Book Review – The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan

It is ABOUT TIME I got around to writing this one! First it was because of the Cybils that I wasn’t writing reviews on the books I was reading, and then it was because of my new job and now, here I am! Finally writing it. And it feels good.

The Lake Effect is about Briggs Henry’s tumultuous post-high-school-graduation summer in the beach town of South Haven, Michigan. He’s the live-in help for Mrs. B., a hilarious old woman who pays a young person to help her care for her lakeside property each summer. Mrs. B. lives next door to Abigail, the mysterious girl who sparks Briggs’ attention. But what Briggs doesn’t know is that his life is about to blow up, and this summer at the lake is the catalyst that is going to set the rest of his life in motion, and it’s the lessons he learned at the lake that are going to get him through it all.


3 Things I Loved

  1. Mrs. B. Oh, Mrs. B. She’s the absolute best. She drags Briggs to funerals so she can start planning her own. She struggles to say some words because of her thick, Serbian accent, and it leads to hilarious misunderstandings. And she sometimes just lies on the kitchen floor, because that’s what feels good that morning. I loved her. What an excellent character.
  2. Briggs. Briggs is a good narrator. He has a full and impressive character arc in this book, and I loved walking the summer with him. At the end of the book, his life is kind of in shambles (no spoilers, I promise), but he’s grown. I just loved him.
  3. The handling of the topic of chronic illness. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I loved how it was handled in this book. Very well done.

Dislikes/Problematic Content

Everyone was straight. But otherwise, I really enjoyed this book. It was a slow burn – I actually ranted about how boring it was right after I finished it. It’s character-driven rather than plot-driven, which is probably why I thought it was boring at first. But it stuck with me, and I keep thinking about it, and that’s how you know it was good. So yeah, it’s a little slow. But that kind of slow burn isn’t always a bad thing.


A reminder of the rating scale:

  • Red = DNF, I hated everything
  • Orange = Ugh, no thank you
  • Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
  • Green = This was good! 
  • Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
  • Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!

When I first finished this book, I probably would have given it a very subjective yellow rating. But now? Now The Lake Effect is solidly in the GREEN.

What are your favorite slow burn books?

Happy reading!

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