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Summer Sisters

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In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard's world changed forever—when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha's Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters... N In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard's world changed forever—when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha's Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters... Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin has begged Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—for the friend whose casual betrayals she remembers all too well. Because Vix wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart...


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In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard's world changed forever—when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha's Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters... N In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard's world changed forever—when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha's Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters... Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin has begged Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—for the friend whose casual betrayals she remembers all too well. Because Vix wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart...

30 review for Summer Sisters

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    3.5 stars I LOVED Judy Blume books when I was growing up. One of my favorite memories is reading her books over and over! This is my first adult Judy Blume book. I honestly wasn't sure if I would read any of her newer books. I'm not sure why... Maybe I just wanted to keep her associated with books from my youth. But I happened to come across this one when visiting my mother. Someone had dropped off some books for her to look through. I thought I would read a few pages just to see how it was and en 3.5 stars I LOVED Judy Blume books when I was growing up. One of my favorite memories is reading her books over and over! This is my first adult Judy Blume book. I honestly wasn't sure if I would read any of her newer books. I'm not sure why... Maybe I just wanted to keep her associated with books from my youth. But I happened to come across this one when visiting my mother. Someone had dropped off some books for her to look through. I thought I would read a few pages just to see how it was and ended up reading it all. I enjoyed reading about Vix and Caitlyn's friendship as it developed over the years. Like most friendships theirs is not without its struggles and hasn't always been easy, in the past or the present. It reminded me of summer trips to the lake and hanging out with friends that I was only able to see during summer vacations. I miss those days! A nice light read. It was a welcome change after some of the really emotional books I have been reading. A good summer read....or in the winter when want to think about summer! The Judy Blume from my youth will always be my favorite but all in all this was a very enjoyable read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    This story has so many elements that should make it an easy success. The senitmentality of childhood summers, first love, finding and defining family, a rags-to-riches tale, your first best friend, lost love, betrayal... But it just failed so hard! None of the characters were believable; all were flat caricatures. The Saintly Martyred Poor Girl who worships Spoiled Socialite Girl, then lives with New York Jew and Southern Belle. The fathers are Emasculated Pushover and Hippy Mellow. Younger guys This story has so many elements that should make it an easy success. The senitmentality of childhood summers, first love, finding and defining family, a rags-to-riches tale, your first best friend, lost love, betrayal... But it just failed so hard! None of the characters were believable; all were flat caricatures. The Saintly Martyred Poor Girl who worships Spoiled Socialite Girl, then lives with New York Jew and Southern Belle. The fathers are Emasculated Pushover and Hippy Mellow. Younger guys are Hunky Morons or Good Guy Who You Don't Know Exists or Sex-crazed Asshole. Yuck. I hated everyone, and while that can sometimes be a brilliant ploy by a writer to make a social or political statement (Fitzgerald comes to mind), I think Blume wants readers to connect with AT LEAST Victoria, who narrates the majority of the book. The framework is another beef of mine. Throughout the book, Victoria's narrative is interrupted by brief third-person narrations of her friends and family. Nothing profound is revealed; it's actually insulting to be "told" by the characters things that were fairly obvious from context. It's also a cheat. If you can't develop your characters through the central narrative, then you failed; either give them some weight to earn their special voice, or just let them go. I really wanted to like this book, and it has a couple of moments. The first couple of summers really do have some honesty; they nail the sometimes awkward and sexually charged friendships of early adolescence. Summer Sisters has all the notes to make a beautiful symphony of a novel. But in the hands of an unskilled musician, it just ends up being a discordant echo of greatness.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    I read this book every summer, mostly because it does such a great job of capturing the essence of the season. (I actually prefer to read it when it's still a little cold outside so I can be transported to warmer weather, but for the past few years it's been so hard to find time to get it in!) Anyway, if you define a favorite book as one you want to read again and again, this is definitely one of my favorites. I guess I'm not really surprised--Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret had the same h I read this book every summer, mostly because it does such a great job of capturing the essence of the season. (I actually prefer to read it when it's still a little cold outside so I can be transported to warmer weather, but for the past few years it's been so hard to find time to get it in!) Anyway, if you define a favorite book as one you want to read again and again, this is definitely one of my favorites. I guess I'm not really surprised--Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret had the same hold over me when I was younger. I just love how fast-paced and frank Judy Blume's writing style is--it's so different from what you get with most chick lit. At times, it gets to be a little bit too much, but for the most part, I think it creates a more powerful story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I like that Vix and Caitlin were born the same years as me, it was easy to relate to that. I didn't come from a rich family nor a struggling blue-collar family. But I could understand the feeling of trying so hard but not quite fitting in. And looking at the 2 of them and their families, you see that nurture versus nature struggle. Vix, you didn't have the benefit of money becomes a responsible, caring adult. Though he sister gets pregnant at 17. Then we see Caitlin, who has every advantage but I like that Vix and Caitlin were born the same years as me, it was easy to relate to that. I didn't come from a rich family nor a struggling blue-collar family. But I could understand the feeling of trying so hard but not quite fitting in. And looking at the 2 of them and their families, you see that nurture versus nature struggle. Vix, you didn't have the benefit of money becomes a responsible, caring adult. Though he sister gets pregnant at 17. Then we see Caitlin, who has every advantage but is selfish and irresponsible while her brother becomes a successful scientist. But I still wonder how Vix could remain friends with Caitlin through the years. Perhaps she was used to not expecting anything in return. I hated the sad ending and feeling of things not being settled.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nola Redd

