Read What It Was Like by Peter Seth Online

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“It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.”So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charg“It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.”So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged, and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.It is the summer of 1968 and a young man takes a job at a camp in upstate New York before starting his first semester at Columbia University. There, he meets Rachel Price, a fellow counselor who is as beautiful as she is haunted. Their romance will burn with a passion neither of them has ever known before…a passion with the power to destroy.In the tradition of Endless Love and Gone Girl, What it was Like is an intimate, raw, and revealing journey through the landscape of all-consuming love. It announces the debut of a remarkable storyteller....

Title : What It Was Like
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781611881905
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

What It Was Like Reviews

  • Nourhan
    2019-03-04 19:28

    Boringly captivating, the kind of book where you just want to know what happened next and get it over with.

  • Erin
    2019-02-25 16:39

    ARC for review. Closely akin to a Endless Love for our age (although without all the good sex parts and, as our narrator states upfront "no swearing" - so I guess this is geared toward the YA audience, but I missed the sex and the swearing!) and it's set in the early 70s, I believe (some stories just don't work with cell phones and texting).Our unnamed narrator is a lower middle class kid headed to Columbia in the fall and decides to make some summer money as a camp counselor. There he meets Rachel, a CIT and falls for her immediately. It's pretty clear that he has little experience with the opposite sex and it's also immediately clear that in the eyes of a starstruck teenager (hell, in the eyes of a man) a woman's physical beauty makes up for many, many sins. The reader immediately sees that regardless of her beauty she is self-centered and annoying, but the narrator is entranced, and remains so as she pulls him into her web of dysfunction and as nearly every person on the planet tells him to steer clear. The results are about what you would expect (though to me it was very unclear whether Rachel had a master plan or events simply unfolded). The plot was nothing we haven't seen before, but the voice of the narrator is strong and I tore through the book, just waiting to see the tragedy I knew was coming. Definitely worth a read.

  • Marisa Turpin
    2019-02-24 19:10

    A very fast paced read and hard to put down. It is clear from the beginning that it's not going to end well because the main character is writing his side of the story from jail. We never learn his name, but his girlfriend's name (Rachel) is used a lot. He is clearly in over his head with her and is told so numerous times by numerous people. But like any young guy (or girl) in love, he doesn't listen. Rachel is described as beautiful throughout the book, and as far as I could see, that is ALL she had going for her. She was a narcissistic, whiney, rich bitch. About halfway through I was really hoping that he was in jail because he killed her. I was ready for her complaining to stop. And I didn't want to hear about "the Zone" anymore, either. Further, there needed to be more sex (like a description of why it was so great in order to justify his insanity) and at least a little cursing. The twin towers were mentioned at one point, but they weren't even completed until the early 70's, and this book was set in the 1960's. I think it could have been shortened by about 100 pages and nothing would have been lost. Or just maybe I am getting way too picky about my books these days. It WAS a compelling read because I finished it within a 24 hour period. But I didn't like a single character in it.

  • Cherei
    2019-03-11 15:35

    "What it was like" by Peter Seth will take the young adult literary world by storm! This book is the 21st century generation's, "Catcher in the Rye"! A must read book for young adults! The book starts off in one of the most unique ways ever.. It was so different that I handed the book to my husband to read for just a second.. and after fifteen minutes had to yell at him to make him give it back! lol The story is about a young man who falls in love.. and then.. starts down a path that anyone could easily fall into.. as they go down that rabbit hole of "love". Right from the beginning you know that the young man is in prison. You know that his life has been ruined. But, as you read.. you can easily see.. how love, and proving one's love.. can lead down a path of destruction.. that sometimes.. after a series of events.. can never be reversed. Never be righted. It could happen to anyone. That's what makes this book so good. One that every young adult should be required to read. One that will have a far reaching impact for generations to come. A tale.. that hopefully.. will save at least one young life.. from being forever ruined by those three little words, "I love you".

  • ReadAlong With Sue
    2019-02-26 14:16

    I had such high hopes for this story. I really wanted to love it. I really tried to get into this but it was such a hard struggle at the beginning. I kept on going though in the hope that I would see the light of where the author Peter Seth was going with this.I get it. I get the love story in it, I get the obsession, but what I didn't get was the hope for something to be revealed, I kept saying to myself "Right, something is going to go BANG soon and its all going to take off" I repeated that so many times when it seemed we were leading somewhere, alas, it never happened for me.Its well written, but I just don't see any real climax there.Unless the climax was where he was lusting after her, I really couldn't say he was 'madly in love' how could you? but yes, obsessive compulsive behavior leading into a false entrapment of belief this is 'love'? Maybe? I just didn't see it probable. I received my copy from The Story Plant via Net Galley in exchanged for an unbiased and honest review on my part

  • Deanne
    2019-03-12 15:32

    Only turned the pages of this book quickly to skip the long, overwritten chapters full of way too many details. I was halfway through the book and nothing significant had happened. Not my idea of a "page turner"!

