Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez Book Club Guide & Recap

If you’re looking for a summer-inspired contemporary romance novel to read for book club, Just for the Summer is a perfect choice! It has a romance that’s easy to root for, but it’s also emotionally-charged, with plenty of themes to discuss. Here’s a quick summary to recap the book, plus book club questions specifically for Just for the Summer to help guide your next meeting!

Just for the Summer book club guide

What is Just for the Summer about?

Emma is a traveling nurse who lives with her best friend, Maddy. Every few months, she packs everything she owns into two suitcases and they travel to a new city for a new assignment. But while her career is thriving, her love life is not.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, a man named Justin is convinced he’s cursed. Every time he dates someone and they break up, that person then goes on to meet the person they’ll marry.

Emma learns about Justin from a Reddit thread, realizing she has a very similar curse. If they date – just for the summer – and then break up, will that lift their curse for good?

Just for the Summer was my book club’s pick for June, and I really enjoyed it!

Looking for more ideas for your next book club pick? Check out these other swoon-worthy romance novels for book clubs!

Plot Summary Recap

I’m sharing a quick summary of the overall plot below. If you haven’t read the book yet, there are spoilers ahead!

Just for the Summer book cover

After Emma finds out about Justin online and they decide to try and break the curse by dating each other, she surprises him by taking a nursing assignment in Minnesota near where he lives. She and Maddy rent a little cottage on an island in the middle of a lake.

Justin and Emma go on a couple of dates, and they really hit it off. Justin is sweet and charming, and Emma is smitten. But due to some childhood trauma, she has trouble getting close to people.

To make matters worse, her mother (Amber) – who caused most of that trauma – shows up and starts dating the man who owns Emma’s rental home (Neil). In fact, Amber moves into Neil’s house, and drama ensues, complicating Emma’s chance at happiness.

At the same time, Justin is dealing with his own issues. His father was killed in a drunk driving accident, and his mother was left with Justin and his three siblings – including a very young child – to take care of alone.

Under enormous stress, she started embezzling money from the company she worked for as a sort of coping mechanism. She was caught, and she’s now about to go to prison for six years – leaving Justin to take sole responsibility for his three siblings.

Emma is afraid to get close to Justin and his siblings because she believes she is damaged and she doesn’t want to hurt them if she leaves. She also learns about a secret family – including a half sibling and grandparents that recently passed away – that her mother had kept hidden from her all her life.

Emma decides to take some time to get to know this family and work on healing her trauma before she rekindles things with Justin. After six months, she reconnects with Justin and his family and they decide to start again.

This book is on my list of the best 2024 book club books. Not in a book club yet? Here are my best tips for how to start a book club you’ll love!

Is Just for the Summer part of a series? Do I need to read it in order?

Yes, Just For the Summer is book 3 in the Part of Your World series, but it can easily be read as a standalone novel!

The main tie-ins with the other books are a few characters that reappear from previous books (including the main characters/couples and a few side characters from those books). But you don’t need to read those books first in order to enjoy this one.

Just For the Summer Book Club Questions

Ready for your book club discussion? Here are some questions to get things started:

  • Did you read a physical/ebook copy of the book, or listen to the audiobook? Which format do you think is best?

  • Which character did you relate to the most?

  • If this book was being made into a TV show or movie adaptation, who would you cast as the main characters (Justin, Emma, Maddy, etc.)?

  • Which were the most present themes in this story?

  • How would you describe Justin’s personality? Is he your “type”, in terms of romantic relationships?

  • How would you describe Emma and Maddy’s relationship? What do you think they provide for each other?

  • The book is mostly set in Minnesota. Have you ever been to any of the places mentioned?

  • Consider each of the characters’ family lives. What do you think this story was trying to say about the role that family plays in shaping who we are?

  • How do you think you would have reacted if you learned you had a secret family that your parent(s) hid from you (like Emma did)?

  • Do you think Emma did the right thing by leaving Justin, working on her issues, and then coming back?

  • Do you think Emma’s mom could ever be redeemable, despite her actions?

  • Overall, how did this book make you feel? Did it make you laugh (or cry)?

  • What would you rate this book out of 5 stars? Would you recommend it to a friend?

  • Have you read any other books in this semi-standalone series (Part of Your World or Yours Truly)? If yes, how do you feel those stories compared to this one? Which one was your favorite?

  • Have you read any other Abby Jimenez books? Which is your favorite so far?

  • Are there any similar authors that remind you of Abby Jimenez?

I hope you found this book club guide for Just for the Summer helpful! Happy reading and discussing. 🙂

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