    One thing I really enjoy doing is rereading kids books. I checked out Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and zoomed through it in about two hours. I have reread many other classics and enjoyed them. I think my next big kids read will be the infamous Harriet the Spy which I loved and totally identified with as a child. One of the greatest regrets of my life (in terms of small scale regrets, anyway) is that I sold off my Sweet Valley High books. Now, granted, SVH isn't all that 'classic', but I so One thing I really enjoy doing is rereading kids books. I checked out Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and zoomed through it in about two hours. I have reread many other classics and enjoyed them. I think my next big kids read will be the infamous Harriet the Spy which I loved and totally identified with as a child. One of the greatest regrets of my life (in terms of small scale regrets, anyway) is that I sold off my Sweet Valley High books. Now, granted, SVH isn't all that 'classic', but I so loved the storyline and always identified with Elizabeth. I used to own every book up past a hundred, and all of the special editions (summer, winter, etc) they had out. It took me years to collect. Now I have about three of them at home. I have been checking used bookstores but apparently they aren't that popular anymore. And no wonder. I don't think Jessica, the 'wild' twin, ever got beyond some passionate kissing. Which is why I'd love to have them around for my daughter when she gets older. So if you want to just box up all you have and send them to me... But one of the biggest shocks I had in kids books came this weekend. While scouring paperbacks at the library, I came across a Judy Blume book for grownups, Summer Sisters. Now, Judy Blume was a crazy favorite of mine; I read pretty much everything she wrote. So of course I had to check out this novel. I had grown up; time to see if Judy did. One of the things I enjoyed as a kid was Blume's realism and frankness. Although Ramona Quimby (age 8) was cute and adorable, she wasn't exactly realistic. Although Matilda was brilliant and could read by age 2 and move things with her mind...well, let's just say I identified with her except for that whole reading by age 2 and moving things with her mind. But Blume's characters were real kids with real problems. The same is true of what I read in Summer Sisters I suppose. We have two girls experimenting with sex, naturally curious, and putting together one of those 'odd' relationships. However, in searching for realism, I felt Blume overdoes it. Sure, teenagers are sex crazed, but oh my goodness, I didn't know you could pack that much sex into so few pages. The novel was just too much for me, and so, although the storyline was interesting, I finally gave up and closed the pages for good when the girls started discussing their experiments with oral sex. The characters were realistic and credible, but I guess just too nitty gritty for me. I also had a problem with the seven or eight point-of-views tried throughout the book, while the majority was told in the first person. I seem to be hitting a lot of that lately, and it has been driving me nuts. If nothing else, it breaks the flow of the story. So I think I'm going to keep my mind uncluttered. I'll head back to one of my childhood favorites by Blume, Blubber and avoid the remainder of her adult novels. She's a great writer, but I guess I have another 10 or 20 years to go before I'm that grown up.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Huntie

