficult topics in society. I can’t say I have read any other books doing exactly the same, although the other books by this author also touch on some important subjects.
Recommendation:
In summary, I would recommend this book for the following readers:

Children No
Young Adult Yes
Adult Yes

If you like your books dark, but full of hope for the future, this young adult book may be the book for you.
I’m certainly looking forward to reading more by this author.

Julia Walker at Julia Picks 1

The newest book by Bernard Jan continues to demonstrate Jan’s fabulous poetic prose and adds a very edgy feel to this story.  Bordering on a science-fiction read, Cruel Summer weaves a fantastic tale of a government-sponsored research project on the ability to control minds and mind-altering techniques.  To top it off, the story revolves around a teenage skateboarder with high-level skills whose primary focus is to become a pro.  

Michael Daniel’s Mother has died, leaving him and his sister struggling with their grief and living with their step-father.  The relationship between Michael and his step-father has always been tenuous at best.  His sister has gone to Colorado to spend the summer with his grandparents with Michael left alone to adapt to the loss of his Mom and his Stepfather being in charge.  The good news is that Michael has a support team in his skateboarding pack.  Victor and Allen have his back and are there for him in his struggles.

If you read my posts very often you know I do not like to include spoilers, so let me just say that this is a very intriguing book with several twists.  It is rather nerve-racking to think that this could be a true story because there was a time in the United States that independent thought was considered an asset.  If you are expecting a “usual” read from Jan you will be disappointed for this novel will be located in a whole different genre like those in which you might find Stephen King or Joe Hill.  It is always exciting when an author takes on a different type of storytelling!

Review at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MR78Bq.

Kristina Gallo at Goodreads

Cruel Summer is a story about climate change, drama and thriller, melodrama, and young adult story, all at once.

In the beginning, we are following Michael's life with his father Hank after his mother's death and his sister Rebecca who is a rebellious kid. Michael wants to skate and go to the contest to improve his skills. He is bonded with his friends who became a substitute for family. The world of secret laboratories will make another perspective in his life, he will face it with a higher power. Where money rules and emotions are not important, Michael will see his own way to justice.

Mark Schultz at Amazon

This is quite an amazing book! It’s so well written and expresses the deepest feelings that are impossible to share at times.
The young adult and teen hubris are marvelously expressed in so many different characters. While the setting is somewhat dystopian and science fiction, the action is driven by the relationships on so many different levels. The author has done a wonderful job of bringing the multitude of points that create who we are to life.
The difficult scenes are handled with finesse and the author is to be commended for not sensationalizing those aspects. The plotting is very intertwined and brings the different events and relationships into a clear focus.
The dialogue is excellent and carries the story forward well.
I love this book and give it 5 stars!

Mr Pink at Mr Pink Ink

Let me start this by appreciating all the hours I spent playing the Tony Hawk Pro Skater game on the PlayStation years ago without which I wouldn’t have understood even a tenth of all the skater references and terminology.

I don’t usually read translated books, but when I do, I’m highly critical of the grammar and stuff… suffice it to say, this book isn’t badly translated, which was done by the author himself so kudos for that, but it certainly needed the services of a professional and I feel the story lost much impact because of it. However, I am very grateful that there was a notification at the beginning of the book, which allowed me to accept certain errors… Also, I have no knowledge about Croatia or its people or its cultures, but I had Google at the ready.

The writing is surprisingly good, even shining through the translation, and it kept me reading chapter after chapter. Not only does Jan create atmospheric scenes of cityscapes and landscapes but meshes this hybrid of Dystopia / Science Fiction and mixing it with the familiar that it seems like we’re reading a Contemporary with a slight Paranormal feel to it… you can barely notice the differences, really, which opens this story up to many, many more types of readers.

Chapter divisions, too, are done in a very unique way – there is a paragraph from a skateboard user’s manual or something between each chapter; I haven’t tested it but I think you can read the chapter things themselves together and they’ll probably form an instruction manual… very awesome, actually.

But what is any story without the characters and Bernard Jan has written some incredibly “real” characters for us to love and/or hate. Michael is a cinnamon roll, talented and popular, but broken and deeply flawed; abused by his “father” and manipulated by his therapist, he can only turn to his truest friends for help and support.

Cruel Summer is raw and provocative and will definitely keep you guessing.

Nancy Allen (The Avid Reader) at Amazon

Cruel Summer follows a whole slew of people as they take us on a journey through their lives and all of their ups and downs, mostly downs. I enjoyed following each character and learning about their lives and stories although some of them were very sad. Cruel Summer kept me on the edge of my seat as I watched and waited to see how each of these characters' lives was going to interact and or intertwine.

Cruel Summer follows one character Michael who wants nothing more than just to skateboard for a few years before going to college and starting a career. Michael’s story was a sad one. Michael lost his mother a while back and his sister had moved away leaving him home alone with a very abusive stepfather. Michael hid his abuse well or at least tried to but he didn’t count on his two best friends paying more attention to him than he knew.

Cruel Summer follows several different characters each unique in their own way. Each had a heart of gold. Well, most did, some did not of course. Cruel Summer explores more than one kind of love and relationship. There was the love a boy had for his grandmother. The love between friends and siblings and how far each would go to protect the other.

Cruel Summer is a story that will break your heart. It is a story that will draw you in from the beginning and keep you hanging on as you travel down one suspenseful road after another just trying to figure it all out. Cruel Summer kept me in suspense from page one with quite a few twists. There was this one Easter egg that made me think oh that is sick and so wrong on so many different levels.

I highly recommend Cruel Summer but with a warning as there is sexual abuse.

Nicky Flowers at Indies Today

At seventeen, Michael Daniels dreams of life as a professional skateboarder. Gliding down the bustling streets of New Manhattan, Michael can almost forget about the shambles that is his life. He recently buried his mother, his beloved sister is over a thousand miles away visiting relatives, and his abusive father is more monster than human. Besides skating, he also has his friends to help temper his depressing existence. But at a time when climate change is wrecking the environment, the climate isn’t the only thing changing in New Manhattan. Manipulations, experimentations and violations abound, and Michael is going to see evidence of these firsthand. Tired of the emotional darkness, he finally decides to take a dramatic stand. The bonds of friendship are put to the test as this kaleidoscopic novel reaches its climax.

Cruel Summer by Bernard Jan is a physical manifestation of the ‘square peg in a round hole’ metaphor. It somehow kisses almost every literary genre, but fits exclusively in none. This singular novel features young adult drama, the trauma of cruel abuse, a time-distorted version of New York City, and some adequately mind-blowing twists. The relationships feel authentic, not just with Michael and his friends, but especially between fellow skateboarder Victor and his dying grandmother. There is a fluid, lyrical quality to the prose, adding a sophistication to the story that even the colorful characters cannot match. Another smart touch is the collection of original poems at the end of the book. They really round out an out-of-the-ordinary novel and help magnify the person Michael is. Jan’s writing style provides an unforgettable, trippy reading experience. The pace moves fast and the plot is completely unexpected. Imperfections and all, Cruel Summer is an original and innovative novel that truly knows no bounds.

