Author: Amanda Howells
Published: June 1 2010, Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cover score: A-
Overall Grade: B+
When 16 year old Mia Gordon learns that her family will be bringing back the tradition of vacationing with their cousins this summer in Southampton, New York, she's relieved. Eager to leave behind her mother's criticisms and a boy she thought she loved, Mia is more than ready to spend some quality time on the beaches that she loves with her best friend and cousin Corinne. But Corinne is nothing like Mia remembered her to be--newly sophisticated, jaded, and obsessed with the dangers of the party scene, Corinne could care less about spending time with Mia. Meanwhile, Mia's family seems to be falling apart, and Mia's summer begins to look worse and worse. But then Mia meets Simon (who loves painting and walking on the beach)--and everything changes...including the thoughts
My thoughts: Just like the unforgettable summers that Mia describes within the first few pages of the book, The Summer of Skinny Dipping is a story that will stick with you well after reading it.
To start, Amanda Howells is a beautiful writer. I felt like I was seeing the world through Mia's eyes throughout the novel. Mia was incredibly relatable and down-to-earth as she struggled with the changes her 16th summer brought. She was logical, well-developed and offered straightforward narration. Ms. Howells' words were melodic, poetic, and wrapped me up in the events of the plot.
Ms. Howells combined family problems, romance, and friendship in a way that was interesting and created a good flow in the story, never focusing on just one thing. I couldn't stop turning pages as Mia's summer transitioned from awkward and lonely to wonderful and unforgettable. However, somewhere in the middle, the book dragged a bit and I got a little bored with Simon and Mia's repetitive nighttime swims and beach walks. I think the book got a little too lengthy, which is why I temporarily lost interest.
However, the story picks back up in the end--the surprise (yet sad) ending will have reader at the edges of their seats, grabbing for a box of tissues.
Perfect for Sarah Dessen fans and the upcoming summer, readers (primarily girls) will gobble up this nostalgic, breezy tale of adventure, family secrets, first love, and loss.
Must-Read! Check it out Don't Bother