    I loved this book when I read it because it reminded me so much of the weird relationship I had with my best friend growing up. We spent numerous summers together at her parents' cottage having the requisite summer flings with out of town boys who we would never see again (until the next summer), and this book made me very nostalgic for those times. What I liked was how Judy Blume told the story not only from a generic narrator's perspective, but also from the perspective of each character in the I loved this book when I read it because it reminded me so much of the weird relationship I had with my best friend growing up. We spent numerous summers together at her parents' cottage having the requisite summer flings with out of town boys who we would never see again (until the next summer), and this book made me very nostalgic for those times. What I liked was how Judy Blume told the story not only from a generic narrator's perspective, but also from the perspective of each character in the story. This made the book more interesting, and gave me ideas outside of my own for what each character was thinking in different situations. I also liked how Ms. Blume captured the friendship between Caitlin and Victoria- Victoria being the calm, straight-laced friend, Caitlin being the quintessential wild child- and the ups and downs and little "competitions" they would have (like who would get their period first or who would lose their virginity first). The ending surprised me quite a bit, and I have to say that at first I wasn't crazy about it because I don't like being left in limbo, but after thinking about it a bit I realized the story was wrapped up just fine. I would definitely recommend this book to my chicas, it's a fun read and it will definitely take you back to a much simpler time (sort of).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    Starting with the things I liked, I appreciated the book for it's nostalgic factor and being a quick, light read. It was seasonally appropriate and took me down memory lane in more ways than one...reminiscing about how complicated teenage female relationships can be and how people who know you in your formative years probably see you differently than anyone else in your life. However, overall I thought the book was uneven. The first half of the book reads like an erotic teen novel. I get that the Starting with the things I liked, I appreciated the book for it's nostalgic factor and being a quick, light read. It was seasonally appropriate and took me down memory lane in more ways than one...reminiscing about how complicated teenage female relationships can be and how people who know you in your formative years probably see you differently than anyone else in your life. However, overall I thought the book was uneven. The first half of the book reads like an erotic teen novel. I get that they are horny and experimenting, but their relationships are completely defined by sex. The heart-pounding and pulsating wore thin on me after like the sixth time. And she could have referred to "The Power" a little less, too--it was just uncomfortable (for me) after a while. Then, for the second half of the book when they get older, it becomes a character study of these two young adults. Caitlin is painted out to be such a horrible person, and Vix is weak and incommunicative. I didn't like either of them as grown ups and both of their behaviors frustrated me--why does Caitlin have to be so self-centered and why does Vix have to be so self-loathing?? i couldn't understand why they were still friends! (especially why vix even picked up the phone) I actually liked their relationship much better when they were younger...at least I understood it: popular girl wants someone intellectually stimulating who will adore her and hang out with her while not stealing attention away; while the less popular girl just wants to be noticed and likes her boundaries being pushed. It just felt like she took both girls' worst traits and amplified them as adults, causing neither to have a real character arc where we got to see them recognize their demons and change accordingly. I guess I missed that kind of payoff... As for Bru, he is the most irritating character in the second half of the novel. There is NOTHING in this book that makes him a desirable husband. He doesn't talk, he's super clingy, he doesn't have any real life goals. Sure, they have great sex--but that seems more like a summer fling than anything. How great can it really be your first time? The author offers nothing in way of a personality for him, and because I don't know him, I don't care that either of these women want him. In fact, I really DIDN'T want Vix to end up with him. I felt like I sided with Abby, wanting her to grow up and experience things. Perhaps I'm projecting after knowing what it's like to be in a long-term relationship with my high-school sweetheart and discovering that there are WAY better things out there. But, in my distaste for Bru, I altogether ignored the fact that she did touch on the question of great sex being enough to sustain a relationship. So I concede your point there that she did recognize why Vix and Bru could not have a future. My last problem with the book (which you actually liked) was the different perspectives. I felt like it was a cheap, easy way to add color to her novel...almost in the way a screenwriter would use a narrator or voiceover if they weren't smart enough to play out the action. It's probably just a personal peeve, but I wish she hadn't skipped around to the other people's viewpoints. I don't think it added anything to the story and, if anything, it telegraphed the fact that Gus and Vix were going to end up together. Personally, I felt this was a soapy yet underdeveloped novel. I'll stick to my happy memories of Judy Blume's teenage books!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mmars

    Not a book you read. A book you devour. Unsurprisingly, there are few reviews by men here. But I think any male writing writing female characters (in this case female friendships) could benefit from reading Blume. And, yes. This is a great hot summer read, best read on a dock.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Smith

    Like so many of the other reviewers, I was a huge Judy Blume fan growing up. I really responded to her honest portrayals of teenaged girls and boys, and of the complex relationships they have with each other, their friends, and their parents. So I picked up 'Summer Sisters' with a mixture of trepidation (I didn't want to 'ruin' my love affair with Ms. Blume and all my memories of her past books) and excitement (what if she had managed to pull it off, and had written a book for all her 'grown-up' Like so many of the other reviewers, I was a huge Judy Blume fan growing up. I really responded to her honest portrayals of teenaged girls and boys, and of the complex relationships they have with each other, their friends, and their parents. So I picked up 'Summer Sisters' with a mixture of trepidation (I didn't want to 'ruin' my love affair with Ms. Blume and all my memories of her past books) and excitement (what if she had managed to pull it off, and had written a book for all her 'grown-up' fans?). Well, as you can see from my 2-star rating, my opinion is lukewarm at best. I think that truthfully, if it were NOT Ms. Blume who had written this book, I'd score it a bit higher. But the sad fact is that I had expectations and they were not met. Unlike some other reviewers, I was not bothered by the oral sex conversations (I mean, this IS how young women who are experimenting talk to each other, so points for realism there), or the sex. Taking control over our own bodies is part of empowering ourselves as women, and part of that control is claiming ownership over our sex lives and needs. What I didn't like was the shallowness of the characters - I really felt cheated that the reader never really gets inside their heads and figures them out. I'm all for some mystery in a book, but if we are being asked to care about the breakdown of a friendship, I'd damn well better believe that the two people truly connected and were friends. And I just never bought it, to be honest. So I wasn't very interested when things fell apart as they did. And since the whole idea is that we are meant to care about these two women and mourn the betrayal and the loss of their 'sisterhood', the whole premise felt, to me, weak and flimsy. Overall, very disappointing...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany PSquared

