Summary and book reviews of Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Summer Sisters

By Judy Blume

Summer Sisters
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  • Hardcover: Jun 1998,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: May 1999,
    416 pages.

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About this Book

Book Summary

No writer captures the seasons of our lives better than Judy Blume. Now, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wifey and Smart Women, comes an extraordinary novel of reminiscence and awakening--an unforgettable story of two women, two families, and the friendships that shape a lifetime.

When Victoria Leonard answers the phone in her Manhattan office, Caitlin's voice catches her by surprise. Vix hasn't talked to her oldest friend in months. Caitlin's news takes her breath away--and Vix is transported back in time, back to the moment she and Caitlin Somers first met, back to the casual betrayals and whispered confessions of their long, complicated friendship, back to the magical island where two friends became summer sisters.

Caitlin dazzled Vix from the start, sweeping her into the heart of the unruly Somers family, into a world of privilege, adventure, and sexual daring. Vix's bond with her summer family forever reshapes her ties to her own, opening doors to opportunities she had never imagined--until the summer she falls passionately in love. Then, in one shattering moment on a moonswept Vineyard beach, everything changes, exposing a dark undercurrent in her extraordinary friendship with Caitlin that will haunt them through the years.

As their story carries us from Santa Fe to Martha's Vineyard, from New York to Venice, we come to know the men and women who shape their lives. And as we follow the two women on the paths they each choose, we wait for the inevitable reckoning to be made in the fine spaces between friendship and betrayal, between love and freedom.

Summer Sisters is a riveting exploration of the choices that define our lives, of friendship and love, of the families we are born into and those we struggle to create. For every woman who has ever had a friend too dangerous to forgive and too essential to forget, Summer Sisters will glue you to every page, reading and remembering.

Prologue
Summer 1990

The city is broiling in an early summer heat wave and for the third day in a row Victoria buys a salad from the Korean market around the corner and has lunch at her desk. Her roommate, Maia, tells her she's risking her life eating from a salad bar. If the bacteria don't get you, the preservatives will. Victoria considers this as she chomps on a carrot and scribbles notes to herself on an upcoming meeting with a client who's looking for a PR firm with an edge. Everyone wants edge these days. You tell them it's edgy, they love it.


When the phone rings she grabs it, expecting a call from the segment producer at Regis and Kathie Lee. "This is Victoria Leonard," she says, sounding solid and professional.

"Vix?"

She's surprised to hear Caitlin's voice on the other end and worries for a minute it's bad news, because Caitlin calls only at night, usually late, often waking her from a deep sleep. Besides, it's been a couple of months since they've talked at ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
FOR DISCUSSION
  1. Do you see more of your personality in the character of Victoria ("Vix") or Caitlin? Why? Do you see parallels in your relationships with your friends? Have you ever known a "Caitlin?' You might start by remembering best friends and what they've meant to you.

  2. What is it about Vix that leads Caitlin to befriend her in the first place? That allows the friendship to flourish? What does Vix get from her friendship with Caitlin? What does Caitlin get from Vix? And what do each of them give?

  3. What do you see as the source of the lasting bond between Vix and Cailtin? Why and how do they remain so close even as they grow apart and lead different lives? How do their expectations of each other change? Do you see similarities in...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Middlesex (Mass.) News

[Blume] slowly peels off the layers that reveal natures of people, and how they feel about their lives and the people around them.

Seventeen

...an adult book with universal appeal.

Cosmopolitan

You'll love it like a sister.

The Denver Post

The emotional connection a person can form with one true friend can be the most formative experience in a person's life. In Summer Sisters, Judy Blume explores the friendship that spans 18 years in the lives of two women and the lasting effect this relationship has on both of them....Summer Sisters is her first foray into adult fiction in nearly 15 years, and it is well worth the wait....Blume creates a rich tapestry of characters, revealing all the hidden emotions lying beneath the surface. Summer Sisters is an exceptionally moving story that can leave the reader laughing and crying at various points, sometimes at the same time. Blume's talent lies in creating characters you can see yourself in, and, hopefully, we won't have to wait another 15 years for her to delve into the adult landscape again.

Orlando Sentinel

Judy Blume...tells it like it is.... She obviously knows what it's like to have a best friend with whom to share everything from clothes to secrets to late-night fears...Summer Sisters is a good beach book, as predictable as sand in your sheets, as warm as the sea breeze blowing through your hair, as nostalgic as James Taylor singing 'How Sweet It Is.' You remember. So does Judy Blume. How sweet it was.

San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle

With engaging characters, an intriguing plot and plenty of sex, this is an entertaining adult fairy tale, a summer read shameless enough to wear its season on its jacket.

Seattle Times

[Blume] catches perfectly the well-armored love between longtime female friends. Blume's characters still tend to hover after the book is set aside, proving that this talented realist continues to do what she does best.

Hartford Courant

...her writing sings...

Newsday

Summer Sisters is a fictional fountain of youth sure to make the reader young all over again.

Book Page

A woman for all seasons...An effortless, enjoyable read.

Tampa Tribune

Blume tells a good story, creates memorable characters, provides innovative structural devices and demonstrates an ear for up-to-the-minute vernacular....Many readers of Summer Sisters who traveled with Blume in their youth will welcome this new opportunity to visit with a writer who now spins provocative tales for them and other grown-ups to read.

School Library Journal

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.

Kirkus Reviews

The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume's latest adult novel.

Publishers Weekly

An engaging coming-of-age story set during a series of summers on Martha's Vineyard in the late 70s and early 80s. Blume keeps her story moving...her portrait of an unlikely yet enduring friendship as it changes over time will remind readers why they read Blume's books when they were young she finds a provocative theme and spins an involving story.

Library Journal

In her first adult novel in 15 years, Blume leads two best friends from age 12 to 30 through first love, college, marriage, and motherhood...Interspersed viewpoints of various characters add interest and depth to what is a relentlessly readable book...

Reader Reviews
Jac

The Eternal Relationship Between the Beauty and the Brains; Timeless Heroines
Summer Sisters- a contemporary fiction about romance, friendship, youthfulness, and all of life's obligations - revolves around two foil characters; Caitlin and Victoria. Caitlin is the epitome of a beautiful and daring girl, who evolves into a bold ...   Read More

Chloe

Awesome!
I love this book. I am a teenager and I never used to read books before, until last summer of '08. My Aunt gave me this book to read while I was staying there, I read it and loved it! I've read it at least 5 times in the last few months, every time I...   Read More

dblue11

summer sisters
I have read that book like 5 or 6 times since I have gotten it,which was like last year! If I could I would give it a 1,000,000 percent for best book in the world!

Yana

A touching, romantic adventurous story that will have you glued to every page!

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