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All the Summer Girls: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – May 21, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 183 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Kate Harrington finds out she’s pregnant minutes after her fiancé dumps her. Vanessa Warren loves being a stay-at-home mom, but she can’t stop thinking about her college ex. Dani Lowenstein might be living the writer’s life in San Francisco, but she can’t hold down a job, and her taste for drugs and alcohol is becoming more pressing than fun. The three women, childhood friends who have drifted from their Philadelphia private-school roots, decide to reunite for Fourth of July weekend at Dani’s father’s beach house in Avalon, New Jersey, like they did as girls. Vanessa and Dani want to support Kate with a fun, forget-about-him girls’ weekend, but none of the women can escape the growing tension in the friendship or the specter of Kate’s twin brother, Colin, who died eight years before on a similar Avalon summer weekend. Donohue captures the beauty and frustration of reconnecting with old friends—they know you so well, and they don’t know you at all. Perfect for a staycation for readers who like the beachy drama of Elin Hilderbrand and Susan Wiggs. --Susan Maguire


All the Summer Girls is a beautifully wrought story about the tender yet resillient bonds of friendship and the damage of kept secrets. Meg Donohue writes with keen insight, prodding readers to re-examine their own past choices, while gracefully examining themes of family, friendship and forgiveness.” (Karen White, New York Times bestselling author)

“Beach Book Extraordinaire! Donohue’s three protagonists are irresistibly sympathetic as they try to unbury their true selves from the ruinous secrets of their shared past.” (Elin Hilderbrand)

“Meg Donohue’s All the Summer Girls is an intimate, heartfelt, beautiful exploration of friendship, family and the ties that bind and the secrets that destroy us. Read it first, pass it to your girlfriend later. She’ll be grateful.” (New York Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch)

“All the Summer Girls is an honest and engaging look at the complicated and powerful bonds of female friendship. Donohue takes us on a weekend reunion full of secrets, resentment, and regret-in other words, once you start this book, you won’t be able to put it down!” (Jennifer Close, bestselling author of Girls in White Dresses)

“A fast-paced novel about the enduring friendship of three young women who spent their summers in Avalon on the Jersey shore before dispersing across the country....A good beach read.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Donohue gives the chick-lit buddy trope an appealing twist and a lot of depth, turning a familiar yarn of regret, trust, and loyalty into an elegant ode to late bloomers.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Donohue captures the beauty and frustration of reconnecting with old friends—they know youso well, and they don’t know you at all. Perfect for a staycation for readers who like the beachy drama ofElin Hilderbrand and Susan Wiggs.” (Booklist)

“Engaging.” (Entertainment Weekly, "The Best Summer Reads 2014" on ALL THE SUMMER GIRLS)

Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062203819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062203816
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Meg Donohue is the USA Today bestselling author of DOG CRAZY, ALL THE SUMMER GIRLS, and HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE. She has an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Dartmouth College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in San Francisco with her husband, three young daughters, and dog, and is working on her next novel.

For more on Meg, please visit www.megdonohue.com. Follow Meg on Twitter at @megdonohue.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Author, Meg Donohue wrote an excellent summer novel right at the Jersey Shore....Some say this novel is a coming of age, but I believe it's more about death, tragedy and dealing with the aftermath....The plot is compelling, emotional, humorous and mysterious at times...The three main characters are complicated and relatable....Perfect depiction of people dealing with guilt, alcoholism and anxiety disorders...You could connect with "All The Summer Girls" and actually feel their emotions coming from the pages....Stunning picturesque details of the Jersey Shore, that I could hear the ocean waves, smell the salty air, feel the sand and sun on my face...This story brought back memories of a wonderful time of fun, summer boys, girlfriends, crushes, part time jobs and lazy days.....

Kate Harrington has just been dumped 3 months before her wedding and finds out she is pregnant at the same time..She is still, after all these years traumatized by the drowning death of her twin Owen..Instead of going to Vegas for a "Bachelorette Party" she cancels, invites her two friends, Vanessa and Dani down to the old familiar summer house in Avalon, NJ, for one last get together.... They are all dealling with their own personal demons and have deep dark secrets from each other......This trip will awaken long dormant, painful memories, that have been slowly simmering on the surface and are about to boil over in the summer heat....Will Dani become a writer, Vanessa decide to remain with her husband or summer love, and Kate face the future without Peter..

Will this trip bring them closer together or tear them apart for ever.....

"Stronger Than The Storm"....
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Format: Paperback
This book is a serviceable, but not particularly memorable, classic summer beach read. It tells the story of three very different friends who have known each other since childhood, but have gone their separate ways due to life, growing up and a deep, dark secret about something that happened the last summer they spent together. They go back for a summer weekend at the beach house where "it" happened. Will they resolve their tensions? Will they get back with their men? We pretty much know what is going to happen, but there is some slight suspense, so you have the satisfaction of seeing all the pieces fall into place as you know they will in this type of book, along with just enough curiosity to propel you along.

As another reviewer mentioned, I felt that Kate was the best drawn of the characters, while the others seemed a bit more cardboard. Perhaps this is just because I related to Kate the most!

Strong suits of the book:

--Using three friends instead of the traditional four sets up a nice triangle where one is frequently on the out with the other two or one is the "peacemaker."
--Strong sense of place--the author clearly knows the Jersey Shore (not from the reality show) of which she writes. I felt like I was there.
--Affection for characters. Overall, the three girls (OK, they're 28 but to me they seemed much younger) are likeable, not always the case in this type of book.

This book was well crafted and is something you can read in a day. Also, it is not the type of book where you're so sucked in you can't put it down, which can be useful for summer reading that may be interrupted. To put it another way, if you're reading this while watching your kids at the beach, they won't drown....(now if you're reading Gone Girl or something, watch out).

Overall, I felt this was a nice, solid basic "summer beach read 101" that might be enjoyed best by younger women.
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Format: Paperback
Set primarily in the (non-MTV-esque) Jersey Shore, All the Summer Girls is the story of three best friends straddling the line between youth and adulthood as they press into the next phases of their respective lives while confronting their difficult pasts. In Philadelphia, Kate is a lawyer whose fiance breaks off their engagement the day she learns she's pregnant. In New York City, Vanessa, who struggles with the fact that she traded her art career for motherhood, is dealing with her husband's "indiscretion". And in San Francisco, nomadic Dani, whose curiosity for drugs and alcohol is bordering on dependency, has just lost another dead-end job. Their friendship (that dates back to kindergarten) has struggled ever since the summer they were all 21 and Kate's twin brother Colin died. Now, eight years later, they return to the beach town where Colin drowned to support each other during their current struggles and ultimately deal with their past.

This book might be a favorite to others, but it really missed the mark for me. There was nothing wrong with the writing; in fact, I enjoyed the dialogue, depth of characters, setting, and secrets a lot. I identified with Kate and Dani both (not so much with self-absorbed Vanessa). But even with all of these ingredients, somehow the end result was a chore for me to get through. I think the greatest issue I had with this book is that I had no emotional connection to Colin whatsoever when the author wanted me to feel as pained as Kate, Vanessa and Dani regarding his death. Yes, the fact that he died was sad, but as a reader I felt rather indifferent because I've never felt what they experienced first hand and Donohue did not equip me with the tools to understand what the women were feeling.
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