    "Caitlin Somers chose me as her summer sister because I was smart but quiet. She knew I wouldn't ask a million questions and get in the way." Vix is surprised when beautiful and popular Caitlin Somers asks her to spend the summer with her and her family at Martha's Vineyard the year they were both in 6th grade. How could she refuse? What follows is a sweeping narrative of the bond these "summer sisters" share throughout years of adventures, side by side and separated, both good and bad that wil "Caitlin Somers chose me as her summer sister because I was smart but quiet. She knew I wouldn't ask a million questions and get in the way." Vix is surprised when beautiful and popular Caitlin Somers asks her to spend the summer with her and her family at Martha's Vineyard the year they were both in 6th grade. How could she refuse? What follows is a sweeping narrative of the bond these "summer sisters" share throughout years of adventures, side by side and separated, both good and bad that will link them together for a lifetime. You can't ask for a more perfect summer read than this. Judy Blume, who introduced me to the Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Freckle Juice, now graces us with this addictive coming-of-age story told from multiple POVs that swept me in and held me until the very last page. It has everything you want in a summer book: adventure, conflict, sexual tension, humor, heartache, celebration. My emotions were all over the place! Plus, it has that certain quality that reminds you of your childhood - your own personal evolution - and that is comforting and feels like home. A lot of ground is covered in this book (1977-1996), so some of the transitions are a bit abrupt; however; the story is so absorbing that Blume can be forgiven for that. Four sunlit stars for this timeless tale of seasoned friendship. ☀☀☀☀

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    All the presumably well-intentioned messages and general nostalgic goodwill notwithstanding, the fact remains that Judy Blume is the Larry Clark of young adult fiction, and her trashy "adult" novels belie this. Without the hassle of having to walk twelve-year-olds through puberty, Blume is free to make a beeline for the sweaty, grunting raunch. I have little to no problem with this. It's kind of a steaming clod, but you could easily read it on the beach while inadequately supervising your sister All the presumably well-intentioned messages and general nostalgic goodwill notwithstanding, the fact remains that Judy Blume is the Larry Clark of young adult fiction, and her trashy "adult" novels belie this. Without the hassle of having to walk twelve-year-olds through puberty, Blume is free to make a beeline for the sweaty, grunting raunch. I have little to no problem with this. It's kind of a steaming clod, but you could easily read it on the beach while inadequately supervising your sister's kids. I think it's high time for Beverly Cleary to deliver her gentler, more innocent and carefree version of hot girl-on-girl action. Let's see..."Ramona Quimby, Age 8" came out in about 1981...so she'd be, what, around 34 now? You can't tell me "Ramona and Her Sex-Starved Lesbian Roommate" wouldn't sell. These are the kinds of thoughts "Summer Sisters" inspires. Proceed with caution.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenny - Book Sojourner

    For a 400 page book exploring the relationship between "summer sisters" and the relationships around them, this book was incredibly shallow. Despite the years of information we're given on these girls, watching them grow up since the age of 12, I never really felt that we are able to truly "know" them. We are told so much, but shown so little, especially in regards to Caitlin. The lack of knowing their minds kept me from really caring about them on a deeper level. These characters are such shall For a 400 page book exploring the relationship between "summer sisters" and the relationships around them, this book was incredibly shallow. Despite the years of information we're given on these girls, watching them grow up since the age of 12, I never really felt that we are able to truly "know" them. We are told so much, but shown so little, especially in regards to Caitlin. The lack of knowing their minds kept me from really caring about them on a deeper level. These characters are such shallow creations, and they never quite matured. Even by the end of the book, where real introspection could occur, it was barely touched on. The characters felt like caricatures. The shy girl and the outgoing girl. Four of the worst, most out-of-touch, unrepentant parents. Siblings who are one-dimensional. "Island boys" who are complete clichés. Romantic relationships that only demonstrate sex lives but no depths whatsoever. Then there's the story structures, which initially was interesting, going through the summers of friendship between Caittlin and Vix. But then we get all these randomly thrown in perspectives from the myriad of side characters, and for me they took away from the story. I felt like the writing was almost lazy using these perspectives to gain our understanding of the girls and their story instead of just writing the story better. And they broke up the flow. Then, we finally get to the end, when the middle felt excessively long, and the parts I really wanted to know about were glossed over. Really? One of the appeals of a good book for me is character growth. This book had practically none. A miniscule amount. And when we finally get the opportunity to see some growth, some maturity, it's over. This book was disappointing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bren

