Summer of '69 by Todd Strasser

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I'm normally not a big fan of historical fiction, but being that this was a Woodstock-era, hippie book, I wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately it fell flat for me. Summer of '69 by Todd Strasser is a YA historical fiction that follows Lucas, a recent high school graduate who is trying to dodge the draft for Vietnam after getting rejected from college. Not only is he draft-dodging, but his girlfriend has moved away for the summer and hasn't really written. Lucas has to struggle with his love life and his potential military future, all while tripping on drugs and dealing with his chaotic family.

It was really hard to push through this one. It just dragged for me. The only parts I really enjoyed were the letter correspondence and the times that Lucas was with Tinsley. The Woodstock portion of the book definitely let me down, and I was sad to see it was only a short piece of the story. I thought Lucas was a really annoying character and wasn't doing anything productive with his life. I kept wanting him to get it together and he never really did. I wasn't particularly fond of most of the minor characters either.

I would probably categorize this book more as New Adult than YA. There were definitely drug references, as well as mentions of suicide and a lot more sex scenes and references than I was anticipating. 

I honestly am surprised I finished this book. I had high hopes for it since I love this era, but unfortunately it really let me down. It looks like it has great reviews on Goodreads, so it appears I'm the opinion outlier on this one!

Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Candlewick Press for an ARC of this read! Summer of '69 by Todd Strasser is out now!


  1. Sucks this book wasn't what it could have been.

  2. Oh yikes, that sounds like I wouldn't enjoy it either. I really can't get through books if I'm not rooting for the main character.

  3. I don't recall you ever having a 1-star review before but you did it up right, these are hard for me to write.

  4. Oh gosh, that isn't good. Such a pity as that cover is gorgeous.

  5. Aww man I'm sorry this book didn't live up to the hype and hopes you had. Hope you enjoy your next read more!

  6. That's too bad. I like the sound of this one as well, so I may still give it a chance.