  • Elaine
    2019-03-08 14:16

    This is a story about love, first love – the sort of obsessional all consuming young love that leaves you unable to think about anything else apart from the object of your desire. The sort of love where every word you hear spoken, picture you see, TV programme you watch etcetera brings your loved one to mind. The sort of love for whom you ditch all your friends. The sort of love that means you cannot function when you are apart and literally pine for. The sort of love which blinds you to your loved one’s faults. You will believe anything they tell you and do ANYTHING for them. Perhaps most importantly of all, nobody else has ever loved like this before and nobody can possibly understand just what it is like.The story is told from the perspective of an unnamed young man. Right from the start we know that he is in jail but we don’t know why, only that his love for Rachel lies at the heart of whatever trouble he is in. He tells us their story from the moment they meet at summer camp right up until he finds himself in jail. I did find the beginning of the book seemed a bit long winded at times. It is a long story full of teenage angst, in which we must have accompanied this young couple on every single date they had and listened to every single phone call between them, and there were times I drifted off a little. As the story progresses we get little hints as to why he has landed in jail although, because we only hear the story from his, biased, side the events did seem to me to be over exaggerated. I had to remind myself that we were dealing with first love here, in a situation where our hero is so much in love with Rachel, that any transgression against her, no matter how small, is bound to be earth shattering in his opinion. Without giving the plot line away – I just didn’t feel it. I think not hearing Rachel’s side of the story definitely took something away from the story as I didn’t get why he was so much in love with her and, to put it bluntly, wrapped around her little finger. She is a pretty girl, yes, but comes across right from the start as not particularly likeable. I just didn’t get what was so special about her, apart from her looks, that would inspire such puppy like devotion.I found the last quarter of the book moved a lot faster than the first section. Once “events” were under way the story became a lot pacier and it was only then that I really started to enjoy the read, despite it coming over as a tad far fetched with characters, in particular Eleanor (Rachel’s mother) not feeling real, not being believable. It is not a bad story at all, but too long by about 100 pages. Thanks to the publisher for the advance review copy.

  • Jay Phillippi
    2019-02-25 21:25

    In simplest form this is "boy meets girl and eventually it all goes terribly wrong". Same basic story line as Romeo and Juliet. (Spoiler- this isn't R&J).The English have this wonderful concept of the "busman's holiday". In simplest form it means that you spend your vacation doing something related or similar to what you do for a living. So a busman (bus driver) would go on a bus tour, a teacher would take classes, etc. As a youth minister, reading this book was something of a busman's holiday for me. It's about teenagers and the convoluted lives they can lead when life runs a little too far ahead of their ability to cope.Sadly, this means that there was very little mystery about "what happens next" for me. Within a hundred pages I knew the ending, at least in broad strokes. The only question was whether it was going to be Romeo and Juliet, or Charlie Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate. Consequently most of my reading time consisted of watching the adults in the story screw up the lives of these two young people over and over and over. The camp director, Rachel's parents, the narrator's parents, each every one of them failed these young people repeatedly. Any of them could have averted the ending but chose not to do so. From my point of view it was simply infuriating.For me, "What It Was Like" didn't break any real new ground. The story here is all too familiar. Emotionally immature/broken teens desperately search for love, connection and stability. Poor decisions are made because they lack the background to understand what they are doing and they lack the parental support to gain it safely. Most kids get through that phase with just some minor emotional scars. Some don't make it through at all. It's just sad, depressing reading that's all too close to home.At the same time, Seth's story telling skill is highly polished. The story is easily readable and carries the reader along quite effortlessly. While the story may have dragged at me, the storytelling kept me going. Hundreds of pages of personal and professional agony that I still wanted to plow through. I'm not sure there's any higher praise you can offer an author.Read my complete review, plus other independent media commentary at my blogThe View From the Phlipside

  • Mira
    2019-02-23 22:22

    Reading this was a chore. It didn't only drag on; it wore me out before anything had even happened. Of the 464 pages, I think about 200 pages - minimum - could have been edited out of it without losing anything even remotely important, at all. Reading back through the notes that I had jotted down, I apparently was hooked by the first chapter. I hardly remember that at all, because all of that interest had quickly fallen away. It's just that simply nothing happened until the final fourth of the book. It wasn't suspense - it was just the same few sentiments repeated over, and over, and over. He may as well have been repeating the same few lines five hundred times: "I really miss her. I really want to call her. I haven't seen her in a whole two days. She is perfect. I want to see her. She is gorgeous. I want to see her. Those mean ol' grown-ups think I'm crazy but I just want to see her. I just really like her. When can I call her? I really miss her. She is beautiful. I miss her. Why are these grown-ups being so mean? I want to call her. When can I call her? I don't care about homework because I want to call her but these mean grown-ups won't let me." Imagine that for 300 pages. Even when other topics were mentioned, which was rare, they were explained in extreme repetition for far too long where entire pages could be boiled down to a few lines: "Nanci is fat. She said hi but I just noticed she has fat legs. Also, fat arms. Also, she's huge. Also, everyone else is skinny. By the way, did I mention her fat legs?" (PARAPHRASING, of course) and every other time Nanci is mentioned throughout the book, her weight comes first. Forget likable protagonist, that's not the point of this book, but a readable protagonist would have been preferred. And the pay-off, the ending... just wasn't enough. It wasn't worth it, and I hate to say that, but it was tiring with no thrill at the end. I just kept falling asleep. It was just exhausting. I admit that I bought this book in a sleepy haze with some free Kindle credits after seeing a comparison to Gone Girl in the description. I actually went back to the listing to see who that liar was, but really, it's my fault.