Nico J. Genes at Amazon

Michael is a seventeen-year-old boy living in New York. His mother died a few months back, and he cannot find peace of heart and mind ever since. He is not on good terms with his father, Hank Daniels, and his sister Rebecca is in Denver, visiting their grandparents during summer vacation.

Yes, it is summer, but a different one. With temperatures more appropriate for winter and with lots of dark events, it resembles more of a cruel summer. Michael loves skateboarding, and his main wish would be to take it to the professional level. And this sport and his friends are what keeps him sane. Behind his beautiful psychical figure, intelligent mind, and good heart, Michael hides a big secret. He is ashamed and afraid to share it with his friends. Michael doesn’t know that his friend Alien knows more about him. However, he does know that his friends are on his side, and he can count on them during the hardest times.

There are many touching scenes in the story. I loved the most the one when Michael visits Victor's grandmother, Angela, and he reads her poetry. Skateboarding and poetry may not seem to interest the same person. But it does Michael.

Michael visits almost daily his mother's grave. “Mama, I’m not happy. Nothing’s been good since you’ve been gone. I’m lost in a world I do not understand, and I am trying to find myself. I despise so many things, and there is so little worth living.”

Michael misses his younger sister and scares her a bit when he’s telling her about the visions he has about her. He calls them presumptions. At his father’s suggestion, Michael starts seeing a psychiatrist, Neil. Neil gains Michael’s trust. For a short period, it seems that Neil can help him. Until one day when Michael decided that he needs to stop it.
Rebecca suffers too from her mother’s death and finds a bit of relief in the company of Sunny Red. But this relief is about to end when something terrible happens. Her father is dead, and Michael is assumed to be the killer. A real family drama where murder is only one of the so many awful things that take place. Is Hank the victim here or the one to blame for so many wrong things?

It is a heartbreaking story, full of love, trust, loyalty, family drama, conspiracy, and a brilliant inclusion of skateboarding. The author, who ingeniously describes skateboarding moves at the beginning of each chapter, managed to create an unpredictably compelling story, beautifully written and beautifully crafted just like in his other books: A world without color, Look for Me Under the Rainbow, and January River.

Patience K Phillips at Goodreads

Growing up in NYC relate to the scenery of Bernard Jan’s Cruel Summer. The struggles of family and friendship begin to reveal themselves early in this recently renewed story previously published in Croatian.

If I hadn't read a summary of the book wouldn't have known. Seems very accurate to my hometown.

On a side note, the cover illustration is fantastic. Seeing city within the silhouette makes the story meaning deeply embedded within the vibe for me.

The only struggle for me is the length. Converted the prerelease copy from the author into audio via Speechify making enjoyment a bit more exciting as a listener.

Following a dream isn't easy. Obstacles arise from family, friends, and social pressures.
Hints of Tara Westover’s ”Educated” and J.D. Vance’s ”Hillbilly Elegy” appear among the various moments of familial abuses except Cruel Summer is fiction.

Michael, a youth, struggles within the context of family and friends for his identity.
Michael craves different. His world tries to tie him to their norm.

Within the mix are family friend relationships from Victor’s grandmother's passing to social constructs of teen pressure.

Warning, language, and sexual content are very brief but might offend some readers. Within the context of a few scenes, these could be considered appropriately played out.

A few things that would make the book shorter, characters like Bryan, if there were a prologue of his ascent to the presidency would have worked better for me.

Dealing with the father was tough.

What I like a lot is how this could easily be adapted as a movie or mini-series. There are a lot of moving parts that could fill a script of characters. I think this would be very appealing to young people struggling for an identity beyond the obvious.

Parents and children struggle from a mixed stepfamily to the groups of friends turned toward for understanding whom have struggles of their own. Plus, a goal to succeed beyond the belief of other familial or peer relationships.

This reminds me of most films that appeal to the late teen to early 20’s genre’. Set in NYC.

We see into the lives with more intricacy of the pain of loss. The humility of counseling is felt by boys sometimes. Another issue confronted.

Remember the Karate Kid? Mister Miagi? This story has the potential to morph into a gem theme for theaters.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💯

Peggy at Goodreads

This is a first time for me to read anything from this author and was glad I have! This book is well put together! Young adults as well as old will love it!

Piaras at Emerald Book Reviews

Cruel Summer by award-winning Croatian born author Bernard Jan is a superbly written and richly descriptive novel with brilliantly drawn characters and settings. The threads of storytelling are expertly woven in this Y/A dystopian tale that will guarantee the attention of the reader. Skillfully constructed, this gripping and emotional drama had me turning the pages from beginning to end.

The plot is intricately sculpted as the synopsis suggests: ‘All he wants to do is skate. But they have other plans for him. Michael Daniels is seventeen and dreams to enter professional skateboarding contests. But beneath New Manhattan, a city under the oppressive shadow of climate change, exists another world altogether—secret laboratories which threaten society as he knows it… Those with power will get what they want. No price is too high, even if it means making someone special or robbing them of their dignity, freedom . . . or life. The price is too high for Michael, though. He has endured his stepfather’s abuse and mind games for almost as long as he remembers. Until one day he takes matters into his own hands, ruining the lives of those he loves most. And his skateboarding friends, Alien and Victor, are his only hope for freedom… When there is no hope left, friendship is what remains.’

I enjoyed the story, character development, and dialogue. There were plenty of plot twists that I didn’t see coming and that added to the book’s mystique. When I stopped reading to work, I found myself wondering what happened in the book, and replaying parts of the novel in my head to see if I could figure more out. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book this much. It’s a first-class multi-layered dystopian fiction with perfect pacing.

The beauty of this book is in the potency of the characters and the author’s command of the language. The originality of the story lies in the effectiveness of the characters and the author’s microscopic viewpoint of the human condition. The most outstanding features of the book are the impressively realistic characters in the story and the author’s eloquence and mastery with the use of the English language. The story is layered enough that there’s no one marketing umbrella formula that can lump it together other than original, creative and thought provoking. It entertains but grabs you and doesn’t let go until it threads into your mind and makes you think.

Cruel Summer had every element a good story should have. An intriguing plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. There’s an abundance of well-illustrated scenes that make you feel like you are right there in the story, and that’s something I look for in a good book. It’s one of those stories that come along once in a while that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader.

I was impressed with the insight and empathy of the writer into the spirits of his characters. Any aspiring fiction writer will learn a lot about character development by reading Cruel Summer by Bernard Jan. Highly recommended.

