What makes Abreu’s embodiment of the youthful perspective unnervingly appealing is the sharpness and bareness with which she cuts through the painful, curious, and complex anecdotes that highlight the relationship between two so-called friends. It has echoes of a John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, amplified by the cultural zest that beautifully illustrates the Canary setting. An engrossing exploration of obsession and why we sometimes love the things that seem to hate us.— From Patrick's Picks
"[A] firecracker of a debut . . . Abreu's novel, in Julia Sanches's sparkling translation, is a revelation, perfectly capturing a festering summer of meltdowns and shrinking horizons."
—The New York Times
My Brilliant Friend meets Blue is the Warmest Color in this lyrical debut novel set in a working-class neighborhood of the Canary Islands—a story about two girls coming of age in the early aughts and a friendship that simmers into erotic desire over the course of one hot summer.
High near the volcano of northern Tenerife, an endless ceiling of cloud cover traps the working class in an abject, oppressive heat. Far away from the island’s posh resorts, two girls dream of hitching a ride down to the beach and escaping their horizonless town.
It’s summer, 2005, and our ten-year-old narrator is consumed by thoughts of her best friend Isora. Isora is rude and bossy, but she’s also vivacious and brave; grownups prefer her, and boys do, too. That's why sometimes she gets jealous of Isora, who already has hair on her vagina and soft, round breasts. But she's definitely not jealous that Isora’s mother is dead, nor that Isora's fat, foul-mouthed grandmother has her on a diet, so that she is constantly sticking her fingers down her throat. Besides, she would do anything for Isora: gorge herself on cakes when her friend wants to watch, follow her to the bathroom when she takes a shit, log into chat rooms to swap dirty instant messages with strangers. But increasingly, our narrator finds it hard to keep up with Isora, who seems to be growing up at full tilt without her—and as her submissiveness veers into a painful sexual awakening, desire grows indistinguishable from intimate violence.
Braiding prose poetry with bachata lyrics and the gritty humor of Canary dialect, Dogs of Summer is a story of exquisite yearning, a brutal picture of girlhood and a love song written for the vital community it portrays.
About the Author
Andrea Abreu was born in 1995 in Tenerife, Spain. In 2021, Granta named her one of the best Spanish writers under the age of 35. Dogs of Summer, her debut novel, will be translated into 16 languages and adapted for the screen by El Estudio.
“I’m plugging this book because it is the antithesis of winter. Humid, grimy and adolescent; this book chronicles one sweaty summer break in the lives of two 10-year-old best friends growing up in a working-class neighborhood of the Canary Islands. A poetic portal to somewhere that is decidedly NOT Wisconsin in January.”
—Anada Werner, General Manager at A Room of One’s Own
"Read this coming-of-age story for its unsparing language and vivid sense of place."
—The New York Times
“Emotionally resonant . . . Abreu’s exhilarating chronicle of a young friendship is not to be missed.”
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Whip-smart. Angular. Dreamy yet lucid, and cathartically brutal.”
—Brontez Purnell, author of 100 Boyfriends
“Bold, dazzling, hilarious. Andrea Abreu is a lively meteorite in the landscape of Hispanic literature.”
—Fernanda Melchor, author of Hurricane Season
“One of the hottest translated novels of late . . . Dogs of Summer does a good job unnerving a reader in any language; it’s about girls navigating the complexities of being on the cusp of puberty as their bodies become increasingly more unrecognizable to them. Abreu captures the unique discomfort of this time through run-on sentences that are experimental and abrasive while also interspersing bachata dance music and chat-room threads.”
—Greta Rainbow, Shondaland
“This slim novel’s scope and intensity are shockingly, magnificently large, and the sentences blast off the pages with all the sordidness and wonder of early adolescence. Readers will be unable to resist the spell of Dogs of Summer, a hilarious, devastating story that is brilliantly attuned to the erotics of friendship, the intoxicating muddle of identification and desire, and the power of both the sublime and the profane. The unforgettable girls at the center of Andrea Abreu’s moving debut are two of the liveliest fictional creations I’ve come across in quite a long time.”
—Jamel Brinkley, author of A Lucky Man
“Dogs of Summer will thump through your heart and mind. A novel that consumes and sentences to die for.”
—Amina Cain, author of Indelicacy
“A caustic, claustrophobic story of disturbingly sexualised preadolescent children: bored, traumatised, blistering with a mix of envy, tenderness and viciousness . . . sensual and dirty, absurdist and tragic. Abreu’s talent is thrilling to witness.”
—Catherine Taylor, The Irish Times
“Like the portrayals of girls in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, Abreu offers brave and unvarnished renderings of complicated female friendships, painful sexual awakenings (with an LGBTQ twist), and gritty dialects, but she is in a category by herself. Her prose is bold and direct, and her characterization of two similar but different girls on the cusp of adolescence is as vivid as anything being written today.”
—June Sawyers, Booklist
“Dogs of Summer is a perfect summer novel . . . gritty, wild, poetic—an exquisite feat by debut author Andrea Abreu and renowned translator Julia Sanches.”
—Pierce Alquist, Book Riot
“This book is so fun, intoxicating, and close (sometimes uncomfortably so!!) to the girls and their journeys. It’s brutal; it’s perfect; I loved Dogs of Summer.”
—Kelsey F., Bookseller at Powell’s Books
“Andrea Abreu’s characters, like her sentences, are bold and wild. Reminiscent of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s The Discomfort of Evening, Abreu’s writing twirls and clacks with tactile precision, like winding a cassette tape with a No. 2 pencil. I’ll return to Dogs of Summer whenever I crave a searing, brutal shot of life.”
—Gabriella Burnham, author of It is Wood, It is Stone
"Andrea Abreu's whizzing bottle rocket of a debut brilliantly ignites the darkened corners of larval infatuation, lighting up the intense and elemental bonds of adolescence from the inside. Julia Sanches's translation is well-versed in the squishy, malleable language of primitive intimacy, its invented slang and private jokes, its earnest outbursts and capacity for betrayal."
—Justin Walls, Bookshop.org Partnerships Coordinator
“In playful language, Abreu beautifully evokes a land of ‘light stored for so many thousands of years’, and an era of telenovelas and the birth of the internet, in which Pokémon and Bratz dolls give way to sexual discovery.”
—John Self, The Guardian