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Friday, September 23, 2011

My Thoughts: The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

Sometimes I still 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 very 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.

I had heard nothing of The Summer of Skinny Dipping By Amanda Howells before this summer, even though the book had been out since June of last year. I have seen it featured on a few blogs this summer and I was curious to see why so many people were saying this was a must read.  I have to admit that when I started reading this book, I was initially comparing it to Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty. It had a similar feel for me. A summer house located on the beach, friends, family, summer love. It screamed Pretty. But as I continued to read, I began to discover the differences. Where both The Summer of Skinny Dipping and The Summer I Turned Pretty took place at the beach and involved a girl with big expectations for the summer, that is where the similarities ended. The Summer I Turned Pretty is a pretty blatantly obvious love story, The Summer of Skinny Dipping, is more subtle in the romance area. The Story is way less feel good than Pretty.

Mia, the protagonist, is a 16 year old girl who goes to The Hamptons for the summer to visit her cousin. However when she gets there, she discovers that her cousin has changed and that her aunt and uncle are going through some things. So, her ideal summer may turn out to be not so ideal. However, Mia soon meets Simon and well, yeah.

I didn't enjoy this book as much as other's did. I thought it was an ok read. What didn't really work for me was the fact that it was trying to deal with serious issues (drug and alcohol use, infidelity and such), but at the same time it was also attempting to be a light coming of age summer read. I find that those are two very different tones, and the switching back and forth made it difficult for me to relate to the novel. If Howell would have stuck with a more serious coming of age tone, the novel would have been more enjoyable. 

I am not going to spoil, but I do need to say that the end of this novel was far to dramatic and completely unnecessary for me. I thought it was so gimmicky, and I couldn't see the point. I don't like when an author adds something for dramatic effect, and the end of this book was exactly that. Or maybe the way that it was done. It felt very random to me. I think the method used could have been different.

I also noticed that there is a sequel- The Summer of Sneaking Out-I had originally thought it was going to be a continuation of this story but it appears to simply be a companion novel. I will probably read it, however, I couldn't find when it was to be released.

Overall, this was an ok read, but not my favourite. There were things that could have been done better. The relationship between Mia and Simon was pretty cute, and I enjoyed reading about how their relationship grew. But that was about all I liked in the book.

~Happy Reading Everyone!


  1. Aww, I think I liked this book more than you but I usually do like books more than others. Oh well, I enjoyed the relationship between Simon and Mia too. I loved Simon.

  2. Hmm, I'm not sure I would like the switching tones between light and serious if it's not done well either. At any rate, I think I should probably read The Summer I Turned Pretty sometime.

  3. Cover and title suggest a light summer read. The switching between serious issues and summery feelings doesn't sound like my thing either. Thanks for your review. And I would have compared it to Pretty,too. Loved that novel:D


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