Rebecca Gransden at Amazon UK

Set against the backdrop of 90s New York skate culture, Bernard Jan’s Cruel Summer centres on Michael, young and ambitious with dreams of turning pro. With a contest overseas on the horizon he sets his sights on competing. At home, however, negative forces begin to gather, and soon it becomes apparent that finding a way to take part in the competition is the least of his worries. With a dark past finally catching up with him, and newly revealed threats closing in, Michael struggles to make his way through perilous circumstances.

Jan’s sprawling novel presents an evocative portrayal of the era, authentically capturing the quality of the times. The novel takes it’s time and establishes its characters, giving a genuine account of the turning point from childhood to adulthood. As the central character of Michael progresses and faces the challenges he’s presented with, the secondary characters share their own stories, adding to the sense of lives intertwined by the growing infiltration of oncoming responsibilities. Jan has a poetic sensibility at times, and this is reflected in the character of Michael’s own appreciation for poetry, especially that of Rimbaud. The theme of childhood sexual abuse is tackled, and handled for the most part well, underlining how such toxic behaviours can become a familiar part of a family dynamic. In addition to Michael’s mounting personal problems another factor comes into play, in the form of a sinister organisation whose interests in him are unclear. This aspect of the novel successfully evokes the zeitgeist of the time, giving an X-Files type feel to the narrative.

A compelling narrative, giving an insight into the skate culture of that time and using it as the springboard for a memorable and enjoyable cross-genre novel.

Robert Stowe at Goodreads

Having been gifted this novel in advance was a true honor.

​Cruel Summer is a mesmerizing story. I was immediately captivated and engaged in the lives of the young skateboarders. This story tells their lives in such a way we feel each character’s hopes, fears, dreams, pain, and even their nightmares. Dealing with the loss of a loved one for anyone is difficult, but for a child/teenager it’s much more difficult. The experiences these characters, the youth as well as the adults, face are intriguing. The difficult situations within the story are something nobody should have to face, but too few people are willing to address and even mention abuse of this caliber. Too many children are too frightened to speak up and end the tragedies happening against them.

​Due to the subject matter this may be a very difficult story to read, but the glimpse of hope and the love, devotion, and friendship of the characters compel the reader to endure through tears and anger to enjoy this masterfully crafted novel.

Robin at Amazon

“Mama, I’m not happy. Nothing’s been good since you’ve been gone. I’m lost in a world I do not understand, and I am trying to find myself. I despise so many things, and there is so little worth living.”

this book was very interesting from the start and can't really be classified as one category. it is definitely a little bit of mixed genres since it has some dystopian and sci-fi elements, a futuristic yet modern setting, focuses on young adults as some of the main characters and it also deals with a whole lot of types of issues, such as relationships between family members, the power of strong friendships, and some darker subjects like depression, grief, death, murder, manipulation, and abuse.

the main character struggles with grief and depression from the recent death of his mother and also because of a few other things going on in his life throughout the book. skateboarding, poetry, and hanging out with his friends is about all that keeps him going, though judging by the above quote from him talking to his mother while visiting her grave you know even that isnt enough right now. when something happens that pretty much upends his life even more than it already is, he turns to two of his best friends who try hard to help him deal with the consquences. there are also subplots as his friends and sister are each dealing with their own issues, too, but they all still stand by him no matter what and so much more happens that is too spoilery to discuss without giving away major plot points. while i wouldnt go as far as saying everything ends happily ever after, everything ties together to make sense so that there is closure with several storylines, even though some things dont happen how most readers would have expected. i liked how the poetry at the end served a purpose and since it was also one of the main character's passions, but i can't say the rest of my thought without being spoilery so i will stop there.

this isnt the first book i have read from this author. his writing immerses you into the story from the start, regardless of what it is about. although this book was a lot darker than some of his others, i still enjoyed it and learned a lot about more skateboarding than i knew prior to reading this book in the process. i highly recommend reading his other works, too, especially Look for Me Under the Rainbow, and January River. right now this book just got released and all of them are available for reasonable prices on amazon.

Robin at Goodreads

Cruel Summer by Bernard Jan is aptly summed up in the cover: a young man, who we learn later is Michael, distressed, head lowered in pain, his skateboard the only hold on a normal world. The chapter headings enhance the importance of the skateboard image through descriptions of particular features of skateboarding movements. The descriptions pin point the intricacy of the story lines that will emerge in each chapter, making sense to anyone, even the most skateboard ignorant.

​In the early chapters the masculinity of the skateboard noise and the young skateboarders resonates, providing a strong contrast to the softer story lines involving Rebecca, Michael's sister, living on a farm and in close contact with a family whose unworldly ideas contrast vividly with the city life in which Michael's story takes place. In the city the only warm images are of Victor and his grandmother. These seem to be a real oasis in Michael's world which is driven by abuse from his step father and his psychiatrist, dilemmas about how to deal with these and his visions, and his concern for his sister.

​The abuse Michael endures is of two characters: sexual from his step father, Hank, and manipulative from his psychiatrist. Both embody the abuse of trust, bringing the two perpetrators together philosophically as well as in reality. Michael's trust in the latter is easily understood - he is a seemingly kind and understanding person. His trust in Hank is not so easy to explain. Although there have been years of abuse, this seems not to have been combined with kindliness and covert manipulation, features that render a victim powerless. It is not easy to explain Michael's acceptance of Hank's abuse, except through fear. There needed to be more attention given to providing an explanation of the subtlety with which a victim is drawn into a perpetrator's way of looking at the relationship and how it applied to Michael. This missing, it is only Michael's fear that can influence his relationship with Hank. It seems unrealistic that fear does not override Michael's preparedness to feel safe in telling Hank that he intends to live his own life. This event has serious consequences, which moves the story into one about detection, introducing new characters.

​There is a science fiction element of the story, around Michael's visions. Like him, the reader is not aware of how he achieves this ability, another mystery to be solved. Another example of making use of a person and manipulation for individual aggrandisement. Possibly linked to this use of the individual is the advertising venture adopted by 'Alien' in response to another manipulator. I was not sure about this, but the nickname 'Alien' and the sexualised images of his skateboarding reflect the combination of sexual abuse and the science fiction reason for Michael's visions.

​I enjoyed the challenge of this novel, so much that of the young adult world. In addition, Bernard Jan's writing style is fluent, moving the story lines easily between reality, science fiction, detection and human relationships. I was pleased to be sent this novel for review.

