Review: The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells.

Posted June 28, 2010 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Rowena’s review of 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….”

After getting dumped by her boyfriend, Mia is looking forward to spending a relaxing summer in the Hamptons with her glamorous cousins. But when she arrives she find her cousins distant, moody, and caught up with a fast crowd. Mia finds herself lonelier than ever, until she meets her next-door-neighbor, Simon Ross. And from the very first time he encourages her to go skinny dipping, she’s caught in a current impossible to resist.

Timeless in feel, The Summer of Skinny-Dipping is a poignant, literary coming-of-age romance that will live on long after summer has ended.

This is going to be a really hard review for me to write because this book was a very hard book to put down. When I first read the blurb and then saw the cover, I thought the story would be a light and fluffy read but it was everything but light and fluffy. This book was a lot deeper than I was expecting.

This book follows Mia Gordon on vacation to the Hamptons over the summer to spend time with her family. Mia and her cousin Corrine used to be tight and Mia cannot wait to see her again but when Mia gets to the Wind Song, their summer home, she finds that the cousin that greets her is not the cousin she remembered at all. Over the course of the book, Mia will also find out that her family is chock full of secrets as well.

Mia is an average teenaged girl who has body issues, mom issues (she’s not the perfect daughter that her Mom wants, etc..) and she’s got boy issues in the form of a broken heart. She wants to lose herself this summer at the beach and try to get over the loss of her boyfriend, Jake. Mia fancied herself in love with Jake but over the course of the summer, we see Mia re-evaluate the feelings she had for Jake.

Getting to know Mia was interesting because I saw myself at that age in Mia. I was boy crazy and I had low self esteem. I was with a boy that I thought I was in love with and it took me an entire summer to get over him and even though I functioned well enough, when we went back to school, I was back to being “in love with” the same boy. I think the reason for this is because I didn’t have a Simon like Mia did. If only my parents took me to the South Hamptons for the summer. Maybe then I would have found me a Simon.

I adored Simon.

Simon is summering in Southampton right next door to Mia’s Aunt’s house. The two of them form a friendship that changes Mia’s life…for the better. Mia’s summer that started out with her snobby cousins excluding her and making her feel like an idiot for not being as skinny as them or as rich as them turns into the best summer of her life.

Simon shows Mia so many different things and he changes her life for the better. Knowing Simon made her feel alive. Knowing Simon showed her that what she felt for Jake was nowhere near what she felt for Simon.

If you believe in soul mates than Simon was Mia’s soulmate. He loved her with a passion that made your heart sigh and really, you couldn’t help but love him.

Watching the relationship between Simon and Mia blossom, made me sigh because when you’re in love at that age (and I have no doubt that these two were in love, despite their young age), it’s so much…more. It’s so much more passionate and strong.

Reading this review, you would think that this book was a romance novel but it’s not. It’s a coming of age novel that took place over the course of a summer. Howells does a fantastic job of sinking her writing teeth into you and not letting go. She wrote a story that made me smile, made me laugh and broke my heart all at the same time. She wrote a story that I will not ever forget, I’m thinking.

This book was good but if you’re a romance reader than I’m not sure this is the book for you. It’s hard, it’s real but it was damned good too.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Fire. You can buy it here.

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