September Girls

( 10 )

Overview

When Sam's dad whisks him off to the beach for the summer, it doesn't take him long to realize this sleepy vacation town isn't what it seems. Time slows down around here, cell phones don't work, and everywhere Sam looks, he sees strange, beautiful girls. Girls who are inexplicably drawn to him.

As Sam begins to unravel the mystery of The Girls and their beach, he's forced to question everything he thought he knew about love, growing up, and ...

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September Girls

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Overview

When Sam's dad whisks him off to the beach for the summer, it doesn't take him long to realize this sleepy vacation town isn't what it seems. Time slows down around here, cell phones don't work, and everywhere Sam looks, he sees strange, beautiful girls. Girls who are inexplicably drawn to him.

As Sam begins to unravel the mystery of The Girls and their beach, he's forced to question everything he thought he knew about love, growing up, and becoming a man.

Dark, funny, and provocative, September Girls is a truly original novel about the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we're told to believe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When 17-year-old Sam accompanies his older brother and increasingly distracted father to a washed-out beach town for the summer, after his mother inexplicably bails on the family, he expects to spend long hours watching The Price Is Right. What he doesn’t expect are legions of gorgeous, though somehow strange blonde “Girls” (as Sam thinks of them) all eyeing him like he’s, well, special. After Sam meets and feels an instant connection with one of the Girls, DeeDee, the summer takes a crazy turn. Madison gives Sam’s voice the perfect blend of sardonic sharpness and teenage uncertainty. Though the story abounds with lustful groping, alcohol-drenched parties, and profane guy-talk, moments of insight sneak up, too, like when Sam realizes that he loves his mother despite her wanderings or that his brother, though not pedestal-worthy, is an okay guy. Madison maintains the same hazy, syrupy languidness that distinguished The Blonde of the Joke, giving summer days at the shore the same sort of mythological heft the fluorescent American mall possessed in his previous book. A surprising story of a kid finding love and himself, when he wasn’t looking for either. Ages 14–up. (June)
VOYA - Jane Harper
Sam's mother has left the family, and his father impulsively decides to quit his job and take Sam and his older brother, Jeff, to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they rent a rundown beach cottage. It is an ordinary enough setting, but from the first night, it is apparent that this will not be an ordinary summer. Sam and Jeff, taking a vodka-fueled beach walk, witness an amazing scene: a beautiful blond-haired girl washes up naked on the shore, then stumbles off into the dunes and disappears. She turns out to be one of many mysterious girls who seem to be everywhere on the island, working in restaurants and hotels, living crowded together in tiny apartments. Their perfect bodies, long hair, and tight, glittery clothes make them seem as if they were conjured up by the fantasies of a teen male. They seem to be attracted to Sam, who is not used to being the object of female interest. As the story progresses, a series of brief, reflective chapters from the girls' points of view make us realize that they are not just mysterious, but magical too. These girls have a secret, and a mission, and Sam's involvement in both becomes a love story and his coming-of-age. The rest of this supernatural summer romance is told from Sam's point of view in a sharp, often humorous voice. His unique teen-male perspective may spark discussion about gender roles and relationships among male—and female—readers. Reviewer: Jane Harper
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Before the school year is even completely over, Sam's dad quits his job and takes the 17-year-old and his older brother, who's home from college, to a sleepy Outer Banks beach town for the summer. Sam's mom left abruptly months earlier and the three are still reeling from her sudden departure. Ensconced in a rundown rental, the boys spend the summer partying, swimming, and trying to get to know the beautiful, blond, ephemeral-looking girls who seem to be everywhere in town. There's something odd about them; for one thing they can't take their eyes off Sam-which is not a problem he's used to. It turns out that he holds the key to unlocking the curse that has been cast upon the lovely young women. Well, he can help one of them at least. Legends of mermaids, magic, and curses coupled with teenage lust and in-your-face raunchy lingo (including myriad derogatory references to girls and sexual innuendos) make this a unique attempt to combine seemingly disparate elements. This novel is Hans Christian Andersen's "Little Mermaid" meets modern teenage angst. Sam's voice rings true and is quite compelling as he copes with his mother's abandonment and his first forays into love. A fairy tale for a decidedly older audience.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
Kirkus Reviews