    “Not everything has to have a point. Some things just are. ” ― Judy Blume, Summer Sisters No one does summer quite like Judy Blume. Summer sisters remains a favorite of mine many years after I read it. I love the tale of Victoria and Kaitlyn and their friendship as well as their growing into adulthood. It’s by far one of the best books Blume has ever written and one of the few adult books she has written. One thing I found that surprised me is I found Victoria very difficult to like at least in gir “Not everything has to have a point. Some things just are. ” ― Judy Blume, Summer Sisters No one does summer quite like Judy Blume. Summer sisters remains a favorite of mine many years after I read it. I love the tale of Victoria and Kaitlyn and their friendship as well as their growing into adulthood. It’s by far one of the best books Blume has ever written and one of the few adult books she has written. One thing I found that surprised me is I found Victoria very difficult to like at least in girlhood. As she grew up, my feelings changed in that regard. As much as I loved the story, I loved the atmosphere equally as much. This book is riddled with references to summer and the writing is exquisite. That is not to say the book does not have its share of tragedy and heartbreak..it does. There is alot of it too. SPOILERS: But Summer Sisters is such a beautiful read and it’s one of those books that I never get tired of taking out every few years to and it always feels fresh . I’ve loved both Blume's children’s books and her adult books, although I will wonder forever what really happened to Kaitlyn. As long as her books keep coming out I’ll keep buying them.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Keegan

    I loved Judy Blume as a kid. I had no idea that she wrote books for adults until my last library visit. When I happened about this book, I was anxious to enjoy some more of the author I had loved as a little girl. However, her books for adults leave a lot to be desired. This book was basically about a lot of really selfish people having a lot of really random sex and ruining a lot of people's lives. I wasn't a fan.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sue Orvis

    HORRIBLE!!! This is the first book that I actually returned to the library without finishing it. I think I made it to chapter 7 or so and just couldn't take it anymore. BORING... Enough about pre-adolescent girls feeling each other up. Stick to kids books Judy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Antof9

    Read this on the plane from Denver to Seattle. It was a little odd, in that I haven't ever read any of her stuff for grownups. I was a HUGE fan of Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret -- so much that I recently bought another copy :) Anyway, this book was ok. Not exactly a romance novel, but definitely fits into that category, I think. The "summer sisters" are Vix and Caitlin, who are best friends and "sisters" every summer on The Vineyard, but not during the school year. Caitlin's family has th Read this on the plane from Denver to Seattle. It was a little odd, in that I haven't ever read any of her stuff for grownups. I was a HUGE fan of Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret -- so much that I recently bought another copy :) Anyway, this book was ok. Not exactly a romance novel, but definitely fits into that category, I think. The "summer sisters" are Vix and Caitlin, who are best friends and "sisters" every summer on The Vineyard, but not during the school year. Caitlin's family has the money, and Vix's family does not. Their friendship starts around age 12/13, and the book ends some 15-18 years later. The parents of both girls have all kinds of problems -- Caitlin's mom (Phoebe) is a gorgeous rich woman, jet-setting around the world and sleeping with young men. Vix's dad is emasculated when he loses his job, an ineffective father who loves his daughter, but is unable to ever express his feelings. There are other problems, but I'll let the reader find them when reading! Some of the things I enjoyed were the way Vix and Caitlin saw the world in the beginning. The way they talked about boys, calling a gorgeous boy "The National Treasure", is exactly the way my friends and I talked when we were that age. I found these parts totally enjoyable. Vix's home life was heartbreaking. She is taught to stuff her feelings and when they come out, they can't stop. Her eyes leak from New Mexico all the way to New York. There were so many parts of this book that I enjoyed, but there were also a lot of parts that made me really sad. It's one of those books where "the human condition" is portrayed in a pretty hopeless manner, and isn't exactly uplifting. At the end of the book do you feel better, or worse for having read it? hmmmmmm. . . not better.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer)

    I loved this book! It was written so beautifully. I was in awe of this story of two girls and their friendship over the years. The story was bittersweet and sad, it had a profound effect on me. I highly recommend it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I read this book every year to kick off my summer and I love it each time. This book never gets old.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ally

