The Summer of Skinny Dipping

First Lines: There are summers you’ll always remember and summers you’ve forgotten even before they’re through.  It’s never an in-between season.  Whole months can slip by, and you don’t know what you did or where you were.

Usually, when summer comes around, I forget that I have books about summer that I should actually read during the summer.  Because if I don’t, then I’ll end up waiting another year to read it when summer comes back.  This is one of those books.  On my to-read list since 2010.  You’re welcome, book.  I’ve finally read you (and in the summer!).

Summer used to be a great time for Mia, as she visited her cousin in the Hamptons.  But she hasn’t seen them in 3 years…until this year.  And it isn’t the summer Mia expected.  There’s a pale boy who seems to glow against the dark waves.  There are secrets and pressures Mia’s never had to deal with.  One thing is for sure: this will be a summer Mia will never forget.

Sorry if I’m a little vague up there.  I knew next to nothing about this book before I started it, and I think that helped make it more interesting.  (That doesn’t work for all books, but it was cool here.)

I was incredibly surprised by this book.  It was so many things at once.  It wasn’t entirely a love story, nor was it entirely a problem novel.  It was just…life.  It was heavy and light all at the same time.  It was a story of love and growing up.  And I liked that.

I’m also not kidding when I say it’s a heavy read.  This isn’t your typical beach fluff.  It deals with real issues too.  Perhaps the most surprising and underutilized in YA lit was the issue of social class.  It was huge here.  It was a current that ran underneath nearly everything that happened in the story.  Who has money and who doesn’t meant the world to the characters.  I liked that it incorporated this because I don’t think it’s a topic that gets much coverage in books.  Outside of fairytales and historical fictions, at least.

And it was even more serious than that, but I can’t go into details without spoiling things.  Just take my word on this.

One issue that I had with the book was that even after I finished, I can’t really tell you who Mia is as a character.  She never really forms her own opinions about herself and relies on everyone around her to tell her who she is.  So she has a warped perspective of herself because everyone sees her differently.  I suppose that’s partly the point of the story, but it just drove me crazy because I could never quite pin down what she liked, what she disliked, and what she’d do next.

Overall, I was impressed with this story.  I was surprised by its serious nature as well as its fun moments.  Some parts of it were predictable or didn’t work as well as the author had wanted, but still a good summer read.

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