Rolanda Lyles at Readers' Favorite

In Bernard Jan's Cruel Summer, Michael is a seventeen-year-old boy living in New York. Michael loves skateboarding and wants to ride professionally. He and his abusive father, Hank, don't get along, and his mother died a few months ago. Michael's sister, Rebecca, is in Denver visiting their grandparents during summer break. Both Michael and Rebecca miss their mother a lot and deal with her death differently. Michael goes to visit his mother's grave often. Michael begins to have visions where he can see things that happen and he tells his sister. His dad suggests that he sees a psychiatrist who becomes a trusted ally. Michael's therapy sessions are going well and his sister begins to find relief after their mother's death until something tragic happens. Their father is dead, and Michael is the assumed killer. It's summertime, but the weather is cold like winter, and this is turning out to be quite a cruel summer.

Bernard Jan's Cruel Summer is an emotionally gripping story, full of love, friendship, loyalty, family drama, and skateboarding. Bernard did a wonderful job of creating a beautifully written and compelling story that is very descriptive so that the reader feels immersed in the story. I enjoyed the detailed skateboarding stunt instructions at the start of each chapter. His characters were brilliantly written and very compelling. Bernard's writing is full of twists and turns that keep you interested from the very beginning. An excellent read. I look forward to reading more stories by this author.

Rory Michaelson at Goodreads

CRUEL SUMMER is a slick YA with deep character development, an exciting story, and a thrilling dystopian/sci-fi edge. Jan juggles themes, dialogue, and conflict adeptly, and the story really put me in mind of one of those nineties sci-fi teen thrillers that I would watch again and again growing up. This is a translated book, and it is translated well, with the prose wonderfully framing the struggles of the characters and propelling us on an unstoppable journey throughout. Few books are able to so smoothly blend genres, and Jan does an admirable job here, but through thick and thin, it’s the characters and their relationships that really shine in this gem of a book. Overall, thoroughly enjoyable, and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Content warning: Events of abuse, murder, grief, and death.

Sarah R at Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the author, and I am voluntarily leaving this honest review. Thank you!

This was a great read! Cruel Summer is a nice cross-genre experience. I won't give too many details and risk giving away the plot since this is a book best read without knowing much in advance.

That being said, I really enjoyed the relationships portrayed in this book, particularly the friendship between Michael and his friends Alien and Victor, as well as Victor's relationship with his grandma. In translation from Croatian, Cruel Summer is well-written and original.

I do not know much about skateboarding and struggled to connect with the storyline at times; however, I think this book will especially appeal to such fans. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to review this book and I look forward to hopefully reading more by this author!

Starjustin at Goodreads

Extremely well written and translated, this YA suspense thriller reels in the mind of the reader with each turning page. This author never disappoints!

​The skateboarding theme that ties the chapters together was very uniquely placed. I think the title of this novel couldn’t sum up the contents any better.

​Looking forward to reading more from Bernard Jan!

​5 well earned stars for this one!

Stephanie Jane at Literary Flits

Cruel Summer is a very different novel to the books I have previously read by Bernard Jan so it was interesting for me to see how well he can adapt his poetic writing style to different genres. I would primarily identify Cruel Summer as a young adult novel because it centres on a teenage skateboarding community, but the narrative also encompasses shades of dystopian science fiction and crime fiction, going to some dark psychological places at times. This fluidity did mean I found it difficult initially to really get into the story and I was several chapters in before I felt I had a proper grip on the storyline. The juxtaposition between the novel's futuristic apects and its retro setting confused me at first although I did love Jan's nods to the trends and fashions of the late 1990s - X-Files and The Celestine Prophecy being ones that particularly brought back memories for me.

The relationships and loyalties between Michael and his friends are an important part of Cruel Summer. Their conversations allow readers to gain insights into how these skateboarding fanatics view their environment. Michael is the traumatised boy at the centre and Cruel Summer is very much his coming of age story, but I felt the eponymous summer was equally as decisive for his absent sister, Rebecca, and his closest friends, Victor and Alien, each dealing with their own crises. The New York setting is vital too and I loved that Cruel Summer is one of those novels where its location almost becomes a character in its own right. That kind of authentic grounding is important to me as a reader and I certainly appreciated it here. 

Stjepan Varesevac Cobets at Amazon

With the book "Cruel Summer", Bernard Jan came out of his previous style of writing and, to my great surprise, he started writing a dystopian story. He wrote it perfectly and introduced us to the world of New York skaters like an experienced science fiction writer.
The world in which the main character Michael lives is anything but perfect, he loves skateboarding and hangs out with a few lunatics who love skateboarding. Michael is preparing for the competition and is very good at what he does, since losing his mother skateboarding is what he lives for. Unfortunately, his stepfather has completely different plans for him and Michael will find himself in a whirlwind of events that will disrupt all his plans. The dark past will surface like a tsunami and will affect him and everyone around him. As the title of the book suggests it will be a cruel summer and trust me the book will not leave you indifferent.
The book touches on many aspects of life hidden from the public, such as domestic violence, experiments on the edge of science, climate change, love, greed for money, and the brutal reality in which young people sacrifice their bodies for money. This dystopian novel follows seventeen-year-old Michael, so it could be said that it is a YA story but it is much more than that because this is much more serious science fiction with elaborate characters and serious problems that young generations face. Nothing is black and white, there are too many shades of gray everywhere.
At the end of the book is a real surprise in which Bernard Jan shows another hidden passion as a writer. But you will have to find out for yourself when you read the book.

Thomas Carley Jr. at Goodreads

The first word that comes to mind, if it even is a word, is "WOW".

​Sadly, most "average" books are forgotten the minute you finish. Seriously. But not in this case. With Cruel Summer, there will be lots you will remember, and I suggest you add this book to your "must-read" book list.

​It is a unique story of youth, vitality, and sacrifice, that haunts the reader way after finishing, and that is the key to a great story. Remembering it. And I am happy that it is out for the public to enjoy.

​I normally do not write reviews, because I prefer to let the music, movies, or in this case, the book I am featuring speak for itself. With that, I will leave it to you to find this book's mysteries for yourselves. You will be glad I did because any attempt to describe it will just take away that mystery. So, please, when starting it, find that favorite spot you like to read, and shut off this crazy world and get into Bernard's Jan's, Cruel Summer.

Toni Osborne at Amazon

“Cruel Summer “is a gripping young adult cross-genre novel about an abused teenager and a poet in New Manhattan. This is the story of 17 year old Michael Daniels whose dreams are to enter professional skateboarding contests. His only hope when things go wrong is the loyalty of friendship, Alien and Victor will stand as the shield between those with power and his freedom. This story carries a strong message of friendship.

I have read other books by Bernard Jan, this one takes on a different type of storytelling definitely not the read I expected. Although he still continues to demonstrate his fabulous poetic prose. On top of revolving around the teenager the story weaves a tale of a government sponsored research project to control minds and mind altering techniques. The experience is short of bordering on a science-fiction read. Not my preferred style and by far, having said this, the story is nevertheless superbly written and is richly descriptive. We have plenty of plot twists that added to the book’s mystique. The characters are impressively realistic. The plot pays attention to details and we have an abundance of well-illustrated scenes ...not that I would pick up skateboarding....This story will appeal both to young people as well as to a more mature audience.

