Author: Amanda Howells
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
My synopsis: The summer Mia was 16, her and her family went to spend the summer in Southhampton with their cousins, Corinne and Bethy. Being from Georgia, Southhampton might have well been another planet, but Mia and Corinne had always been close friends. Mia could tell that something was different this time as soon as they arrived.
Mia had come expecting to spend a carefree summer with Corinne, recovering from her recent breakup with Jake. Instead, she finds herself an outsider to Corinne and Bethy and their current circle of friends. Drinking seems to be at the top of their list for summer activities, and their parents didn't seem to have a clue.
Mia had always wished that Aunt Kathleen, her mom's sister, had been her mom. She seemed so put together and to take an interest in her kids. Combined with her classic good looks and elegant manner, she was the sister who had the world at her feet and had married the love of her life. Compared to Mia's parents, who lately always seemed to be fighting, it seemed like the charmed life. Mia overhears her Aunt Kathleen telling Corinne to be nice to her, which makes Mia feel more left out than before. Until she meets Simon.
Simon was the boy whose family had rented the house next door. They first meet at one of Corinne's parties, which he had crashed. A friendship slowly develops and they start to meet on the beach after everyone else was in bed. Surprisingly to Mia, their friendship turns to romance. Simon seems to understand her and together they carve out their own little niche that summer. Much of their time on the beach is spent swimming in the dark. Simon loves to skinny dip, but Mia is afraid to let go.
My thoughts: This is a very poignant coming of age story that might have been set in the present or in the past. Something about Southhampton conjurs up big white houses and large sweeping lawns with women idylly passing their time sitting on the veranda sipping tea. Now I realize that elements of this story would not be able to be set in the past, but the feelings that Mia and Simon share for each other and for their parents are timeless. Over the course of the summer, Mia realizes that not everything is as it appears - sort of like "All that glitters, is not gold." And yes, like any good coming of age story, I cried at the end.
~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for my review.~
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks Fire, June 2010