Story Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Kevin R. Free
Length: 17 hours, 24 minutes
Jason Grant is on foster home number 24, always hoping that things will work out, yet knowing that invariably he will get frustrated and screw things up. All Jason wants is his mom and his old life, the life that is gone and lost forever. Although Jason is a good kid at heart, he has a talent for destruction, which results in his return to the group home time and time again. The difference this time is that Jason’s case worker, Michelle, has asked Jason to really try with his new foster family, the Hubbards. She explains that they do adopt and, if that comes to pass, Jason could finally have the support and backing that has been missing from his life for years.
The Hubbards are old hands at the foster business, with several other children in their care, in addition to their gorgeous son Caesar. Skilled at people watching, Jason quickly figures out the family dynamic and, although Caesar is aloof and seems to have a strong sense of entitlement, he and Jason get to know each other and become friends. Their friendship grows into more and that is enough to encourage Jason to toe the line and try to make this placement work.
Even though Jason wants his life with the Hubbards to work out, it is not meant to be and once again, Jason is out and at age 16, decides he can make it on his own. Two years later, Jason is working full-time and barely making ends meet. By chance, he is in contact with his former case worker, Michelle, who disappeared two years prior and helps Jason to start over again by introducing Jason to some friends of hers who may just be the key to giving Jason a stable future, and allowing him to finally move on and find love.
Something Like Spring is the fourth book in the Seasons series by Jay Bell and to be honest, as much as I adored the first three books, I was worried that this would follow the same mold as the other books and I was thrilled that Bell took a different tack to end the series. Where the first three stories, Summer, Winter, and Autumn, all followed basically the same plot but had different POVs, in Spring we are introduced to Jason who has had a hard time, wants to succeed, but just can’t figure out how, allowing his pride and stubbornness to rule his life. Jason could have easily been one of those angsty, annoying, whiny characters but Bell did a fantastic job with Jason’s character, not letting him become unlikeable.
The world building in Something Like Spring is actually worthy of note in that life with the Hubbards, in an extremely regimented environment, would naturally be a challenge for Jason except that he befriends the Hubbards’ son, Caesar, which is incentive enough for Jason to try, and try he does, all for his first love. The relationship between Jason and Ceasar is slow to develop, has some very sweet elements, and the progression of their physical relationship is captured perfectly.
Here is where I got really excited because here is where Spring ties into the Seasons series… The friends that former case worker Michelle introduces Jason to are none other than Benjamin Bentley and Tim Wyman. The events in this part of the story occur a few years after Tim and Ben get back together and the decision to help Jason is primarily Ben’s. You can probably tell where that last sentence is going so I will leave it at that. Bell skillfully used Ben and Tim’s past experiences to help guide Jason on his journey and in the process, finally do the one thing none of his foster homes had been able to do, make him feel like family.
The true beauty of this series is how Bell draws us in, makes us feel for the characters, maintains a strong sense of continuity in terms of places, and characters, thus making us feel like we are a part of their lives. An example of this is Michelle, her husband Greg, who had been Jace’s best friend, and their daughter Emma, who became the catalyst for many of Jason’s adventures and new experiences. Bell kept the threads in place through the entire series with skill.
And now to talk about the audio. I have listened to each of the Seasons books and definitely give Free credit for maintaining the characterizations from beginning to end. Overall, Free did a great job at a maintaining consistency in Something Like Spring, bringing back all of our favorite characters and bringing the new additions to life. The emotion was ever present and Free’s pace, tone, and enunciation were flawless. Needless to say, if Kevin R. Free narrates a book, I will buy it, he is that good.
Now that the Seasons series is over, I can start on the Storms series. I understand that the MC in Something Like Lightening was a secondary character in Something Like Spring.