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Whenever I pick a book I tend to read the reviews on here first. And then when I finish said book I come back to see if I agree or disagree with the majority afterwards. My gut instinct was 4 stars - and I can truly understand why some people didn't love this book, I actually quite agree with half of the criticism. The cookie cutter characters, the underdevelopment of them, but I'll be damned if I wasn't invested at the end and choked up with how these people’s lives all turned out. It did take me Whenever I pick a book I tend to read the reviews on here first. And then when I finish said book I come back to see if I agree or disagree with the majority afterwards. My gut instinct was 4 stars - and I can truly understand why some people didn't love this book, I actually quite agree with half of the criticism. The cookie cutter characters, the underdevelopment of them, but I'll be damned if I wasn't invested at the end and choked up with how these people’s lives all turned out. It did take me quite a while to get into the story. Like every adult who has read this story, I too read Judy Blume as a kid. Are You There God? made me feel connected to a story in ways I never had before. Maybe that’s why I can give leeway with all of the awkward sexual experiences of the characters. Maybe not everyone experienced those things at that young of an age, but if you've had sex at all, I know there have been some weird stories you could probably tell from it. It's not the ridiculous fantasy of it all, a la 50 Shades. The majority of the book is told from when they were young girls though, which did make it feel slightly young adult to me. Ah Vix and Caitlin. They were an interesting duo to follow. I can and cannot understand why Vix would want to be her friend. At first, I get it. Popularity is paramount when you are in your school years. So if some vivacious, stunning, popular girl invites you to do something glamorous and out of your norm, why wouldn't you accept? What I don't understand is how it endured for so long. Clearly Caitlin was an awful human being at her core. She was bratty, competitive, unappreciative, and unsettled with herself from the beginning. Vix eventually found other friends who viewed Vix as the glamorous one - but they also maintained a mutual respect for one another. Caitlin never did. At some point, you would think Vix would have had enough. It was sad how her other friends urged her to let Caitlin go, but she never could. She could abandon her sick father, poor sister, dead brother - but never this one girl. Amazing really. The ending, while sad to see happen, didn't really surprise me. A girl that is never satiated has nowhere to go, nothing to do. Caitlin fulfilled every fantasy and lived out every flighty decision she wanted - yet still never found happiness. So she tried to live the one life she could never let go of either - Vix's. We all knew that was going to fail too, huh? There was no way this would ever work with Bru. Desire and lust are not the only things you need to feel for someone to endure a marriage. Even if the ending doesn't spell out death to you, I think it signifies the complete and utter end of her. Maybe she did commit suicide, as it alludes to. Maybe she was just 100% done with any contact, any information about her old life and so she started anew. Either way, it was a sad way to see it all end. It's always a little heartbreaking to start a story with children and all their hopes and dreams - just to see it end so miserably.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Meh. The first half the book starts out promising enough. 12 year old Caitlin Somers, a wealthy child of divorce, invites Victoria Leonard, a middle class girl, to spend the summer with her on Martha's Vineyard. Victoria (Vix)'s parents reluctantly agree to the trip, which begins a relationship that spans decades. The story might have been more intriguing if each and every character had not been a stereotype. By the middle of the book, I could almost predict the actions of the characters. Caitli Meh. The first half the book starts out promising enough. 12 year old Caitlin Somers, a wealthy child of divorce, invites Victoria Leonard, a middle class girl, to spend the summer with her on Martha's Vineyard. Victoria (Vix)'s parents reluctantly agree to the trip, which begins a relationship that spans decades. The story might have been more intriguing if each and every character had not been a stereotype. By the middle of the book, I could almost predict the actions of the characters. Caitlin's divorced mother is, of course, distant and aloof and abdicates most maternal responsibility. Caitlin, therefore, grows up without sufficient guidance and grounding. Caitlin's father, Lamb, marries Abby, another divorcee with her own son. Of course, the kids are resentful and bitter and spoiled. (Because every wealthy "trust fund" child is, right?) Bru and Von are brought into the picture as potential love interests for Vix and Caitlin. The prologue pretty much gives away the storyline regarding this foursome. Interspersed throughout the book are brief passages written supposedly from different points of views of some of the lesser characters such as Lamb, Abby, Vix's mother and Caitlin's mother. While somewhat interesting, these points of view add nothing to the depth of the plot, which is predictable and boring. Blah, blah, blah, Caitlin spends her college money jet-setting around the world while Vix toils tirelessly in college, finally realizing that she doesn't want a relationship with a blue collar guy like Bru, who can't discuss books with her. (Yawn...) Caitlin beds every guy she can (and some girls) and eventually settles down and has a child, which she, in keeping with her character, abandons to the child's father, Bru. Oh, Caitlin finally does end up marrying Bru, much to the dismay of Vix. The reasoning behind this sudden romantic attraction is never explained. I had a difficult time getting past the stereotypes in this book. Vix's roommate, Maia, is a New Jersey Jew who worries about everything. Tawny, Vix's mother, is a hardened, "stiff upper lip" woman who didn't marry for love and has now found herself trapped in a life she never wanted. Vix's sister, Lanie, ends up getting pregnant at 17 and has two kids by a slacker who smokes pot and now lives in a trailer park. (Ho, hum - I'm just picturing the guy wearing a wife beater and guzzling Budweiser) Almost every single character in the book is miserable due to their life circumstances. Boo, hoo, I'm rich and beautiful but don't like myself. Waaah, I struggle to make ends meet and hate everyone who has it better than I do. I'm blue collar, drink beer, don't read, but of course, I'm good-hearted. I couldn't find much of anything redeeming or remotely interesting about any of them. I read on, hoping that by the end, the characters would do something out of character. I won't give away the end, but it seemed that the author just kind of gave up on Caitlin's character. She could have done something besides indulge herself, search for the meaning of life in a bottle or in a bed, but she didn't. She remained the spoiled little girl until the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this for a book club otherwise I wouldn't have finished it. This book left me feeling dirty (and not "good" dirty). I could not relate to the characters - how can you keep a friend who lies and backstabs and treats you like that? I was disgusted by the relationships portrayed (12-year old girls experimenting with each other, a 15-year old girl and a 35-year old man, a 4-year old both crawling into a bathtub with a 20 year old womand and a brother wanting his sister and her friend in the b I read this for a book club otherwise I wouldn't have finished it. This book left me feeling dirty (and not "good" dirty). I could not relate to the characters - how can you keep a friend who lies and backstabs and treats you like that? I was disgusted by the relationships portrayed (12-year old girls experimenting with each other, a 15-year old girl and a 35-year old man, a 4-year old both crawling into a bathtub with a 20 year old womand and a brother wanting his sister and her friend in the back of his truck). Are there situations like that in real life? I'm sure, but I don't feel that is anything I need to read about. I read lots of romance novel so I don't have a problem with risque story lines but his book left me very uncomfortable. Tacky, amateurish and awful.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Short

