Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
Release Date: first published in 1998, republished July 25th 2006
Target Audience: Young Adult / Adult Fiction
Format: Own a Hardback copy.
Why I picked it up: Estelle was generous & awesome & gave Summer Sisters to me for Christmas.
Summary: Vix is a lonely 12-year-old girl until popular-girl Caitlin invites her to spend the summer at her Dad’s beach house. Vix and Caitlin become inseparable, go through puberty together, crush on local beach boys, and spend every summer at the beach. The story follows the girls as they grow up, separate, and reconnect over 12 years.
When I received Summer Sisters for Christmas from Estelle, I was thrilled! I couldn’t remember reading Judy Blume books when I was younger, so I was anxious to see why Estelle had sent me this book. This ended up being a book that I didn’t devour in a day, but not because it wasn’t great. It was rich with detail, emotions, and a very dense story was woven throughout. It’s a story about friendship, growing up, life changes, loss, and family. Told over a 12-ish year period, Summer Sisters begins with a prologue at the climax of the story. It then reverses and we meet shy, insecure Vix at age 12 and we get to see Caitlin and Vix’s friendship blossom from the beginning. Not only do we see the girls grow up over time, but we understand in a very deep way how messy and complicated their friendship is.
Actually, there’s just a lot of mess all throughout Summer Sisters. Vix’s family sucks; her mother takes advantage of her, degrades her, and doesn’t let her think for herself. Caitlin introduces Vix to her family; they see something special in her and completely take her under their wing. I loved how their family loved on Vix – they cared for her well beyond high school graduation and supported her through college. They gave her a life and opportunities she would never have dreamed of. Vix was finally able to understand that family isn’t necessarily about blood relations; it’s about the people you choose to surround yourself with.
As much as Caitlin was a part of Vix’s life, there were times I didn’t understand why they were such close friends. Caitlin was crazed, competitive, and spoiled beyond reason. Just reading about her overwhelmed me at times, and I realized that she wouldn’t have been an ideal best friend for me. For Vix, she was perfect; the girls expected nothing less than the best from one another, but were so compassionate when things didn’t work out that way. No matter where life took them, they were able to remain in contact and shared a deep bond that was much more sisterly.
Summer Sisters opens with the prologue, however, and we see that Vix and Caitlin have been apart for quite some time. Vix is left speechless and shaking when she finds out Caitlin is to marry to Bru. Throughout the remainder of the book, we see how Vix is connected to Bru and things begin to fall into place. Bru, Von, Gus, Sharkey, and Daniel were just a few of the boys that they spent each summer with, and I always felt so intrigued by the dynamics of all these relationships, especially when I began to see how the prologue connected to the rest of the story.
This was a book that made me extremely nostalgic. Vix’s story was reminiscent of Jessica Darling’s (as in the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty). I felt extremely connected to Vix because she reminded me so much of Jessica. Here are a few quick comparisons and maybe a few things that will lead you to read Summer Sisters.
- Vix is a lonely girl. She is smart and witty, but no one ever realizes that until she meets Caitlin. I felt like her character was unleashed with the introduction of Caitlin, just like Jessica’s was unveiled when she and Marcus became close friends.
- Vix has a messy, complicated relationship with Bru. She’s head-over-heels in love with him. In the back of her mind, she’s constantly second-guessing herself. Is she ready to commit? Is she too young to be in such a serious relationship? Bru proposes at some point (I PROMISE I’m not spoiling anything here), and I was overwhelmed with flashbacks of when Marcus proposed to Jessica. Guys, I can’t even explain how much I missed Jessica and Marcus while reading this part.
- Because of Caitlin’s family, Vix is given the opportunity to go to Harvard. Remember the whole So you think you’re better than us? thing in the Jessica Darling books when she goes to Cambridge? Oh. My. Gosh. Those same emotions were displaced on Vix, too. She was just a girl trying to make ends meet and get a good education while everyone around her (i.e. her low-life family) assumed she was becoming a snob.
Okay, I really hope I’ve made my case for this book. It’s so stinkin’ good. Pick it up. Immerse yourself in the world of Summer Sisters.