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The Summer of Skinny Dipping
Cover of The Summer of Skinny Dipping
The Summer of Skinny Dipping
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There Are Some Summers You'll Always Remember Sometimes I wake up shivering in the early hours of the morning, drowning in dreams of being out there in the ocean that summer, of looking up at the moon...
There Are Some Summers You'll Always Remember Sometimes I wake up shivering in the early hours of the morning, drowning in dreams of being out there in the ocean that summer, of looking up at the moon...
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  • There Are Some Summers You'll Always Remember

    Sometimes I wake up shivering in the early hours of the morning, drowning in dreams of being out there in the ocean that summer, of looking up at the moon and feeling as invisible and free as a fish. But I'm jumping ahead, and to tell the story right I have to go back to the beginning. To a place called Indigo Beach. To a boy with pale skin that glowed against the dark waves. To the start of something neither of us could have predicted, and which would mark us forever, making everything that came after and before seem like it belonged to another life.

    My name is Mia Gordon: I was sixteen years old, and I remember everything.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    From Chapter 1:

    "This is terrible," Mom moaned, fussing with her hair as we inched down the Long Island Expressway, a line of cars as far as the eye could see. "When will we start moving?" she asked Dad. "Or will we have to spend the summer in the car?"

    "Do I look psychic?" Dad replied in a rare moment of irritability. "This is your home turf, not mine, Maxine."

    We were all irritable. The heavy New York heat rolled over us like a carpet, so humid it constricted lungs and seemed to lick armpits. We'd been driving for days, and ever since the car's AC gave out somewhere near Pennsylvania, everyone had been losing it.

    Dad had said that driving to New York would be an "adventure" and that we'd "need an extra car" at my cousins' house. But we all knew it was more about keeping costs down. Four airline tickets were nothing to sniff at for Dad, especially since his hardware business was struggling and his retirement savings had tanked in three months-along with everyone else's since the economy took a nosedive.

    "This sucks," my sister, Eva, whined. She blew a giant Hubba Bubba bubble that exploded, leaving bits of stickiness across the back of my mother's headrest.
    "Eva Marie, stop that!" Mom said. "And watch your mouth, sweetheart. It's not pretty to speak that way, and you need to behave well in front of your cousins, please."

    This was about the angriest my mother ever got with Eva, the family brat and apple of Mom's eye. Eva was nine, and she had the biggest, bluest eyes imaginable-so big and so blue they could take her "all the way to Hollywood," or so my mother never stopped telling her. Eva had been named after Eva Marie Saint, the actress from that old movie On the Waterfront.

    I'm also named for an actress: I'm named after Mia Farrow, but unlike Eva, I look nothing like my whisper-thin, blond name­sake. Luckily for Mom, she got what she had always wanted with her second kid: a beautiful replica of herself, who could live out the fantasy Mom had always dreamed of but never followed: to be a star. The last thing I would ever want to be.

    "Mia, do you want me to put the radio on?" Dad asked. I caught Dad's eye in the rearview mirror and smiled because Dad was always tuned in to me. So on the favoritism front, you could say things even out.

    "Not that station," I said quickly as the radio static turned to something recognizable. "I hate that song." "Forever" was actually one of my favorites. Until six weeks ago, when my boyfriend, Jake, had dumped me.

     

    "I didn't plan this," Jake said.

    We were standing outside school. I was trying not to look at Jake because I knew if I looked at him, I would cry. I stared at his shoes instead.

    "It's just getting to be too serious too fast between us. I need space."

    "So that's why you're hooking up with Gabi? To get space?" I spat back. "How does that work?" I lifted my gaze and stared him down, picturing Gabi Santiago draping her leggy body all over my boyfriend. "Correction," I snapped. "There is a lot of space when it comes to Gabi. Between her ears."

    "You're going away for the summer. Gabi is here." Jake looked embarrassed.

    "It's just timing." He shifted awkwardly, rolling a skateboard back and forth under his foot like he couldn't wait to roll on out of there and away from me. "Mia, I'm sorry. I don't know what else to say."

    But I thought I loved you! Even thinking the word "love" made me feel sick. This...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 21, 2010
    This sweet though sometimes rambling story about family, love, and loss is narrated by 16-year-old Mia, who is spending the summer with her family at her relatives' beach house in the Hamptons, where everyone "looked so happy, so glowing and perfect." Though she and her cousin Corinne had once been close, Corinne is now more interested in drinking, drugs, and socializing with the popular crowd. Self-conscious about her comparatively voluptuous body and displaced among her cousins and their wealthy friends, Mia struggles to keep up while staying true to herself. At a summer bash, Mia meets Simon, whose family is renting a nearby mansion. Like Mia, Simon doesn't fit in; Corinne warns he is just "LC. Lower class." At first they meet in secret, taking long walks on the beach, during which Simon encourages Mia join him for late-night skinny dipping. As she and Simon grow closer, Mia emerges from her shell. And when tragedy strikes, she is changed forever. First-time novelist Howells's teen and adult characters are well-developed, and Mia's growth and new perspective on her own good fortune are satisfying. Ages 14–up.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2010
    Gr 9 Up-"I was being strong. Even though I felt weak." Grounded, logical Mia is trying to cope with a summer that hasn't been what she expected. Her vacation in New York's tony Hamptons with her extended family was supposed to be about spending time with her firecracker cousin Corinne and her sympathetic aunt as relief from her mother's criticism and her parents' fights about money and status. But quickly the bubble bursts: her aunt is tense and preoccupied while jaded Corinne is more interested in drinking and her cool friends. Adrift, Mia can't help wanting to be part of Corinne's circle, even though she doesn't like these girls. Struggling to remain true to herself, she strikes up a friendship with Simon, the boy next door. Through late-night walks on the beach, the teens become more than friends. A skinny dip after a storm brutally ends Mia's summerbut not the growth she's achieved. Tailor-made for Sarah Dessen's fans, this novel mingles family drama and teen relationships. Over the course of the summer, Mia comes of age as she questions who she is and what she wants from the people in her life. Amid a cast of well-developed characters, her stumbles and achievements keep readers rooting for her. With a lyrical yet straightforward voice and a layered plot, this novel will live on for more than a summer."Melissa Rabey, Frederick County Public Libraries, Frederick, MD"

    Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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