  • Denise MacDonald
    2019-03-04 16:19

    These days, when a book is compared to being like another hit book I usually don't pick it up. But this book was provided as an ARC from NeT Galley and it sounded interesting, so even though it was compared to Gone Girl in the blurb, I downloaded it anyway. The idea of the book was good, but it seemed like there was something missing through out the entire story. I was waiting for the big reveal and there was none. I get that it was about an all consuming love, a young obsession that lead to a tragic end. There seemed to be a piece of Rachel that was left out or not fully developed. I believe this book could have been great, if only there was more of Rachel's true self in the book. Maybe having a few chapters from her point of view would have given the reader a better understanding of where exactly she was coming from. The relationship between Rachel and her parents needed more explaining, because, honestly, it didn't seem to warrant the over the top negativity described in the book.There was also a lot left unexplained- a lot of what seemed like foreshadowing that was never followed through on. For example, at the end of camp, the narrator's friend makes a statement along the lines of "get in touch with me and I'll tell you what really happened this summer." That seemed like it was going to be a major part of the story, however that character was never mentioned again. There were also incidents where people gave vague warnings or strange comments that were never followed up on later in the book. I found myself skimming quite a bit because there was a lot of unnecessary description and even entire scenes that were not needed. To me, it seemed like the author dwelled on the unimportant and completely left out things that were important.Overall, it was okay. I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-12 15:30

    WOW!! WOW!! WOW!!!It has been a few days since I read the last word and closed the back cover, before putting my thoughts in writing because it took me some time to process and reflect on what I had just finished reading.From reading the back cover/synopsis and previous reviews, I knew that somewhere in these pages, an outcome was going to be tragic. And a love story was to be told. But before I go any further, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, I am a member of The Story Plant's Spread the Word Initiative, with a little tease "It's both romantic and suspenseful, but it's not romantic suspense." However, please know, I was asked, in return for this copy, I would provide an honest review, which I will.Did I say WOW??!! I still don't know where to start with this review because my head is still reeling. It is a story of, to name a few elements, a first love, obsession, manipulation, parental love, friendships, boundaries, unconditional love and one life changing decision. Characters and settings will touch every reader and will evoke memories and emotions as one turns the pages. Gripping!! A page turner!!I could not put this book down, reading into the early hours. Riveting!! And when I read the last word I was astounded. Is what I just read a fictional novel? Or was it based on truth? Was it an autobiography? Or is this debut author a masterful, first-rate storyteller that has my head reeling still? Outstanding!!My prediction...in the coming days, weeks, months, this book will become a bestseller!!! And Peter Seth will be a familiar name in the literary world!! An extraordinary read!!! Bravo Mr. Seth!! And kudos to publisher, Lou Aronica, for discovering this brilliant author!!I am definitely spreading the word on this book, and I'm sure, once you read it, you will be doing the same!!!

  • Mark
    2019-03-19 14:20

    "We were on this wild, real-life amusement park ride -- part House of Horrors, part Tunnel of Love -- and we couldn't stop now."That sentence from Peter Seth's "What It Was Like" perfectly captures one of the most compulsively thrilling novels I've read in years. A pitch-perfect portrayal of the zeitgeist of the late '60s, the book moves easily and organically from genre to genre. It starts out as an innocent love story and reminiscence of youth at a summer camp, then gradually becomes a riveting story of emotional addiction between our two young lovers, Rachel and "Defendant X," who appear to have everyone aligned against them. Always wishing them the worst are Rachel's mother and sleazy step-dad, living in pampered decadence in their mansion and trying to control Rachel's every move. But "Defendant X" is about to snap...and the novel turns into a breathless, fugitive thriller with its lovers on the run from the police and, it seems, the whole world! Along the way are provocative detours into a kinky card game and intimations of bisexuality. What else can I say? Although I found this to be perfect summer reading, I'd wager this book is impossible to stop reading in ANY season. "What It Was Like" is suitable for readers of all ages between young adults to Boomers because it captures the idyllic days of summer camp AND the 1960s as accurately as any time capsule. Peter Seth is a born writer and has knocked it out of the park in his first book. Stay tuned because I bet he's got a highly promising career ahead of him as a novelist. BRAVO!

  • Diane Moyle
    2019-03-04 18:40

    WOW!!!I just finished this book and what a page turner. This is the debut novel from author Peter Seth and I couldn’t put it down. It is a story of a shy middle-class young man who works at a youth camp during the summer before he starts his college career at Columbia. There, he encounters his first true love, Rachael. She is a rich, spoiled manipulative, soon to be a high school senior who wraps his heart and mind around her finger. It starts off like other typical novels that you have read but that’s where it ends. Just when you think you know where the story is headed it changes directions. It’s a roller coaster ride to the very last page The story is told in the first person narrative style. The author does an amazing job with this approach. You are inside the young man’s mind from page one. You can almost hear his voice as you read the story. You are taken back to your own youth and the strong feelings that your first true love evoked. Maybe it was just the mother in me but I found myself thinking, Please stop and think about what you are doing! Then as you brace yourself for one outcome, a curve is thrown and you are left thinking..Oh my, I didn’t see that coming!!! I highly recommend this book but offer this warning…be careful because you won’t want to put it down until the last page is turned!

