03 July 2010

Review: "The Summer of Skinny Dipping" by: Amanda Howells

The Summer of Skinny Dipping by: Amanda Howells
Released: June 1st, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age: Young Adult
Pages: 324
Recommend Level: Low
Challenge: 2010 Debut Author (The Story Siren)
Summary: "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.

Review: I was so excited for this book. I was hoping for a light summer romance. (i.e. Sarah Dessen). Well, I turned to the wrong book.
Mia is a 16 year old girl who goes on vacation with her family to see her aunt, uncle and cousins: Corinne and Beth. When she realizes her cousin, Corinne--and used to be best friend--has become more like her older sister Beth, Mia begins trying to fit in...which doesn't work out so well when she's constantly putting herself down for not having "the perfect" body, being rich or just not as care-free as the girls.
At the first house party of the summer Simon comes in and Mia, at that moment doesn't want much to do with him. But when she begins taking night strolls along the beach and sees Simon out there too, that's when their friendship begins to build. Late night trips to Indigo Beach and their love of art.
Simon trying to dodge his father's fist. And Mia trying to dodge her mother.
Of course it takes forever to get there and I have to say it's not a fun journey.
There is too much narrative. And no matter how good the writing is--in this book it's decent--I don't want to continue reading if the protagonist is constantly whining or describing in way too much detail every little inane thing.
The only good parts about this book were the nights with Simon. I actually dreaded it when they said 'goodnight'. But the bad thing is there wasn't much actual conversation to read, just what Mia said happened.
Of course with a summer romance comes loss. But did there have to be a loss? No. No there didn't!
I feel as if Amanda Howells was trying to mix Sarah Dessen and Nicholas Sparks and failed...failed.
Most people's first books aren't amazing, so I will keep her in mind. But I don't have Amanda Howells on my "authors to look for" list.

**SPOILER** (highlight to read)
When I realized that Simon was going to die, not in the house fire but in the water...I just wanted it to happen to get it over with. I couldn't stand being drug on and on. And of course, when he dies it just can't be the end of the book. She has to bring us back to Georgia to read how she's been grieving. And honestly I didn't feel any emotion at all


(Check out the full list of 2010 Debut Authors I have lined up to read as well as the reviews of the ones I've already read. Just click here!)


  1. Sorry you didn't like the book. I just got this one for review and I'm currently reading it. I find that there's a lot of unnecessary points and I find myself skipping over a lot.

  2. I'm with you on the too much narrative thing. It irritated me slightly, but not a whole lot. That's the exact same reason I have so much trouble reading Charlaine Harris' books.

    And there really was no reason for the "loss". It was quite frustrating.


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