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 the loyalty of friendship that stands as the shield between those who have other plans for him and his freedom.
All he wants to do is skate. But they have other plans for him.
This tagline best summarizes what Cruel Summer, a YA cross-genre novel, by Bernard Jan, is about. Bernard Jan originally published Cruel Summer (Okrutno ljeto) in Croatian in 2014, but it is still a hot topic today.
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 the loyalty of friendship that stands as the shield between those who have other plans for him 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.
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.
Bernard Jan had spent most of his free time in the 1990s on rollerblades, but his heart also belongs to skateboarding. Although he is a late bloomer, and he didn’t put his foot on a skateboard before his late twenties, it didn’t prevent him from buying his first and only skateboard and learning the most basic thing—cruising.
The main protagonists of Cruel Summer are three extraordinary skaters and friends, Michael, Alien, and Victor from New York City at the end of the millennium. But Cruel Summer is not just a novel about extreme sports. It is a story with a deeper meaning and message. A 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. Cruel Summer is a call to action and the appeal has a clear, strong human rights and environmental message.
Cruel Summer is available as an eBook at Amazon. It is Bernard Jan’s second novel, translated and published in English. His earlier books are a novel January River and two novellas Look for Me Under the Rainbow and A World Without Color, which is also a true story.
Book cover and promotional material design by Dean Cole.
More information about Cruel Summer on Bernard Jan's blog Muse.