  • Laurie Carlson
    2019-03-08 16:11

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!! This was by FAR the BEST love story I have EVER read! 462 pages, and I read it in 2 days! BRAVO to this author, Peter Seth!I'm back now with my official review now! Here it is!MY TAKE:5+ Stars!WOW! WHERE has this author been hiding??? This is an outstanding book! BRAVO! What a story! It is one I will never forget! I cannot sing enough praise about this book! This book captures your attention from the second you open the cover and start to read the very first page, to everything in-between, and all the way to the end! You are not going to put this book down, and I truly mean it! You may be tired of hearing this same ole expression of 'I couldn't put this book down' a million times, but believe me when I say I could NOT put this book down, I truly mean that, and you will end up feeling the same way. I wanted to read this, I had to read this, I had to know what was happening next. I was obsessively reading this 462 page book in less than two days! (Yes, I lost sleep!) I wish it were even longer, the story was SO good! I was GLUED to the story inside this book!What I am going to tell you about this book only touches the surface, and not all of it, either. There is a lot to this book, but first, let's start with how this book begins.Briefly here, the book starts with an Editor's Note. It goes on to say it was discovered among the paperwork/belongings of a Supreme Court Judge who recently passed away after serving for twenty-eight years. It goes on to say, 'this manuscript has received minimal editing as they want to preserve the writer's grammar, pronunciation, spelling, capitalization, etc. It was deemed preferable to publish it with as little editorial tampering as possible, so that the voice of the perpetrator can be heard. There is no point in publishing a book with (sic) after every third sentence. WOW! Amazing, huh?! They wanted the true writer's voice to be heard. With that being said, I looked on the side of the book to see if it said Fiction, and nope, I did not see it. Inside the in the first few pages it does say, "This book is a work of Fiction, and any relation to . . . ", the usual blurb that is in all Fiction books, but when you flip the page, you see a cover letter from this man's attorney in which he states this 'exhibit' is in advance of the appeal, in the interest of justice. (Quoting from the book.) It's meant as a supplement to the trial transcript, not a replacement for it, and the attorney also says this is a truer account of what happened. Well, that sure got me questioning it as it seems so convincing! Even in the back of the book there is a Publisher's Note. It goes on to give a little more information about the manuscript, that the writer reviewed the galleys and this edition of the manuscript . . . Hmmm? I'm still wondering if this really is Fact or Fiction, or maybe a little of both? What a book! I guess you'll have to read this one for yourself to try and figure it out, "IF" you can. This might just be one of those stories we'll never know the truth about, but we sure can enjoy the ride this story gives us! This young man tells us that he never got to tell the court 'his side of the story', and this is what this letter is about. He felt it unfair that no one allowed him to hear HIS voice, and his lawyer never let him take the stand to tell 'his' side of the story. There were reasons why the attorney's felt he should not tell his story, but he feels that was the wrong decision. He needs to tell what really happened, and this is his chance.So he starts his story. As we read in the 'Description', he says the following: “It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.” The first half of this book takes place at Mooncliff Summer Camp where he meets her and falls in love immediately. What can I say but I am a sucker for camp stories! I went to camp several times as a kid and I LOVED it! I lived for summers to come so I could go to camp! I could relate to everything in this book about camp! It brought back a lot of memories, too!This story is narrated in his own voice, which was what he was after since he never got to tell it in the courtroom, but one strange thing is we never learn his name. He had just graduated High School and it's the summer of 1968, the summer before his first year in college at Columbia. He had scholarships, so this is one smart young man! In the meantime, he looked around for a summer job to make some money to put away for school so he could study instead of having to worry about working a job, too. He ended getting hired as a camp counselor at Camp Mooncliff. He had never gone to camp as a kid, but he felt he could do the job. He would be in a cabin for eight weeks with kids ages 10-12, and he would also have a second Counselor in the cabin with the kids so they could help each other out. He arrived, got to his cabin, and met his fellow counselor named Stewie. That same day the rest of the kids arrived one by one, groups of kids, and some stragglers, all as the busses arrived. They had their boys all together and were ready to go to the Mess Hall for their first get-together.That night was when he saw her. Their eyes locked, then she looked away, flirtingly. He was smitten! He asked Stewie who she was. Rachel Prince. Stewie told him to forget about her. She teases guys to death and nothing ever happens. No. He could not leave her alone. Four days later they officially met. They had been square dancing with their kids, and both left to go outside because they were so hot. They struck up a conversation, and that was IT! The beginning of their relationship. The odd thing was the more people saw these two trying to hide their interest in each other and sneak around the camp usually at nighttime, the more the other counselors warned him about her. She's related to the owner, but they also said she was moody, self-centered, dangerous to be around, she was mean, etc., but they didn't give any further explanation. He didn't care. He was already in love with her. They had a lot of great times together at camp, and I really enjoyed this entire part of the book. I was just as sorry as the kids and other counselors were when summer had ended and everyone had to go home for school. So he and Rachel continue their relationship. She is now a Senior in High School, and he is a Freshman at Columbia. The problem was going to be the distance from Columbia back to Long Island to Rachel's house. That proved to be true, but he came home on public transportation every single weekend. I was amazed by his diligence. His studies became difficult because he was not getting his homework done as she demanded his full attention.Problems started to arise here and there. The trouble was with her family, her mother, especially, and then her mother's live-in boyfriend who became her step-father. They treated him like they didn't like him, and they confronted him a few times, too. They had their own issues and troubles of their own, mainly selfishness, but a lot of problems with Rachel, too, so they claimed. He always felt so sorry for her, the way she had been treated while growing up, and he could see it now, but he also saw a lot of problems with all of them. Still, Rachel always looked to him for comfort, but slowly some of this started to change.The rest of their love story is for you to read. I am stopping here. There are a LOT of twists and turns to come. Some things are just crazy! I'll leave you with another quote from this book."How what started so innocently became so . . . un-innocent . . . how things became twisted - even now, after so much time has passed, my mind can't quite grasp all the events even over time. Time. Why am I suspicious of "hope?"Get this book! You won't regret it! Soon you'll be singing the praises of this book, too! The writing is truly amazing; it's mesmerizing, holds your interest sentence by sentence. The story itself is full, interesting, written really, really well. I can truly see this becoming a Bestseller as long as people know this book is out there! I know I'll be suggesting this book to everyone I can! (I already have been!) I'll admit I have read some great Psychological Thrillers, but this book - this book TRUMPS THEM ALL!I have a little funny story about this book and how I got it. This book caught my attention at NetGalley, and I requested it from the publisher, The Story Plant, to read and review it. I am also a part of this same Publisher's program which is called 'Spread the Word Initiative'. Guess what? I ALSO got a copy of this book in the mail from The Story Plant a day or two AFTER I requested it at NetGalley! Actually, it turned out to be an advantage to have both the ebook AND the paperback, really! When I had to do things around the house I could not ignore, I carried my Kindle with me so I could keep on reading. When I sat down, I picked up the paperback book! It was great! So when I say I was 'glued to this book', I literally was! It was with me in every possible way!One more thing. I usually always read ebooks, but I would highly suggest purchasing the paperback copy of this book so you can see the full page letters from the attorneys. They looked so convincingly real! With the ebook, they don't make as much of an impact as they did in the book. Enjoy reading this one! You won't forget this book anytime soon! It stays with you long after you are done!

