Hot Season by Susan DeFreitas

Review published on December 22, 2016.

This debut novel is set among environmentally conscious college students in Arizona.

Katie is in her first year studying environmental science at Deep Canyon College, Arizona. She’s from New Hampshire but loves mountains and Georgia O’Keeffe paintings, so it seems like the perfect place for her. Early on she falls in with a group of activists based at the Black Cat Centre, stumbling into a benefit party to save the Greene River and later joining a movement to protest against a pipeline.

The novel has several points of view, all of them presented in the third person. Besides Katie, there’s her roommates, Jenna and Rell, the latter of whom studies pyrophytic plants. Rell is concerned about how deeply Katie might be getting involved with eco-terrorist activities, especially after they learn what happened to a hardcore older activist, Dyson, and the FBI starts asking questions.

This is a striking story about living on the fringes and the difficulty of settling on an identity in that fluid moment of young adulthood when everything seems possible: “all these selves were turning into other selves, burning off in the heat of this strange summer, which had only just begun.” I’d recommend it to fans of Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist.

Rebecca Foster 3/3

Hot Season by Susan DeFreitas
Harvard Square Editions 9781941861288 pbk Nov 2016

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