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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Transformation Summer is a work in the coming-of-age, biographical, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and is penned by Sean Smith. In this insightful and emotive work of self-exploration, perception, and past memories, we explore the world of our central character, Seth, as a sixteen-year-old being dragged along to the Transformation personal-growth camp with his mother and in the years following this brief but life-altering experience. Shifting between perspectives of then and now, we learn about the people and bonds that Seth made at such a formative age and the unexpectedly disturbing moments at Transformation that have stayed with him for a long time afterward.
Sean Smith has crafted an intimate portrayal of psychology, memory, emotions, and self-exploration that lures us into a much deeper and more meaningful story than it may first appear. The charm is in the creation of Seth himself, an incredibly endearing protagonist and one we want to know more about, especially when his conflict in adulthood is so painfully evident and ripe for exploration. I loved the storytelling style and the way lines were sometimes clear between past and present, then sometimes, as the influences of hindsight, time, and life experience blurred, changed what we thought we knew. Overall, Transformation Summer is a work filled with these bold and well-penned insights. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone seeking intelligent, deeply emotive, coming-of-age fiction.