  • Larry H
    2019-02-26 18:28

    Full disclosure: I received an advance readers copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review."It's really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They're right. I did some extremely foolish things; I'm the first to say it. And they've left me in jail and alone."The narrator of Peter Seth's What It Was Like grew up in the late 1960s on Long Island, and seemed to have everything. He was smart, planning to attend Columbia University, and the summer before college took a job as a counselor at Camp Mooncliff, a summer camp in upstate New York. He took the job to earn some money before college, and figured it would be a relatively easy job, better than staying home and working for a rich relative or in the furniture store where his father worked.What he didn't plan for was meeting the gorgeous yet troubled Rachel Prince, a CIT (counselor-in-training) at the camp who was related to the camp's owners. Over her years at Mooncliff Rachel had developed quite a reputation for teasing and using boys, then discarding them when she got bored. Despite many of his fellow counselors' warnings, he falls hard for her, and she for him. It isn't long before the two are breaking as many camp rules as possible in order to see other as frequently as they can, which doesn't sit well with those in charge, and they do all they can to keep the two apart.Although his feelings for Rachel are quite strong, he is somewhat put off by the mania of her emotions. With her parents in the midst of an ugly divorce, and her desire not to go to college directly after she graduates from high school, Rachel has tremendous anxiety about her relationship with her mother and her new live-in boyfriend, and worries whether they will try to keep Rachel from seeing the love of her life after the summer ends.What It Was Like is the story of the intensity of young love that borders on obsession, and how we often suspend logic and don't heed the warnings and advice of others when we're in the midst of that type of love. As we learn early on in the book, the narrator's feelings for Rachel end up embroiling him in trouble he never planned on, and severely alters the course of his life. This book is apparently "the true story" the narrator writes while in prison, as he attests that the real story was never disclosed at his trial.I thought at first this book had tremendous promise. I like the way Peter Seth writes and I particularly liked the depth he gave to the narrator, despite the fact you wanted to shake some sense into him. He hit the nail on the head in capturing the summer camp experience—many of the events and activities he talked about actually happened at the summer camp I attended when I was younger.As the book unfolded, I became more frustrated. The story became less and less probable, and while I believe that intense love makes us blind and causes us to act irrationally, I just couldn't believe the sequence of events that occurred. I also thought that the book went on a bit too long—while I understand it was to set up what transpired later, there were far too many instances of Rachel acting emotionally and the narrator mooning over her, and since Rachel didn't seem to be that appealing of a character (apart from her beauty), I found the story dragged.There's an old saying that "Love makes such fools of us." What It Was Like clearly demonstrates the lengths to which we will go for the ones we love, no matter how it may destroy our own lives in the process.

