I have read Summer Sisters by Judy Blume every summer from age 12 through 21. It’s not a book that’s going to change your life, but for me it’s one of those books that I revisit because the characters feel like old friends.
At the book’s start, the main characters (Vix and Caitlin) are in sixth grade, and I had just finished sixth grade the first time I read it. The book follows them every summer for many following years (till they’re 30, I think). I always got a kick out of comparing myself to them whenever “we” were all the same age.
The book is also written in multiple characters’ points of view, which I have always loved as a reader. Most of the stories I wrote as a kid were written this way. There’s just something so awesome in knowing you, as the reader, know more than any one character.
The book begins in present-day (well, mid-90s, when it was published) and quickly reverts back to the 1970s, when Vix and Caitlin first meet as sixth-graders. Vix reminded me of myself, and Caitlin reminded me of my best friend Sheila, which is no doubt another reason I enjoyed the book. (Because of these similarities, though, I forever pictured Vix as blonde, like me, and Caitlin as dark-haired, like Sheila, though they were supposed to be the opposite. Hey, it’s my head; I’ll imagine the characters how I want to; thank you very much.)
Caitlin invites Vix to spend the summer with her at Caitlin’s dad’s house on Martha’s Vineyard. Caitlin accepts, and a friendship is born. As I mentioned, the book follows them for the next several years, usually in the summer. The reader is privy to an unexpected and complicated – but fiercely loyal – friendship.
That’s all I’ll say because I don’t want to give anything away. It’s not a book for everyone, and it’s an easy read for the hammock or the inner tube on some lazy summer afternoon. There’s been talk of it being turned into a movie, and in fact I believe I read that Blume’s son recently turned her book Tiger Eyes into a movie. But in Summer Sister‘s case I really hope there isn’t going to be a film adaptation. I like the way it plays in my head and I feel like a movie interpretation would only mess with that. I guess I’m being selfish but that’s how I see it.