“Cruel Summer” is a skillfully constructed and emotional drama that doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. Well said...well-done. I am looking forward to more books by this author.

Thank you Mr. Jan for the opportunity to read and review “Cruel Summer”.

Vedrana Pavlak at Goodreads

This was an amazing experience.
Bernard manages to narrate the story in an extremely readable way, with interesting plot twists, while also cleverly developing the characters. This book is so much more than what you first expect. It addresses numerous important topics from domestic abuse to climate change but in a very poetic way. Bernards writing is multi dimensional and this is a book that will give you something new every time you read it. I will never understand why some novels do not become more known becauses this one surely deserves greater appreciation.

News
12/24/2021
A Holiday All-Books Sale

I did it! For the first time. I discounted all my books to ONLY $0.99!

It is my gift to all my readers, reviewers, and supporters, to all of you who loved one or more of my stories, and to all of you who will yet become their fans.

Check out the dates and links below for these fantastic discounts.

Sunday, December 26, 2021, 8:00 AM PST through Sunday, January 2, 2022, 12:00 AM PST

Cruel Summer
January River
Look for Me Under the Rainbow
A World Without Color

Grab this unique opportunity and don’t look any further.

Thank you for your love and support, and please don’t forget to leave your honest reviews. It can be just a one or two-sentence honest thought or impression.

May the new 2022 year bring you everything you wished for and 2021 denied to you, and even more! Happy Holidays!

BJ

12/02/2021
Cruel Summer 2nd in the TCK Publishing Contest

TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards 2021 contest is over and so is the eight months long competition for my novel Cruel Summer.

After a tough “fight” in which Cruel Summer was also in the lead for a few months, it ended up 2nd in YA and Middle Grade book category with 265 votes. Only in the last few weeks the one book beat it in winning the title of the best YA and Middle Grade book in the fifth annual Reader’s Choice Awards, with 104 books competing this year.

This is a great achievement. I am proud of my book and grateful to everyone who casted their votes for it! It’s been a great experience and thank you all for making this competition so exciting!

BJ

03/16/2021
Cruel Summer Blog Tour 3/16/21

The moment has arrived! This is my first ever book promo tour and first ever blog tour I participated in as a host to my book!

This happened thanks to Paige aka PopTheButterfly, owner of Indie Blog Hop, who organized this blog tour for me. Thank you, Paige!

Cruel Summer Day Tour

All he wants to do is skate. But they have other plans for him.

Michael Daniels is seventeen and dreams to enter professional skateboarding contests. But beneath New Manhattan, a city under the oppressive shadow of climate change, exists another world altogether—secret laboratories which threaten society as he knows it.

Those with power will get what they want. No price is too high, even if it means making someone special or robbing them of their dignity, freedom . . . or life.

The price is too high for Michael, though. He has endured his stepfather’s abuse and mind games for almost as long as he remembers. Until one day he takes matters into his own hands, ruining the lives of those he loves most. And his skateboarding friends, Alien and Victor, are his only hope for freedom.

When there is no hope left, friendship is what remains.

Author Bio

Bernard Jan is a pen name of an award-winning novelist and a poet from Croatia, and he has released four books in English.

A World Without Color is a true story of the last three days he spent with his cat, while Look for Me Under the Rainbow in a unique and gentle way sheds light on the plight of harp seal pups in Canada. It warms the heart of all readers concerned about our planet and its treasures. January River is a heartwarming cross-genre novel about five friends, one dog, and one river carrying a secret. His latest YA cross-genre novel, Cruel Summer, is a gripping story of an abused teenager from New Manhattan who only wants to skate, but they have other plans for him.

His first two books were written at the beginning of the war in Croatia in 1991 amidst air alerts and illusory attempts when he wanted to believe and think that life is normal, that everything is all right with the world. He has published five novels, two novellas, and one book of poems in Croatian. Four of his books, including the book of poems, were translated into English.

Subscribe to Bernard Jan’s mailing list.

Download Cruel Summer eBook and order Cruel Summer paperback at the links below.

 

Amazon.com

paperback and eBook

Amazon Australia

paperback and eBook

Amazon Canada

paperback and eBook

Amazon UK

paperback and eBook

Goodreads

paperback and eBook

 

Thank you!

BJ

02/01/2021
Cruel Summer Cover and Blurb Reveal

With the beginning of the new year comes the moment to announce my new book launch! And I start it with its cover and blurb reveal.

I originally wrote Cruel Summer in Croatian over 20 years ago. By the end of February this year, I will release it in English. Cruel Summer is a Young Adult cross-genre novel with elements of social and family issues, teen and child abuse, extreme sports, conspiracy, mystery, murder and crime investigation, teen romance, sci-fi and dystopia.

I hope I won’t be distracted this time with earthquakes and other unpredictable situations and thus forced to postpone my release date again.

Indie author Dean Cole did a fantastic job and made me fall in love with his stunning eBook and paperback cover. Working with Dean was a genuine pleasure. He is the fastest designer I worked with and he will professionally meet and fulfill your requirements before you are aware it is over. It took him only three days to deliver me such a brutally good book cover, as one of my friends commented it. Do I need to say more?

Another indie author, also from the UK, saved me by helping me with the blurb for Cruel Summer when I was stuck with it. Jonathan Hill was my savior and magician also for the blurbs for my other two books, January River and Look for Me Under the Rainbow. This time again he did an amazing job, and I can never thank him enough for his professionalism, patience and kind help.

Cruel Summer Blurb

All he wants to do is skate. But they have other plans for him.

Michael Daniels is seventeen and dreams to enter professional skateboarding contests. But beneath New Manhattan, a city under the oppressive shadow of climate change, exists another world altogether—secret laboratories which threaten society as he knows it.

Those with power will get what they want. No price is too high, even if it means making someone special or robbing them of their dignity, freedom . . . or life.

The price is too high for Michael, though. He has endured his stepfather’s abuse and mind games for almost as long as he remembers. Until one day he takes matters into his own hands, ruining the lives of those he loves most. And his skateboarding friends, Alien and Victor, are his only hope for freedom.

When there is no hope left, friendship is what remains.

Please show some love to Dean and Jonathan by following them on their Twitter and on Goodreads where you can also find their books.

And don’t forget to look for Cruel Summer when it goes online and becomes available on my Amazon profile.

BJ

07/01/2021
Cruel Summer Discount!

Three days after the Cruel Summer Book Tour & Giveaway has ended, there is a new opportunity for everyone who didn’t get my book. Cruel Summer, a gripping story of an abused teenage skateboarder who only wants to follow his dreams in dystopian New York City, is available at a 67% discounted price for an entire week!

