A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, is about a psychological insight of a maturing sixteen year old student at a preparatory school during WWII. Looking back at Knowles's youth, he lived a very similar lifestyle to that of the characters in his novel. Based on his experiences, he created an identical and notorious story that reflected his life.
Throughout the book, Knowles refers to the landscaping and smells of Devon in a comparable way to that of his school, Exeter. They were both located in the northern part of the country and both were described as having "great trees," "think clinging ivy," and "pure air all began to sort of intoxicate me." They also had "breathtakingly cold" winters and relaxed, happy summers which were equivalent to that at Devon.
The most ironic and similar event that happened in Knowles's life that he included in the novel and ultimately became the turning point was their club that jumped out of trees.
Their summer was based around a simple event that reflected their independence from the outside world and their loyalty to each other. In Knowles's life it helped him build friendships, while in A Separate Peace, it helped break them.