  • Kaitlin
    2019-02-23 17:20

    What It Was Like (click on book or see below for description)By Peter SethReleases 9/2/14Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewRating: 3 bonesFinish Time: 5 nights. This book had me up late turning pages in antici………..pation! The build up for this book was ridiculous. The description on the back (and see below) and first few pages of the book set it up and there are teasers throughout about this “big unknown” event, and until it happens, it’s really hard to guess. (Also see another quote I featured in my Teaser Tuesday this week too!) I had a few guesses throughout, some were on the right track, others way off, but I had no idea what and when it was coming. Seriously, when I finally had to put it down at night, I’d dream (or have nightmares) about what happens. This book creeped me out and stuck with me in a way like none other.The crazy part is – we never learn the narrator’s name. It’s told 100% from his point of view (similar to another book I just finished). A recent high school graduate working at a summer camp then beginning college in New York City at Columbia University. A classic tale of boy meets girl, they fall in love, and their love makes them do crazy things. Ok maybe not so classic, but it’s been told before, just not like this. I did a Google search to confirm this is fiction, the way it reads, I’d believe you if you told me it was a true story. The author had me believing this really happened and was buried in sealed case files until now.During my search, I uncovered the website for this book which provides more information on Who’s Who and what happened on this day in 1968-69 (the year in which the events of this book took place.) It’s a fun little supplement to the book, which I always enjoy. But back to the story. I toyed with 3 v. 4 bones for my rating. I enjoyed reading the book and it kept me frantically turning pages, but I was turning those pages for quite some time to get to the meat of it, which finally happened at about 2/3rds of the way in. As I mentioned in the beginning of this review – the anticipation was killing me and maybe that was the point, but it frustrated me at times and messed with my head! That first part was the set-up, probably a good year or two before the “big unknown,” which was fine, but just a bit too much.Once the “big unknown,” finally happened or was happening, I became very uncomfortable and frustrated with the characters. Not really a situation where I’d like to think “what would I do” but I guess one could say it would make them think just what they would do if there were ever in such a predicament. Hopefully not what was chosen, no spoilers, the narrator begins the book from jail, so from that point on, you can confidently predict what will happen. I would have liked more points of view or even excerpts from the trial to get others points of view, as I mentioned it was only from the narrator’s.Overall depressing book. Very well written. Full of suspense and keeps you on your toes and guessing. If it sounds like your style book, it’s worth your time. I would definitely read this author again and am very impressed for a first book!Thank you to NetGalley and The Story Plant for allowing me to preview!http://mydogearedpurpose.com/2014/07/...

  • Viviane Crystal
    2019-03-15 20:18

    A nameless high school graduate has his future all lined up. He’s going to work in a summer camp and planning to begin student life at Columbia University. Obviously, he’s a bright guy who’s just wanting to earn some money for his college days in the fall of 1968. However, It should be noted that he’s (nameless throughout the entire story) writing this from jail and so we realize it’s really an account of his memories, flashbacks and reflections on the pivotal days that landed him where he is now.Falling in love very quickly with Rachel Prince, a relative of the owner of the summer camp where the narrator is working, the narrator will do anything, anywhere, anytime to be with her. She’s very attractive and carries a spark of energy the narrator refers to as “musical.” It also turns out she’s rather mercurial with her temper, one minute delightfully endearing and mesmerizing and the next sharp-tongued and/or tough. She is between a counselor and camp member, and there are very strict rules for this in-between position. However, she’s very good at her job and the camp kids love her. It also turns out that Rachel is very ticked off because she was supposed to take a “teen tour” of Europe, a bucket list goal that got trashed when her parents announced they were getting divorced.The story gets a bit draggy midway through the book and yet somehow even though they are repetitive scenes, there’s enough rebellion and breaking of rules, as well as sexual dalliance, to keep the reader flipping the pages.All of a sudden (no spoilers here), the danger heightens and rapidly escalates to the point of two scenarios the reader cannot ever envision while reading those previously pages that are hot only with passion, albeit threaded through with quite a bit of obsession.In the beginning of their relationship, the narrator senses there is something “dangerous” about Rachel and later some conversations about what her “therapist” and family says drop more hints but nothing further.This is no Love Story with a gushy, maudlin ending. It’s passionate, stark, haunted fiction that nails it on the head about young adult romance gone awry. It’s also about the naive hormonal dominance that goes into total denial about some rather obvious “warning” signals beyond the physical attraction both so deeply embrace! Nicely done, indeed, Peter Seth! Keep writing!

  • Martin Maenza
    2019-03-26 21:11

    What It Was Like is the debut novel by Peter Seth, coming out by the Story Plant publisher in September of this year. I had the opportunity to read an early release gallery of the novel.It tells the story of a soon-to-be college freshman (we are never given his name) who conveys a very detailed account of how an all-consuming love affair with a seventeen year old beauty named Rachel led to the ruination of his life. It is told in three acts: how they met at a summer camp, how the relationship swings back and forth once they return to the real world, and then how things all fall apart on one fateful night.I have to admit that I struggled to get through this one. If I was not asked to review it, I might not have ever finished it. I found that the first two acts were painstakingly drawn out. The narrator gives a day-by-day detailed account that could have easily been pruned by a third to a half and still been effective. I get that it fits with the idea of the man wanting to convey every little fact, showing how all consuming this love affair was for him, but no person would realistically remember every little thing like that.However, the third act is when things finally start to pay off and that is when the details are important. Still, some of the "reveals" in that part just seemed to be coming in from left-field. There was not enough foundation in parts one and two to justify them. Then again, with the story only told from the view-point of the narrator, there is really no way for the author to easily convey that. And perhaps, ultimately, that might be the failing point of the story - the chosen narration style. By committing to just the point of view as the hapless, lovelorn victim, so many things are left to what is shown on the surface of the other characters (via actions and words).In the end, I felt little sympathy for the narrator. He had an-out at one point but falls right back into it again because he lets his heart over-rule his head. If this were an actual real-life story, I would have said he got what he deserved.