Thursday, July 1, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT through Thursday, July 8, 2021, 12:00 AM PDT

First read an excerpt:

His father was defeated; he was on his knees facing death. Yet, there was a brief flash of triumph in his eyes Michael glimpsed before running from the mess he made without touching anything.

How is that possible? Was he not afraid of him? Wasn’t he afraid of what Michael had done? Isn’t he afraid of what Michael might do?!

Either way, Michael isn’t thinking if going home until Hank thinks about everything. And when he gets home, things will be different. Everything will be different. Hank will no longer have a monopoly on him. Hank will no longer blackmail him or tell him what to do and what not to do. HE WILL NEVER TOUCH HIM AGAIN!

Then download your Cruel Summer eBook here. If you prefer a paperback, you can get it here.

“Bernard Jan’s Cruel Summer is an emotionally gripping story, full of love, friendship, loyalty, family drama, and skateboarding. Bernard did a wonderful job of creating a beautifully written and compelling story that is very descriptive so that the reader feels immersed in the story.”—Rolanda Lyles for Readers’ Favorite

Don’t forget to check out and read my other books: January River, Look for Me Under the Rainbow and A World Without Color.

Happy reading and thank you!

BJ

Check out this post on Goodreads, LinkedIn, Steemit and Biopage.

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Cover design by Dean Cole.

02/28/2021
Cruel Summer eBook Launch Day on Amazon!

All I wanted to do is to publish this book. But I had other books plans before that one.

After many years of preparations, testing, trial and error, waiting and burning excitement, Cruel Summer launch day is here, and the eBook is available at Amazon marketplaces!

Cruel Summer is a gripping, unexpected, strong, and emotional YA cross-genre story about an abused teenage boy and a poet in New Manhattan, Michael Daniels, who only wants to skate and enter skateboarding contests, and the loyalty of friendship that stands as the shield between those with power and his freedom. Michael’s skateboarding friends, Alien and Victor, are his only hope when things go wrong and mysteries and secrets start to unfold, threatening to turn their society into an authoritarian dystopia. Because when there is no hope left, friendship is what remains.

All he wants to do is skate. By they have other plans for him.

Cruel Summer has elements of family and social issues, extreme sports, conspiracy, murder, mystery, teen romance as a subplot, and even sci-fi and dystopia as a touch of alternative history. It carries a strong message of friendship.

Although the main protagonists are three friends, skateboarders from New York City at the end of the millennium, Cruel Summer is not just a novel about extreme sports. It is a deep story of a family and sexual abuse, and the exploitation of power by those who have the means to use it over the individuals and the population in general. Having a strong human rights and environmental message, it will also appeal to those who love reading these books.

Originally published as Okrutno ljeto in Croatian in 2014, Cruel Summer is still a hot topic today.

Please click on the links below to get your copy where you can also leave your honest review. Thank you for that!

Amazon.com

Amazon Australia

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Goodreads

BookBub

Cruel Summer is enrolled in KDP Select, where you can read it for free. Through most of March, it will be at the discounted price of $0.99 before it goes up to its regular place. A perfect time to download your eBook!

Thank you all who helped me bring this book to life. There are too many of you to mention you here, but you have my eternal thanks in the Acknowledgements in the book.

If you are a representative of the media, please click here for the press release.

Cruel Summer and I are available for reviews, book tours, interviews.

Cover design by Dean Cole.

BJ

03/24/2021
Cruel Summer in TCK Publishing Contest

I have submitted my YA cross-genre novel, Cruel Summer, to TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards 2021 contest.

TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards 2021 is a contest for best books in 16 categories. To get to my YA and Middle Grade book category, use the arrows on the left and right side of the voting form to navigate between categories. Once you are on the page 12/16, scroll down to Cruel Summer by Bernard Jan and click on the book title to cast your vote.

Please share the link below with others too, so they can also show their love and support to Cruel Summer.

Vote here for Cruel Summer in TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards 2021 (page 12/16 YA and Middle Grade).

https://www.tckpublishing.com/2021-readers-choice-voting-page/

Thank you!

BJ

03/24/2022
Cruel Summer is the Finalist in the 2021 Wishing Shelf Book Awards

After receiving Readers’ Favorite Honorable Mention Award 2021, being second in the YA and Middle Grade book category in the TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards 2021 contest and the 2021 Best Book Cover Award finalist in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards cover contest in the Children/Young Adult category, Cruel Summer gets another recognition.

Cruel Summer is the Finalist in the 2021 Wishing Shelf Book Awards!

The Wishing Shelf Book Awards was set up ten years ago by children’s author, Billy Bob Buttons. Based in the UK, it is different from most other book awards as it is run by authors and the books are judged by reading groups, not professionals in the publishing industry.

I thank the readers who chose Cruel Summer to be among thirty-four finalists in the Books for Teenagers category and Billy Bob Buttons for the lovely certificate and medal!

Congratulations to all the finalists in all eight categories of the 2021 Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

BJ

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02/27/2021
Cruel Summer on StoreyBook Reviews

My new novel Cruel Summer is featured on StoreyBook Reviews blog!

Leslie was so kind to give Cruel Summer extra exposure two days before its official launch day on February 28, 2021. Thank you, Leslie!

Cruel Summer is now at a discounted price of only $0.99 so use this opportunity to get your eBook at this bargain price!

Pre-order Cruel Summer here. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X6JZKRM

Check out Cruel Summer on StoreyBook Reviews here. https://storeybookreviews.com/2021/02/excerpt-cruel-summer/

BJ

03/09/2021
Cruel Summer Paperback

It took a small conspiracy to publish the paperback edition of my novel Cruel Summer! Since Amazon has restricted international delivery of print books to Croatia, I couldn’t order my proof copy to approve it before publishing it. I’ve been waiting for a month for this restriction to be removed, but no one could tell me when that would happen.

Out of pure desperation, I asked my US based friend Thomas if he could help me with checking out my proof copy. He said yes; I sent him my book from Amazon; he took photos of it and emailed them to me. When I was certain that the book was ready to be released, I hit the publish button and published my paperback.

This is a story on how the story of an abused teenage skateboarder, Michael Daniels, came to life on March 8, 2021 on Amazon. Its paperback price is $17.99 and you can order it here. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/9535958178

Michael Daniels is seventeen and dreams to enter professional skateboarding contests. But beneath New Manhattan, a city under the oppressive shadow of climate change, exists another world altogether—secret laboratories which threaten society as he knows it.

Those with power will get what they want. No price is too high, even if it means making someone special or robbing them of their dignity, freedom . . . or life.

