Thursday, July 4, 2013

Alice's Review: All the Summer Girls

Summary:  In Philadelphia, good girl Kate is dumped by her finance the day she learns she is pregnant with his child. In New York City, beautiful stay-at-home mom Vanessa finds herself obsessively searching the Internet for news of an old flame. And in San Francisco, Dani, an aspiring writer who can't seem to put down a book or a cocktail long enough to open her laptop, has just been fired . . . again.  In an effort to regroup, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani retreat to the New Jersey beach town where they once spent their summers. Emboldened by the seductive cadences of the shore, the women begin to realize just how much their lives, and friendships, have been shaped by the choices they made one fateful night on the beach eight years earlier and the secrets that now threaten to surface.

Review:  I am from New Jersey and love all things NJ (except for the Real Housewives of New Jersey – yuck).  I get mad when Pennsylvanian’s call me a flat-lander because obviously they never left PA long enough to realize NJ is far from flat.  I roll my eyes when someone asks me “What exit?”  I know there is a world of difference between North Jersey and South Jersey and that line is divided cleanly by the Driscoll Bridge.  I watched the Sopranos and the Jersey Shore, not because those shows are an accurate depiction of my beloved state and the people who live here.  I watched because they were filmed here and it was awesome seeming local landmarks and our sandy beaches on TV each week.  When I read the description of All the Summer Girls, I knew this a novel for me with beautiful Avalon, New Jersey as the backdrop.

I enjoyed All the Summer Girls and felt a connection with each of the three characters.  The character that frustrated me the most was Vanessa.  I felt that she was the most hypocritical of the three.  Forgiveness didn’t come easily to her and her high-brow attitude was a real turn off.  She’s the friend that although you love her, you wish she would come down to earth to see how the other half lives. 

Dani was the character I liked the best and the one who had the most story to tell.  I loved how broken and vulnerable she was.  Of the three, she’s the one who will make me worry.  The one whose next adventure I would love to read.

Kate's resolution was too perfect.  I wish she had more of a Cannie is Good inBed type struggle.  Kate reminded me of Kelly from Beverly Hills, 90210.  She was a nice person, a good friend but everything bad happened to her and she always found a way to overcome and ALWAYS had a happy ending.  It’s annoying and I’m annoyed with myself that the spring of tears I experience came because of Kate.

Like most novels, things could have been resolved much sooner if the women had simply talked to each other. Although I enjoyed their friendship truth be told I could not figure out why or how they stayed friends all these years.  It was as if the foundation in which they built this great friendship on was made in sand and not rock or stone.  In real life, I think they wouldn’t have survived, there was nothing to bind them together.  Yet somehow, Ms. Donohue found a way to make it work.  I believed in their friendship and how it is possible to heal and move on together. 

All the Summer Girls is a solid novel with memorable characters, a beautiful setting, and a heartwarming ending. Although I wouldn’t read it again, I would recommend it especially to those who enjoy a novel about friendship set in a lovely seaside town.

Final Take: 3/5



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