  • Dianne
    2019-03-20 14:20

    The memories of young love, summer camp and the innocence of youth turns into a haunting tale of two people against a world who seeks to shred them apart. Rachel and Defendant X are on the run, from her controlling parents and finally, the law. How can that first love go so wrong? How does a tender love story become a deadly game of cat and mouse? How does one promising young man go from a brilliant future ahead of him to a fugitive to a man broken and incarcerated? What it Was Like by Peter Seth will take reader back through time to 1968. For Young adult readers, this will be a snapshot of the past with a theme that is easily related to. For those who lived this era, it is a guided tour down memory lane with the vivid descriptions and attitude of the times. For suspense lovers who love the unknown turns ahead and the ending that you could not see coming, you have met your next great intrigue through the words of Peter Seth. Mr. Seth writes with a crisp and clean style that moves along at high tension throughout. His plot is well-designed, his world is 3-dimensional and his characters jump off the pages, begging to tell their story through amazing dialogue and action. Powerful reading with brilliant plot twists that had me glued to each page as I was crossing genres along with this author!I received an ARC copy from The Story Plant in exchange for my honest review and I highly recommend this author and this novel.Publication Date: September 2, 2014Publisher: The Story PlantISBN: 1611881900Genre: Romantic SuspensePrint Length: 464 pagesAvailable from: Amazon |  Barnes & Noble

  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    2019-03-11 14:40

    This story is a dissection of young love before and after it curdles and sours. It begins as a tender, sweet love story set in 1968 as a young man works as a camp counselor and falls in love with one Rachel Price. With a promising future as a student at Columbia University, the reader watches with a foreboding feeling while it slips through his fingers as he allows his new love to consume and manipulate him. She is beautiful but messy and soon he is drowning in the secrets of her abusive parents, set on saving her from their clutches. But Rachel isn't the innocent he imagines her to be.The camp as an atmosphere is enjoyable, with the kids meddling and being silly little children. The rumors about the mysterious 'Eric', an ex of Rachel's, that float around the campers is a great way to expose the insecurities that eat the heart when first falling in love. The little escapes, the bond built when they feel it's them against the camp reveals that selfish focus most young lovers have. The story goes from a sweet love story with a confusing middle and rotted end. When Rachel's friend Nanci enters the story everything gets twisted and tangled and what happens at the climax left me with a dizzying 'huh?'. Rachel's mother doesn't make much sense to me, and without giving a good part of the story away, I can only ask why? The why of it all never seems to be revealed. It seems ridiculous, what her mother has done. It was all going along believably because love is blind and stupid, but before blood spills, the big confrontation was somewhat silly. Everything that happens after that is strange. I have mixed feelings about this. The first half reflects the bloom of first love beautifully with all the insecurities and passions, but the second half verges on the ridiculous. I can't wait to see what other readers feel about the novel. It's strange and I enjoyed it but I also felt it turned on me.

  • Shannon L. Gonzalez
    2019-03-03 20:33

    What It Was Like by Peter SethWhat would you do for love if it encompassed your entire world?The narrator of What It Was Like probably would ask, “What wouldn’t you do for love?” He is in prison at the beginning of the story as he tells the tale of young romance. It’s his last summer before heading off to college and he spends it working as a camp counselor. He meets Rachel, not yet graduated from High School, who is related to the camp owner. Although warned not to “go there” as she is nothing but trouble on two legs, he doesn’t listen. His heart is captured and his ruination is begun. They both fall hard for each other, but love can be blind as it is for our narrator. Rachel is dealing with emotional turmoil that she is not mature enough to navigate. With her parent’s divorce and her future after high school being dictated to her, she rebels taking our narrator along for the ride. This story is a warning of what can wrong with obsessive young love, especially when you are young enough to think you know everything. Lives can be ruined when reasonable thought about consequences is not in the equation. When it comes to love most young adults don’t think with their mind, it is the same with our two lovebirds. They lose themselves in their own world albeit he loses more of himself in her world. This story was slow to start but built up speed to a tumultuous fever pitch as love often does. It is a great beginning of a career for Peter Seth.For more information about Peter Smith, visit his publisher’s website: http://thestoryplant.com/?s=peter+sethFTC Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this title by The Story Plant for review purposes only. No other compensation was awarded.