The price is too high for Michael, though. He has endured his stepfather’s abuse and mind games for almost as long as he remembers. Until one day he takes matters into his own hands, ruining the lives of those he loves most. And his skateboarding friends, Alien and Victor, are his only hope for freedom.

I hope this blurb is catchy enough for you to get your copy or buy it as a gift for someone else.

The book cover is beautifully designed by Dean Cole and I guarantee you, you will love it. Dean’s design is mind-blowing. He perfectly portrayed the spirit and the theme of the novel. I don't doubt that holding this book in your hands will give you a special reading experience.

Please don’t forget to leave an honest review on the platforms below and recommend it by word of mouth.

Amazon.com

paperback and eBook

Amazon Australia

paperback and eBook

Amazon Canada

paperback and eBook

Amazon UK

paperback and eBook

Goodreads

paperback and eBook

If you are a representative of the media, please click here for the press release.

BJ

08/06/2021
Cruel Summer The Wishing Shelf Book Awards Finalist

Cruel Summer is the 2021 Best Book Cover Award finalist in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards cover contest!

Out of the 105 book covers submitted to the first book cover contest, the readers chose fifty finalists split into two categories: Category 9 (Children/Young Adult) and Category 10 (Adult).

I am proud of Dean Cole, who designed the amazing cover for Cruel Summer, and I am happy that some readers recognized it and chose it for the Children/Young Adult finalists’ certificate.

Congratulations to all the six winners and the finalists of the 2021 Best Book Cover Award!

I thank Billy Bob Buttons and The Wishing Shelf Book Awards for organizing this contest and all the readers who voted for my book.

Most of all, I thank phenomenal Dean Cole for designing Cruel Summer book cover.

All the finalists and winners are now listed on The Wishing Shelf Book Awards website.

 

Children/Young Adult finalists

Adult finalists

Children/Young Adult winners

Adult winners

 

BJ

 

Buy Cruel Summer on Amazon.

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Contact Dean Cole on Twitter.

08/22/2021
Cruel Summer: Indie Blog Hop Book Tour August 2021

From August 23 through August 26, Paige aka PopTheButterfly is organizing the Cruel Summer book tour hosted through Indie Blog Hop!

 

BOOK TOUR STOPS

August 23

PopTheButterfly: Instagram, Blog, TikTok

August 24

Mr Pink Ink: Blog

August 25

The Reading Rebel: Instagram

August 26

Tabi Slick: Blog

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Cruel Summer by Bernard Jan

Genre: YA Cross-Genre (Sexual Abuse, Friendship, Skateboarding, Dystopian)

All he wants to do is skate. But they have other plans for him.

Michael Daniels is seventeen and dreams to enter professional skateboarding contests. But beneath New Manhattan, a city under the oppressive shadow of climate change, exists another world altogether—secret laboratories which threaten society as he knows it.

Those with power will get what they want. No price is too high, even if it means making someone special or robbing them of their dignity, freedom . . . or life.

The price is too high for Michael, though. He has endured his stepfather’s abuse and mind games for almost as long as he remembers. Until one day he takes matters into his own hands, ruining the lives of those he loves most. And his skateboarding friends, Alien and Victor, are his only hope for freedom.

When there is no hope left, friendship is what remains.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bernard Jan is a pen name of an award-winning novelist and a poet from Croatia, and he has released four books in English.

A World Without Color is a true story of the last three days he spent with his cat, while Look for Me Under the Rainbow in a unique and gentle way sheds light on the plight of harp seal pups in Canada. It warms the heart of all readers concerned about our planet and its treasures. January River is a heartwarming cross-genre novel about five friends, one dog, and one river carrying a secret. His latest YA cross-genre novel, Cruel Summer, is a gripping story of an abused teenager from New Manhattan who only wants to skate, but they have other plans for him.

His first two books were written at the beginning of the war in Croatia in 1991 amidst air alerts and illusory attempts when he wanted to believe and think that life is normal, that everything is all right with the world. He has published five novels, two novellas, and one book of poems in Croatian. Four of his books, including the book of poems, were translated into English.

 

CRUEL SUMMER ON AMAZON AND GOODREADS

(Please leave your honest review)

Amazon.com

paperback and eBook

Amazon Australia

paperback and eBook

Amazon Canada

paperback and eBook

Amazon UK

paperback and eBook

Goodreads

paperback and eBook

 

Thank you for organizing this tour, Paige!

BJ

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Cover and art design by Dean Cole.

05/28/2021
Cruel Summer: Silver Dagger Book Tour & Giveaway May through June 2021

I am thrilled and grateful to Maia for accepting my YA cross-genre novel Cruel Summer for the Silver Dagger book tour and giveaway! Cruel Summer starts the tour today, on May 28, and will tour until June 28 on 40 stops.

Please check and follow all the stops on the tour and share them with your friends and followers. Let’s have some fun time together. Thanks, and let the tour begins!

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Cruel Summer

by Bernard Jan

Genre: YA Cross-Genre, Dystopian, Sexual Abuse, Skateboarding

All he wants to do is skate. But they have other plans for him.

Michael Daniels is seventeen and dreams to enter professional skateboarding contests. But beneath New Manhattan, a city under the oppressive shadow of climate change, exists another world altogether—secret laboratories which threaten society as he knows it.

Those with power will get what they want. No price is too high, even if it means making someone special or robbing them of their dignity, freedom . . . or life.

The price is too high for Michael, though. He has endured his stepfather’s abuse and mind games for almost as long as he remembers. Until one day he takes matters into his own hands, ruining the lives of those he loves most. And his skateboarding friends, Alien and Victor, are his only hope for freedom.

When there is no hope left, friendship is what remains.

Cruel Summer on Amazon and Goodreads.

🛹 🛹 🛹

**Help the author with your vote for Cruel Summer in TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards 2021 contest!**

To cast your vote please use the arrows to navigate to the page 12/16 YA and Middle Grade book category.

When you are there, scroll down to Cruel Summer by Bernard Jan and click on the book. And that should be it!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

“There is no greater joy than to share what you love with those who appreciate it.”—Bernard Jan

My pen name is Bernard Jan. I am an award-winning novelist and a poet from Croatia, and I have released four books in English. I am Readers' Favorite Gold Medalist 2020 and Readers' Favorite Bronze Medalist 2019.

A World Without Color is a true story of the last three days he spent with his cat, while Look for Me Under the Rainbow in a unique and gentle way sheds light on the plight of harp seal pups in Canada. It warms the heart of all readers concerned about our planet and its treasures. January River is a heartwarming cross-genre novel about five friends, one dog, and one river carrying a secret. His latest YA cross-genre novel, Cruel Summer, is a gripping story of an abused teenager from New Manhattan who only wants to skate, but they have other plans for him.