A meditation on manhood takes a turn into magical realism in this mesmerizing novel. Sam, his father and his older brother are all coping--with varying degrees of success; Sam's coping includes whiskey and frozen pizza--with Sam's mother's departure for Women's Land. In an attempt to pull things together, his dad decides they will spend the summer on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Prickly yet lethargic, 17-year-old Sam gradually becomes intrigued by the mysterious, beautiful blonde girls who work at the hotels and restaurants there. Interspersed throughout Sam's slightly sarcastic first-person narration are short, haunting prose poems from these sisters, who can't swim though they come from the ocean and whose mother is the Deepness and whose father is the Endlessness. The girls seem to reinvent themselves as needed, much as they reinvent the island where they live, adding to the air of mystery. The brothers' parents are vividly portrayed, particularly the once-frumpy mother who left their father in a "swamp of discontent"--which turns into a complete abandonment of his job and their usual life. The heart of the story centers on Sam's gradual unfurling into a less brittle, kinder and more thoughtful youth. The writing, though realistically laced with the F-word and references to smoking and drinking, has a curiously appealing distance from the ordinary but doesn't abandon it altogether. A not-mermaid story for boys. (Magical realism. 14 & up)
Booklist
“Madison’s honest and darkly comic prose takes this mall-rat tale to mythical heights. The punchline is definitely bittersweet and will leave a good many readers anticipating Madison’s next book.”
Sara Zarr
“Beneath the dreamy warmth and languor of beach days and summer romance, September Girls delivers an intricate story of identity and freedom, the ties and histories that thwart those things, and love. A truly original coming-of-age tale.”
Shelf Awareness
“Madison’s writing is somehow both dreamy and razor-sharp, like the ocean that laps quietly in the background. Teens and adults alike will be spooked and intrigued in equal parts as the book works toward an ending as satisfying and heartbreaking as the end of a sleepy summer.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Madison’s novel offers up a feast of mythology and human nature. This isn’t just a supernatural beach read; it’s a rare and lovely novel, deserving of attention from discriminating readers.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“An exquisitely haunting work of magical realism.”
MTV.com
“A wry, sharp read. Spend the weekend unraveling its mystery, and you’ll set the tone nicely for your own sexy summer.”
TeenVogue.com
“A darkly funny novel.”
BookPage
“The depictions of young flirtation and sexual frustration are right on point and may be the truest imitations of it I’ve read yet.”
Locus
“An odd and beautiful and risky novel. From Madison, I wouldn’t expect any other kind.”
Examiner.com
“Bennett Madison’s splashy—pardon the pun—new novel September Girls is equal parts teenage drama and supernatural whimsy, and the combination is sweet, surprising and most certainly lingering.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Highly original.”
E. Lockhart
“Eerie and desperately romantic, September Girls is a myth measured out in summer days, game shows, French fries and women’s magazines. Bennett Madison makes a seedy beach town into the stuff of legends, and he has worked an intoxicating magic. Amazing.”
Sara Zarr
“Beneath the dreamy warmth and languor of beach days and summer romance, September Girls delivers an intricate story of identity and freedom, the ties and histories that thwart those things, and love. A truly original coming-of-age tale.”
Jenny Han
“Reading this book is like holding your breath underwater—you won’t want to come up for air.”
Nova Ren Suma
“I came away enthralled by this transfixing story and overcome by Bennett Madison’s breathtaking talent as a writer. Gorgeously rendered and teeming with shocks and deep truths, September Girls is a daring book that reveals the boundless possibilities of YA fiction.”
Sarah Mlynowski
“This wickedly funny novel has it all—style, depth, bite, and a punch line you won’t be able to forget.”
Maureen Johnson
“The Blonde of the Joke turns a dull suburban landscape into a mythical place, full of treasure, inner demons, and transformations. Bennett Madison is one of the best YA writers around and this is his sharpest book to date.”
James St. James
“A delightfully wicked book—a supersexy celebration of good girls gone bad, and a haunting ode to teenage rebellion.”
Sara Shepard
“You will fall in love with The Blonde of the Joke the moment you enter its mall-wandering, skater-boy loving, dark secret-hiding world. Poetic and punchy, sarcastic and true, I gobbled this up and was left wanting so much more.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061255632
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/21/2013
  • Pages: 342
  • Sales rank: 543,520
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Bennett Madison is the author of several books for young people, including The Blonde of the Joke. He attended Sarah Lawrence College but remains two classes shy of graduation. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Not What I Expected September Girls is told from Sam's point of