    Honestly, I didn't read more than the first few chapters, but BE WARNED. This is not the Judy Blume of my youth. Forget "Fudge" and "Freckle Juice". This novel is dirty, inappropriate and an attempt for her to address adult issues in the lives of young girls. I was disappointed and I am not longer a fan of Judy Blume.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    How did it make it to nearly 30 without this treasure in my life? Perfect solo beach day read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Selwa

    I have a horrible habit of reading one-star reviews before I've read a book in full (sometimes I read them before I start a book). I can't help myself ... they're so informative, and usually very funny! And patience has never been my strong suit (in certain ways, anyway). I mention this only because I wonder if I'd have liked Summer Sisters more if I hadn't gone ahead and read those reviews! Here's the thing, though ... even if I hadn't done that, I don't think I'd have enjoyed it much more. Thi I have a horrible habit of reading one-star reviews before I've read a book in full (sometimes I read them before I start a book). I can't help myself ... they're so informative, and usually very funny! And patience has never been my strong suit (in certain ways, anyway). I mention this only because I wonder if I'd have liked Summer Sisters more if I hadn't gone ahead and read those reviews! Here's the thing, though ... even if I hadn't done that, I don't think I'd have enjoyed it much more. This book is just weird, man. I know Judy Blume is mostly known as a writer of children's books, and that's fine. I'm sure I read some of her works in my younger years (Roald Dahl was more my jam, though, and later Christopher Pike, before transitioning to books for adults). But this is (supposedly) a book for adults. It follows two females from the ages of 12 to their mid-20s (with an epilogue that jumps to about age 30). Again, that's fine, but they say things like "the Power" when referring to female arousal and "the Package" when talking about male genitalia. Even into adulthood. Multiple times men are described as "following [his] pointer". What? The sheer number of sexual references made this an adult book, but the words used to make those references was so YA! And there was a LOT of sexy-type stuff ... I mean, one couple is mostly together for the red-hot sex, apparently. Or maybe all of the couples? I don't know, this book is HELLA shallow. That reminds me of my other issue with this book: everyone sucked. HARD. Victoria (aka Vix, but why?) is an ice queen from a stoic family. Her mom is a bitch and her dad is incapable of showing his kids he loves them. Look, Arab men can be mad stoic, but there no question my dad loves me and my siblings, or that my brother loves his kids! But this dude loves everyone in his head but hardly does a damn thing to show it. Caitlin is super shallow BUT GORGEOUS AND EVERYONE LOVES HER. I still don't get why she and Vix becomes besties. Apparently they're SO close, Caitlin can straight lie and manipulate and Vix is still on board. Look, I've had shitty friends. Had. Past tense. No way anyone sticks around for the long haul in this scenario. Or maybe I'm taking this too seriously lol ... after all it's just YA fiction!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Polly