My first two books were written at the beginning of the war in Croatia in 1991 amidst air alerts and illusory attempts when I wanted to believe and think that life is normal, that everything is all right with the world. I have published five novels, two novellas, and one book of poems in Croatian. Four of my books, including the book of poems, were translated into English.

My passion for music and entertainment resulted in my becoming a partner of Tom's Music Place, which was established in 2009 by my friend Thomas Carley Jr., whose objective was to raise the respect of music.

My desire to help others came to the fore during my years advocating environmental protection and advocacy of animal rights. I did volunteering work for the refugees, because suffering does not know any borders. When it comes within your reach in your home, you simply have to do something. As part of my animal advocacy activities, it has been a great honor and pleasure to translate Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust by Charles Patterson into Croatian.

Author links: Website, Twitter, BookBub, Amazon, Goodreads.

 

EXCERPT

Follow this link to read the book excerpt.

 

GIVEAWAY

Cruel Summer paperback – 1 winner

Cruel Summer eBooks – 2 winners

January River eBooks – 2 winners

Look for Me Under the Rainbow eBooks – 2 winners

A World Without Color eBooks – 2 winners

$10 Amazon gift card – 1 winner

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

BOOK TOUR STOPS

May 28

Kickoff at Silver Dagger Book Tours

A Pinch of Bookdust

May 31

Lady Hawkeye

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Jun 1

Literary Gold

Scrupulous Dreams

Jun 2

The Avid Reader – REVIEW

The Bookshelf Fairy

Jun 3

Nina Soden #TheRedheadedAuthor – GUEST POST

Books all things paranormal and romance

Jun 4

Girl with Pen

Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin'

Jun 5

Cartea Nouă – REVIEW

Jun 6

Character Madness and Musings

Jun 7

Writing Dreams

Jun 8

Craving Lovely Books

Jun 9

Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

Jun 10

I'm Into Books

Jun 11

I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

Jun 14

The Sexy Nerd 'Revue'

Jun 15

Sylv.net

Jun 16

Liliyana Shadowlyn

Jun 17

eBook Addicts

Jun 18

Cover Love Book Blog

Jun 20

A Wonderful World of Words – GUEST POST

Jun 21

Midnight Book Reader

Musings From An Addicted Reader

Jun 22

Chapters through life

Book Corner News and Reviews

Jun 23

Insane Books

Twisted Book Ramblings

Jun 24

Bedazzled By Books

The Faerie Review

Jun 25

Teatime and Books

The Book Dragon

Jun 26

Inside the Insanity – GUEST POST

Jun 27

nanasbookreviews

Jazzy Book Reviews – GUEST POST

Jun 28

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

Books A-Brewin’ – GUEST POST

Thank you everyone!

BJ

05/09/2021
From Skateboarding to Dystopia for Only $0.99!

“Mother, I know you can’t hear me, but I must talk to you.

“I need to talk to someone. Anyone. About things I would never say if you were alive. About things I didn’t want you to know because they would hurt you. This way I will say them, and you won’t hear them. This way it will be much easier for me to pour my heart out to you . . .”

My cross-genre YA novel Cruel Summer is for the first time in a Kindle discount promo week!

Sunday, May 9, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT through Sunday, May 16, 2021, 12:00 AM PDT

This gripping, unexpected, strong, and emotional story about an abused teenage boy who only wants to skate and the loyalty of friendship that stands as the shield between those who have other plans for him and his freedom will be only $0.99 for a whole week on Amazon or free with Kindle Unlimited.

Do you like books that cross genres and mix them in a surprising read you cannot put down? Cruel Summer has all that and more for you: family and social issues, extreme sports, conspiracy, murder, mystery, teen romance as a subplot, and sci-fi and dystopia as a touch of alternative history with a powerful message of friendship.

Sounds impossible? But it’s not!

“Crossing genres is always difficult, and thankfully, this one works well. It offers many angles for every type of reader. Even for those who aren’t fans of dystopia / sci-fi or who’ve never been on a skateboard in their lives . . . you’ll be pulled in for all the other reasons.”—James J. Cudney, author of Watching Glass Shatter, Hiding Cracked Glass, Father Figure, Braxton Campus Mysteries series and Weathering Old Souls

Don’t wait any longer!

Please spread the word and download your eBook at a 67% discounted price. Thank you!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X6JZKRM

BJ

09/04/2021
Readers’ Favorite Honorable Mention Award for Cruel Summer!

Cruel Summer won the Honorable Mention Award in the Young Adult–Social Issues category in 2021 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest!

Readers’ Favorite recognizes Cruel Summer by Bernard Jan in its annual international book award contest, currently available at Amazon.

The Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities.

Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.

Readers’ Favorite receive thousands of entries from all over the world. Because of these large submission numbers, they are able to break down their contest into 140+ genres, and each genre is judged separately, ensuring that books only compete against books of their same genre for a fairer and more accurate competition. They receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants such as Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America).

“When the right books are picked as winners we pay attention. We will be spreading the word about Readers' Favorite.”—Karen A., Editor for Penguin Random House

Readers’ Favorite is proud to announce that Cruel Summer by Bernard Jan won the Honorable Mention Award in the Young Adult–Social Issues category.

You can learn more about Bernard Jan and Cruel Summer at Reader’s Favorite where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.

“Bernard did a wonderful job of creating a beautifully written and compelling story that is very descriptive so that the reader feels immersed in the story. I enjoyed the detailed skateboarding stunt instructions at the start of each chapter. His characters were brilliantly written and very compelling.”—Rolanda Lyles for Readers’ Favorite

Please check out Cruel Summer at BookAwards.Com.

Thank you.

BJ

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07/06/2021
Winners of the Cruel Summer Silver Dagger Book Tour & Giveaway

I thank to all 2,420 participants of the Cruel Summer Silver Dagger Book Tour & Giveaway!

Here are the lucky winners:

Cruel Summer paperback—1 winner: Buddy G.

Cruel Summer eBooks—2 winners: Jeanna S. and Sherry S.

January River eBooks—2 winners: Audrey S. and Comps A.

Look for Me Under the Rainbow eBooks—2 winners: Carol G. and Mary A.

A World Without Color eBooks—2 winners: Debbi O. and Jennifer R.

$10 Amazon gift card—1 winner: Sharon E.

Congratulations to all the entrants with regrets I couldn’t award even more of you. If I could, I would give an award to every one of you, but sadly, this wasn’t the case with this indie author.

Once again, my gratitude and respect go to Maia and Silver Dagger Book Tours for organizing this amazing book tour and all the bloggers and Facebook pages owners who participated in it!

This has been a great month. Thank you, all!

BJ

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 03/2021
  • 978-953-59581-7-8
  • 511 pages
  • $14.99
Ebook Details
  • 02/2021
  • 978-953-59581-6-1 B08X6JZKRM
  • 484 pages
  • $4.99

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