  • Carol -Reading Writing and Riesling
    2019-03-24 20:20

    3 1/2 starsMy View:Limmerence personified – so sad.Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limerence) states that limerence is “an involuntary state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated…”and "an involuntary potentially inspiring state of adoration and attachment to a limerent object involving intrusive and obsessive thoughts, feelings and behaviors from euphoria to despair, contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation..” The protagonist in the novel suffers from limerence – and suffer he does - I think this is one of the most accurate depictions of the affliction that I have come across – the protagonist, un named, is so intensely bound to Rachel Prince and the idea of their romance that nothing else matters; he is psychologically on the edge, unable to function rationally, all his efforts and energy are expended on seeing her and pleasing her, and that has disastrous effects. This narrative has a very quiet considered voice and even pace, yet the first pages hook you with the revelation that the protagonist is already in gaol and is writing the story of his innocence and from then on you read expectantly waiting for the truth to be revealed. Seth provides the reader with an intimate view of the naïve protagonist’s journey into the state of limerence and self-destruction; it is heart breaking reading. Seth is an excellent story teller whose words paint a portrait of pain and love, in this instance the two emotions inseparable.

  • Patty Mccormick
    2019-03-12 17:26

    I have to say that I really got lost in this book. I kept thinking that it seemed so real. I even flipped back to the copyright page to make sure it was fiction. Lol. This book was that realistic for me. I would like to think that the narrator of the story, a young college man was just a victim of circumstances, but I am not so sure. It is a little strange we never learn his name. As the story unfolds, you know that something bad happened, but you don’t find out what till almost the end. Is this guy a scape goat or is he guilty? He can say whatever he wants, because in the end there are no witnesses. A young girl and a young guy are obsessed with each other and a crime occurs.” … Of course, I never told them the truth, but by then I was very good at that (pg. 456)”This leads me to believe that he isn’t always truthful. Also in the retelling of the event he seems to lack emotion and remorse. He said on page 459 that he is trying to tell the truth. Why doesn’t he say I am telling the truth? But then again he portrays himself as just an average kind of guy. Did he do the crime or did she? That is really the question. We will never know. I really liked this book. It is a great first novel!!! I give this one a 4 out 5 stars.

  • Scott Stewart
    2019-02-24 18:11

    First I want to thank The Story Plant and the author for giving this book away to Goodreads readers. I have never won anything, so it is appreciated.Now, on to the book review. This is one of the best written books I have read in a long time. I am surprised that it didn't come out in hardback first. This is a book I will enjoy keeping on the shelf for years to come. Some may say that this is a book for young readers, but I beg to differ. This was one of the most suspenseful thrill rides you will find anywhere. The author has a way of painting a vivid picture of landscapes, and describing characters in a way that makes it easy for the reader to relate, like (or hate), and visualize the person as if they are in the room with you. I was swept away in the story, wondering the whole time how it was going to end. Needless to say, readers are going to love this book. I can't wait to see what this author comes out with next.

  • Jeffrey Sakson
    2019-02-24 21:29

    A highly enjoyable page-turner that begins as a nostalgic coming of age summer camp romance and segues into James M. Cain territory. First time novelist Seth does tip his hand at the outset by having his protagonist recall the events from his prison cell years later, which effectively creates suspense and doesn't spoil the surprises when they come. Set in 1970 and full of retro references that boomers will relish, the novel's central theme of obsessive love is so universal and its characters so well-drawn with sensibilities that are true to the period while also contemporary that non-boomers should find it equally irresistible. A smashing good read from a talented new writer.

  • Cindy
    2019-03-03 19:32

    Well, this was a surprising little story. This is supposedly an account of actions and inactions written by a convict for his lawyer. Of course, you know something bad happened or he wouldn’t be a convict but … it’s not what you think. Even after you reach that part in the story and know what happened, there are still surprises around the corners. The narrator is an interesting character as are the others in the story. It’s hard to put down. Very tight writing. Worth a look. Received free copy for review.

  • Melissa Chandler
    2019-03-05 14:28

    I got an advanced reading copy of What It Was Like, and the next thing I knew, I was so immersed in reading this delicious page-turner that I couldn't put it down.  I loved the vivid characters, the juicy detail and the whole absorbing world that Peter Seth created -- beautifully evoking the thrill, passion and turmoil of young love.  He is a master storyteller and I can't wait to read more of his work.  If you like great writing (with just the right amount of heartbreak mixed in), I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book!

  • Shawna
    2019-03-18 18:29

    ARC provided by NetGalley:Interesting premise for a story but it never really fully developed for me. This one's the story of teenage love/obsession that turns deadly. Written in the form of a manuscript, it's rather dry and evoked almost no feelings from me. Another gripe of mine is that it took forever to get to the point. I knew something big was going to happen pretty much from the beginning but it seemed like the climax would never happen. I'm actually kinda surprised I stuck with this one although I did a lot of skimming during the last half of the book.

  • Katherine James
    2019-03-04 14:24

    This book is amazing - I literally could not put it down! A real page turner. Don't be fooled by how quickly you get absorbed - there is a depth and artistry here that will pull you in and stay with you long after you have finished reading it. Peter Seth captures the angst of young love and what it will make you do for it. I can't wait to see who decides this needs to be a movie - because I can't wait to see it.

  • Virginia Winfield
    2019-03-01 22:38

    This was a wonderful debut novel.. This had romance and intrigue. During the whole book I was trying to decide who got killed. I knew who was being manipulative but you still kind of liked all the characters. You knew there was something not quite right but you aren't sure what. I look forward to more books by Peter Seth. I received this book from The Stoty Plant for a fair and honest opinion.