    Not What I Expected
    September Girls is told from Sam's point of view.  He is a 17-year-old boy, and the book covers everything you would expect to go with that - cussing, a lot of it, sex/masturbating, fantasies, talk about women, especially their boobs, real stuff 17 year old boys think about and do for the most part.  He is also dealing with his family falling apart.  When I saw the cover I was expecting romance, love, mermaids, etc.  That isn't what it is about.  I never really got the clear picture on the whole mermaid aspect of the book, which bothered me, and there were aspects about that that were just really strange.  While Sam does have a thing for Dee Dee, it didn't feel or give off a real romance vibe.  The language seems to be one of the factors that most people disliked, but it didn't bother me because I think guys probably really talk like that more than we know, despite what us parents would like to think, and I could have dealt with the sex part if I just could have connected to the story, which I didn't.  I had read the reviews on this book before I started it and tried to go into it with an open mind, knowing that a lot of people didn't like it, keeping in mind the fact that I did read a few positive reviews.  I don't know, while it was not for me, maybe there are some teenage guys out there that would like it.  I've never been one, so it's hard to say.  On a positive note, it does have a really pretty cover.  It is definitely an older YA read.   

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Awesome

    This book was so heart warming

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

       What I Liked: I liked the sense of family on Sam's side. The

       What I Liked: I liked the sense of family on Sam's side. The interactions and conversations with his brother and Dad really felt realistic. 
        The setting was also well done. I felt the descriptions were well done and made me feel part of the scenery and story. 
       The pain and set up of Sam's mom and her abandonment. I think that a lot can relate with the theme and feelings or knows someone who could. Sam is a deep character in a lot of regards and emotional in others. Caught up in his hurt and anger and I think that is what connected him.
       What I didn't like: The stream of though and the "we" mentality from the girls at the beginning. I understand but it still didn't sit well with me.  
        I also didn't like the way that Sam thought about girls at first. It seemed really demeaning to me, and I don't know if I am just sensitive or read at a time when self esteem is low, but I really hope that is not how guys think about girls. There was (to me) too much talk of sexual aspects and cursing--I can handle some, but not when it seems over the top.




    Bottom Line: It was just okay for me. A lot of deep woven in with elements I didn't like

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    AL

    LIKE OMGROFLILYSMOMGOMG

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    BL

    More! :D

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    Moone

    :c

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    Candy

    Your scaring me....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    Torn Apart part 2

    Brokens eyes widened as the knife gleamed in the very little sunlight that filtered through the attic roof. She tensed up as the knife lowered. She winced as the blade peirced her skin, drawing crimson blood. The Master cut up her back until he reached her neck. Blood dripped down her sides. "Your parents were right. You never will find love, you little brat!" He snarled as he walked out of the room. Tears streamed down her face like the blood dripped off her sides. In an attemt to stop the bleeding, she used her sheet as a bandage. She was used to being whipped, but cut? That had only happened once before. She had been working for this horrible stallion after her parents died last year. The parents who had tried to cut off the wings on her back. Her parents had always been disgusted by the leathery bat wings she somehow managed to get. They had hated her blood red eyes, the same eyes that wittnessed their death. Sniffling, the filly laid down on the cold wooden floor and closed her eyes. <p> Broken standing next to her mothers body , ashes and soot covering them both. Her mother glared at her. "You did this, you stupid filly! You will never-" the mare coughed. "Never find love. Nopony will ever love you..." her mothers voice faded as her eyes glazed over. Suddenly it was the day she was adopted. A stallion with a scruffy grey beard and a cigar in his mouth had taken her to his mansion. Broken was excited to live in a huge house. She saw the stallion reach for something... <p> Broken woke up gasping. Just before she was whipped along the back by her adopted father. The Master. Broken scrambled to her hooves, tears stinging the corners of her eyes. She followed him downstairs to where the other foals were. She joined the crowd and listened as the Master walked to the front. "Ok, today you worthless-" "If we're so worthless, then why do you keep us around, huh?" A colt, around 11 years of age shouted. The young earth pony had been fed up with being punished for doing nothing wrong. His outburst was met with tense silence, and a furious glare from the Master. Without a word, the colt was dragged down the stairs. Broken listened fearfully for any sign of what was going on downstairs. Suddenly there was a terrified scream.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    Vynx

    OH NO! And BTW, great story! <p>
    I can't remember what happened in September...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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