Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: The Summer of Skinny Dipping

Because it's not Monday, I can't title this Mystery Review Monday, but I have such mixed feelings about this book that I had to write a review, even at 2:52 in the morning.

"While spending summer vacation with her family at her cousins’ fancy beach house in the Hamptons, Mia, 16, wants to join the popular crowd. Instead, she feels like the “frumpy relative”; in fact, even her own mother is a class snob who thinks Mia isn’t slim enough to be part of the “in” set. Then she bonds with gorgeous Simon, the boy next door, and they meet secretly at night on the beach, drink vodka, and skinny-dip in the wild ocean waves. The details about what the kids wear and their conversations about what is trendy overpower the story, especially because much of the fashion will date. But many teens will appreciate this first novel for how the dialogue not only captures the dynamics of Mia’s standoffs with her peers but also reveals her surprising discoveries about adults. Mia’s first-person narrative is right on about wanting to be “cool” (“I couldn’t help wishing I was more like them”) even as she despises much of what  'they' stand for."
-Book List

  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Release date: June 1, 2010
  • Page count: 295
  • Unique elements - PLOT TWIST! A major one. Not expected, not even from reading the blurb.
Favorite quotes:

"A twinge pinched at my heart because even in moments like that, there's a part of you that's already sad-- a part of you that knows the moment is already on its way to being gone, because nothing truly perfect can last."

"The surest way to hurt yourself is to give up on love, just because it didn’t
work out the first time."

"'I’m a realist,” I replied stubbornly, 'not a romantic. Romantics are always disappointed.'
'Maybe they’re disappointed because they’re always surrounded by realists.' Simon countered."

I don't like the cover. It's a skinny girl (showing a body from shoulders down) running on the sand. Mia struggles with having a bigger body in the book. It's like someone heard the word beach and picked out a random picture to put with the book. Of course they didn't have time to read it first or consult with the author.

This was worth the read because it made me emotional. I couldn't put it down.

But that only happened after about 50-60 pages. This was the most disappointing thing for me about the whole book. I kept telling myself, "Just a little more, this has to get better!" I'm glad I stuck it out.

The other thing about the beginning that I noticed was a lot of repetition, as far as repeated words or descriptions (eye color and ocean was often described with the word gray in front of it - gray-blue or gray-green, three mentions of things being compared to a ship wreck). In regards to her ex-boyfriend, she went over and over the same thoughts like she didn't fully understand them the first time. The past tense narration became confusing at times because of all the hads popping up everywhere, some in places that didn't make sense.

However, the romance in this book is amazing! I felt tingles at some of the couple's special moments together. Good romantic suspense details. I wish I had a summer romance like that during my 16th year of life!

The dialogue between Mia and Simon is perfect. I love that he quotes books like The Great Gatsby. I also like that Mia is interested in science. There's a refreshing female character! I learned a lot about black holes and phosphorence in the ocean, courtesy of Mia.

As someone who has not been to the Hamptons, I loved the descriptions of the islands and longed to be at the same beaches as the characters.

I can't ruin the ending for you. If you have time on a beach or by a pool, this goes really fast after you get into it-- especially after she meets Simon, who doesn't care what anyone else thinks.

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