    Another great book from Judy Blume, the Summer Sisters discusses the issue of two girl’s life. Caitlin and Victoria (Vix) who spends almost every summer together developed a strong relationship. Even though they are very close to each other, when I read more of the book I realize the deep secrets they have in their heart. Also they seem to have an opposite life. Vix live in a poorer family than Caitlin needs to earn her money to college and future. Caitlin lived in a rich family with supportive Another great book from Judy Blume, the Summer Sisters discusses the issue of two girl’s life. Caitlin and Victoria (Vix) who spends almost every summer together developed a strong relationship. Even though they are very close to each other, when I read more of the book I realize the deep secrets they have in their heart. Also they seem to have an opposite life. Vix live in a poorer family than Caitlin needs to earn her money to college and future. Caitlin lived in a rich family with supportive father and step mother but she is always held back by her royalty to her real mother. They each wanted to be each other instead of themselves. Vix wants to have parents and richness like Caitlin while Caitlin is jealous and wants to have the organize life like Vix. It was a complicated relationship between their friendships which once seem pure but turned messy. Judy Blume explains emotion really real and the book turned out to develop the feeling of jealousy, happiness and all kind of real feeling you get from families and friends. All her books seem so realistic in this world and touching too.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julie Paugh

    This was really an awful attempt at storytelling. If it hadn't been such a breezy read, I probably would have abandoned it. As a kid, I enjoyed her books but her skill set as a writer did not seem to evolve as she ventured into adult fiction. I kept waiting for a story to emerge but none did. This book was dull beyond description, the characters were flat, one-dimensional. Blume wrote in a point-of-view that was constantly flitting from one unimportant character to the next. I mean really, who c This was really an awful attempt at storytelling. If it hadn't been such a breezy read, I probably would have abandoned it. As a kid, I enjoyed her books but her skill set as a writer did not seem to evolve as she ventured into adult fiction. I kept waiting for a story to emerge but none did. This book was dull beyond description, the characters were flat, one-dimensional. Blume wrote in a point-of-view that was constantly flitting from one unimportant character to the next. I mean really, who cares what Trisha thinks? Or the countess? These characters are barely part of the story as it is. The only point of view we never read is Caitlin's and in doing this Blume made her just slightly interesting because her motives were mysterious, her flaws were deep and complexities were revealed very late in the book. The last twenty or thirty pages were the only interesting part of this story but not interesting enough to compensate for the rest it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Reannon Peterson

    My boyfriend's sister gave me this book to read when we visited her in Eugene, OR. I read the whole thing on the plane between Portland and Norfolk. So, it's a fast read! I also had a friend when I was a girl who was like a sister to me, and although we didn't spent as much time exploring our "Power" as the girls in this book, there was a lot I could relate to. It's not life-changing writing, but it's an interesting story with unique, funny characters.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    What a brilliant novel. Like some others have said, I loved Judy Blume's books as a kid so was interested to find this novel for adults. I was pleasantly surprised and blown away at the detail of this book. This was the best book I had read - possibly still remains my favourite book of all. I highly recommend it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I'm unsure when I first read this book, but probably right after it was published. I have read it more than once, because I've always been a huge Judy Blume fan and will read whatever she writes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christina Zanakos

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have read this book over and over again, and every time it gets better. Every girl knows what it's like to have a completely honest to god best friend, one that you feel is your sister. Blume captures this relationship in a beautiful novel about two girls who grow up together, experience sex, heartbreak, love, pregnancy, abortion, and death together throughout their lives. The girls are complete opposites. Caitlin knows she is gorgeous and gets whatever she wants, and Vix is a reserved, shy, l I have read this book over and over again, and every time it gets better. Every girl knows what it's like to have a completely honest to god best friend, one that you feel is your sister. Blume captures this relationship in a beautiful novel about two girls who grow up together, experience sex, heartbreak, love, pregnancy, abortion, and death together throughout their lives. The girls are complete opposites. Caitlin knows she is gorgeous and gets whatever she wants, and Vix is a reserved, shy, loyal follower of Caitlin. The story begins with a phone call to Vix, Caitlin telling her that she is marrying Vix's first love, Bru. Vix flashes back to their summers together and in depth retells every memory. The ending of the story is very sad, yet leaves you wondering how selfish Caitlin really is, or if she really did die? It's an amazing story and I will continue to read it over and over again.

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