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A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


The "queen of the summer novel" explores the power of community, family, and honesty-and proves that even from the ashes of sorrow new love can take flight (Kirkus Reviews).

A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. What begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny's boyfriend, Jake, and her friend Demeter, are physically unhurt--but the emotional damage is overwhelming. Questions linger about what happened before Penny took the wheel.

As summer unfolds, startling truths are revealed about the survivors and their parents, the secrets kept, promises broken, and hearts betrayed.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 30, 2012 – Nantucket Island s year-round residents are shaken when a car crash claims the life of driver Penny Alistair, a vibrant and popular high school student, and leaves her twin brother, Hobby, in a coma. The other passengers, Penny s boyfriend Jake and their friend Demeter, each have secrets, and everyone is touched by the tragedy, in fact, practically everyone on the island feels some responsibility for the accident. What did Demeter, who had been drinking, divulge to Penny on the beach that night? Was it Jake s indiscretion after the cast party for the high school s production of Grease, or Hobby s just before prom? Was it the newspaper publisher s affair, or Penny s knowledge of his wife s depression after the loss of her infant son? Each character s guilt rubs them raw with worry. The sparks that this story throws out becomes a current that circles the agitated kids and their parents, electrifying the atmosphere as they grapple with what happened. Hilderbrand (Silver Girl) has a gift for building tension, and the reader will be willing to do just about anything to discover the real reason why Penny would drive herself, her brother, and her boyfriend over an embankment into oblivion.

Customer Reviews

Hilderbrand's best work yet

If the kids are done with school for the year, it's time for a new book release from Nantuckett novelist Elin Hilderbrand. Summerland is her best work yet.
A tragic car accident on graduation night leaves junior golden-girl Penny Alistair dead, her equally amazing twin Hobby in a coma, her boyfriend Jake relatively unharmed but devastated, and childhood friend Detemer unharmed but wracked with guilt that she tries to ease with alcohol.
Told through multiple POVs of the teens and their parents, the reader is taken through the first hours, days, weeks, and months after the accident. Everyone is looking for a reason--someone to blame--but maybe there's no one to blame, or everyone is to blame. Maybe it doesn't matter and those involved need to find a way forward.


I have read all of Hilderbrand's books, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. This was by far my least favorite. All the other books, I was unable to put down, this one, I had to force myself to finish. Very disappointing read.

Predictably delicious

Love the books by Hillebrand. I've come to associate them with summer vacation. This one doesn't disappoint!

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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Jun 26, 2012
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Print Length: 400 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings