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Summer Sisters: A Novel Paperback – May 27, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 399 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385337663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385337663
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Judy Blume first won legions of fans with such young adult classics as Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Forever, in which she tackles the cultural hot button of teenage sexuality. In Summer Sisters, her third novel for adults, the author again explores the ramifications of love--and lust--on two friends. Initially, the differences between Caitlin Somers and Victoria Leonard (or "Vix," as Caitlin christens her) draw them together: privileged Caitlin is wild and outspoken, beautiful but emotionally fragile, while working-class Vix is shy, reserved, and plain in comparison. After Caitlin selects Vix to accompany her to her father's home in Martha's Vineyard for the summer, the two become inextricably connected as "summer sisters."

On the Vineyard, Vix and Caitlin first find love, then sex--and lots of it. Yet Blume soon moves beyond hot fun in the summer sun, tracing the romantic and familial travails of the two from pre-adolescence to adulthood. Solid Vix evolves into Victoria, an equally solid, Harvard-educated, Manhattan public-relations exec. Unpredictable Caitlin opts out of college and travels to Europe, where she has a string of short-lived affairs with a series of intriguing (in every sense of the word) foreigners. It is only after she returns to the Vineyard that Caitlin does the unthinkable, forever changing both her friendship with Vix and their lives. Blume once again proves herself a master of the female psyche, and Summer Sisters is likely to entertain both her postadolescent and more mature readers. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA-Caitlin lives with her mother in Sante Fe, but spends summers on a New England island with her father, brother, and stepmother. Both parents give her free rein, and her beauty, independence, and talent for getting away with outrageous behavior make her an intriguing star to her middle school classmates. Victoria can't understand why Caitlin would single her out to be her "summer sister" on Martha's Vineyard as she sees herself as quiet and dull. She senses, though, that this vacation is an important turning point and convinces her conservative parents to let her go. The girls become fast friends, sharing six unforgettable summers together. The strength of the novel lies in the portrayal of those six seasons. The author provides an engaging tableau of teenage experiences, worries, and emotions. Together, the girls cope with their changing bodies, difficult family relationships, boyfriends, and concerns about their futures. After high school graduation, Victoria goes on to college and a career while Caitlin travels to Europe and spins out of control. She even marries Victoria's former lover and has his child before escaping to Europe alone again. The end of the novel seems rushed but, overall, both the story and the girls will quickly capture readers' interest. The author's perceptive treatment of special childhood moments, the trials and joys of adolescence, and the magical possibilities of summer make this an entertaining read.
Mary Alice Giarda, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, NJ, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places, doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Superfudge; Blubber; Just As Long As We're Together; and Forever. She has also written the best-selling novels Wifey; Smart Women; and, Summer Sisters. More than 75 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into twenty-six languages.
She receives thousands of letters each month from readers of all ages who share their feelings and
concerns with her.
Judy received a B.S. in education from New York University in 1961, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1996, the same year that American Library Association honored her with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. She has won more than ninety awards, none more important than those coming directly from her youngest readers.
She serves on the boards of the Author's Guild, currently as Vice President; the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, where she sponsors an award for contemporary fiction; and the National Coalition Against Censorship, working to protect intellectual freedom. In Spring 2002, Judy was a spokesperson for the Cheerios "A Book for Every Child" literacy campaign which benefited Reading is Fundamental, America's largest literacy organization. She is also the founder and trustee of The Kids Fund, a charitable and educational foundation.
Judy's first book in the Fudge series, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, was published in 1972. She is thrilled to be celebrating its 30th Anniversary with the publication of Double Fudge. Just as generations of fans have loved the Fudge books, generations of Judy's family have inspired them. Thirty years ago, Fudge was inspired by her son, Larry, and now Double Fudge was written at the request of her grandson, Elliot.
Judy lives on islands up and down the East Coast with her husband George Cooper. They have three grown children and one grandchild.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Ratmammy VINE VOICE on July 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
SUMMER SISTERS by Judy Blume
The story of a rather one-sided friendship is told in Judy Blume's SUMMER SISTERS. Victoria (Vix) meets Caitlin as young schoolmates, and for some reason although the two of them are worlds apart, Caitlin chooses Vix as her guest to summer with her family on Martha's Vineyard. Vix has always been the quiet one, and Caitlin is the wild and crazy one. And despite their differences, Vix seems to be attracted to Caitlin's life, including her family and Caitlin's' rather eccentric ways.
The story opens in the present (1990), with Vix receiving a call from Caitlin, saying she's inviting Vix to her wedding. The brief prologue sets the stage, with Vix a bit perturbed by the phone call and torn between being angry with Caitlin, but also thinking "summer sisters forever". It is obvious that there is a love-hate relationship between the two, or at least that is how Vix feels about her long time friend Caitlin.
Their summers together on Martha's Vineyard are full of fun and laughter. But as they get older, Caitlin's selfishness starts to show. Vix however takes it all without too much complaining, always finding reasons to forgive Caitlin. Caitlin's selfish behavior is not obvious to all, but are subtle and often times happen in shocking ways.
As the two start to meet and date boys, Caitlin's behavior in this department is directly opposite in the way Vix handles herself with the boys, and on one night, Vix celebrates her birthday with Caitlin and the boys and it ends up a disastrous moment for Vix. (Caitlin, on the other hand, sees nothing wrong with what she has done, and thinks it's all in good fun).
As the two girls become young women, their differences tear them apart.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Candice on June 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is no better time than now to read Judy Blume's third novel for adults, Summer Sisters. This book will take you back to your own childhood summers and will remind you how strong the bond of friendship can be.
The two main characters, Caitlin Somers and Victoria Leonard, stand out for their differences as two young friends in Summer Sisters. Caitlin is outgoing, wild, and outspoken. Victoria (Vix, for short) is reserved and thoughtful, but strong. As they mature, their differences push Caitlin and Vix apart, but their bond as summer sisters is never completely broken.
The two first become summer sisters when Caitlin invites Vix to her summer home on Martha's Vinyard. It is here each summer the two struggle with becoming women, learn about sex, and find out the truth about love. They discover that life does not come one emotion at a time. The novel follows the two women through adolescence into adulthood. After graduating from high school together, Vix goes to Harvard and Caitlin decides she wants to see the world. As the two take different paths, they are slowly pulled apart, drawn together again only by Martha's Vinyard and their vow to stay summer sisters forever.
One of the elements that makes Blume's story such a powerful read is the reality she creates. Her characters and each of the trials and emotions they face are very real. Their experiences with love and loss are believable. You can also see yourself or people you know in Caitlin and Vix. The background characters are well-developed, and they create and enrich the family issues that surround the main characters. One very interesting element Blume uses is that the story is not told only by one narrator. The points of view of many of the characters are revealed.
Summer Sisters is a story that will play with your emotions and leave you wanting to know more. It is for anyone who has known the power of the bond of friendship
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By GadgetChick on July 27, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book before a beach vacation because I figured it would be a quick, easy read. It was, but it was also a pretty compelling story. Note I didn't say "perfect" story, or "complex" story - but it was compelling.

I think the people who are most likely to relate to this book are the ones who have been in a lopsided friendship like Caitlin and Vix's. I had a friend who was very much like Caitlin - extremely self-centered, yet demanded absolute attention, closeness and loyalty. She would swear her undying love and friendship, then turn into the cruelest, most indifferent person I had ever met, if she met someone or came across something that was more interesting to her than I was. Caitlin is an absolute narcissist, and Vix is just vulnerable enough to mistake their relationship for a friendship - until the end of the book. The book made me re-examine my "friendship" with the Caitlinesque girl I had known, and looking back on things with the wisdom of experience, I can see that I - like Vix - allowed myself to be treated poorly. However, there's also a lot this book says about unconditional love, and how you can still be friends with someone like Caitlin, as long as a. you understand that there's only so much they have to give you, because so much of their emotion is turned inwards and b. you can still be friends with someone despite deeply disapproving of their choices.

Judy Blume is not the best writer in the world but I don't think she's trying to be. This is an excellent book for what it is - a piece of entertainment. I don't think it's meant to be another "War and Peace." There are some plot holes, the narrative style is a little uneven and the first-person/third-person switchbacks can get annoying, and the ending is somewhat trite. But if you're looking for something you can read that will be emotionally engaging, but not too intellectually taxing, you could do a lot worse than this book.
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