When we were growing up, young girls enjoyed Judy Blume's coming of age books because they were blunt, honest portrayals of the confusing whirlwind known as puberty. Her characters, and the things they went through, were the same problems we faced at home, at school and with our changing bodies. So when I heard she'd written some fiction for women, I was eager to read it! I picked up "Summer Sisters" at a library sale.
Vix Leonard lives with her struggling middle class family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her dad Ed is a quiet man who goes about his business while her mom Tawny has a sharp tongue and quick temper, resentful about the direction her life has taken. One day at school, Vix's life is turned upside down when the vivacious Caitlin Somers breezes in. Caitlin's life is so different -- her mom Phoebe goes on exotic trips and dates a stream of boyfriends. All the girls want to hang out with Caitlin. Vix figures she doesn't stand a chance, so she doesn't bother trying. But Caitlin notices that Vix is different than the other girls. Vix apparently "gets it", as Caitlin would say!
Vix is shocked when Caitlin wanders up to her one day and invites her to spend the summer with her in far-away Martha's Vineyard! Tawny is dead set against it at first, but Ed goes to bat for his daughter, and off Vix goes for the first of many summer adventures. Her days in the Vineyard are nothing like home. Lamb, Caitlin's dad, is a carefree remnant of the hippie era, who doesn't mind if the beach house is full of sand or if peanut butter sandwiches congeal on the kitchen table for a day or two. They share the house with Sharkey, Caitlin's older brother, who is quiet and a little odd but not unkind.
The two girls become "summer sisters", sharing the room with its twin beds, sharing secrets giggled late into the night, experiencing several "firsts" together . . . boys, jobs, milestones of growing up. But like sisters, they don't always get along. Caitlin isn't thrilled about her dad's new wife, Abby, while Vix feels like she is the nurturing mother Tawny never wanted to be. Caitlin's vow to NBO -- Never Be Ordinary -- gets her into trouble. Sometimes Vix fishes her out of her problems but other times she feels she has to let Caitlin clean up her own messes.
As they reach young womanhood, the two start to grow apart. While Caitlin is busy traipsing across Europe, Vix is working her way through college and starting a career. But one day Caitlin calls Vix in New York to drop a bombshell -- she asks Vix to be a bridesmaid at her wedding . . . to Vix's long-term ex-boyfriend from the Vineyard!
Friendship, family, relationships, romance, drama . . . all brought together in a page-turner by a skilled author we remember from our youth. Everything a grown up girl could want in a fun summer novel!