Summer Sisters

( 459 )

Overview

In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard's world changed forever—when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha's Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters. . . .

Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the ...

See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback)
$7.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (524) from $1.99   
  • New (17) from $1.99   
  • Used (507) from $1.99   
Summer Sisters: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard's world changed forever—when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha's Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters. . . .

Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin has begged Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—for the friend whose casual betrayals she remembers all too well. Because Vix wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart....

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Compulsively readable ... her powers are prodigious.” —New York Times Book Review

“As warm as a summer breeze blowing through your hair, as nostalgic as James Taylor singing ‘How Sweet It Is.’ You remember. So does Judy Blume. How sweet it was.”—Chicago Tribune

“An exceptionally moving story that can leave the reader laughing and crying ... sometimes at the same time.... Blume creates a rich tapestry of characters.”—Denver Post

Hartford Courant
Her writing sings.
Ruth Coughlin
Compulsively readable. . .her powers are prodigious. -- NY Times Book Review
Cosmopolitan
You'll love it like a sister.
Seattle Times
Blume catches perfectly the well-armored love between longtime female friends.
Denver Post
An exceptionally moving story. . .a rich tapestry of characters.
Library Journal
Blume's new novel for adults will appeal primarily to those who loved young adult novels when they were YAs themselves. Narrator Annabeth Gish's tone, unfortunately, is that of a jaded know-it-all (adults are soooo absolutely out of it). The story concerns rather implausibly a friendship begun when Caitlin and Vix (for Victoria) are 12. Caitlin, daughter of wealthy, divorced parents, declares that Vix, eldest daughter in a blue-collar family, will be her best friend. Caitlin invites Vix to spend the summer at the family home on Martha's Vineyard. Vix is taken in by Caitlin's family, who arrange for her scholarship to private school and then support her Harvard education. Summers on the Vineyard are filled with sun and adolescent sexual encounters. The girls' friendship endures betrayal, love for the same man, and diverging career paths. Gish's "attitude" is very wearing on the listener; it is a relief that this is a three-hour abridgment and not the entire book.--Nann Blaine Hilyard, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL
School Library Journal
Caitlin lives with her mother in Sante Fe, but spends summers on a New England island with her father, brother, and stepmother. Both parents give her free rein, and her beauty, independence, and talent for getting away with outrageous behavior make her an intriguing star to her middle school classmates. Victoria can't understand why Caitlin would single her out to be her "summer sister" on Martha's Vineyard as she sees herself as quiet and dull. She senses, though, that this vacation is an important turning point and convinces her conservative parents to let her go. The girls become fast friends, sharing six unforgettable summers together. The strength of the novel lies in the portrayal of those six seasons. The author provides an engaging tableau of teenage experiences, worries, and emotions. Together, the girls cope with their changing bodies, difficult family relationships, boyfriends, and concerns about their futures. After high school graduation, Victoria goes on to college and a career while Caitlin travels to Europe and spins out of control. She even marries Victoria's former lover and has his child before escaping to Europe. The end of the novel seems rushed but, overall, both the story and the girls will quickly capture readers' interest. The author's perceptive treatment of special childhood moments, the trials and joys of adolescence, and the magical possibilities of summer make this an entertaining read.- Mary Alice Giarda, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Seattle Times
Blume catches perfectly the well-armored love between longtime female friends.
The Denver Post
An exceptionally moving story. . .a rich tapestry of characters.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440226437
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 160,294
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy  Blume

Judy Blume's twenty-two books, including the New York Times bestsellers Wifey and Smart Women, have sold over sixty-five million copies worldwide and have been translated into twenty languages. She spends summers on Martha's Vineyard with her family.

Biography

Before Judy Blume, there may have been a handful of books that spoke to issues teens could identify with; but very few were getting down to nitty-gritty stuff like menstruation, masturbation, parents divorcing, being half-Jewish, or deciding to have sex. Now, these were some issues that adolescents could dig into, and Blume’s ability to address them realistically and responsibly has made her one of the most popular – and most banned – authors for young adults.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, published in 1970, was Blume’s third book and the one that established her fan base. Drawing on some of the same things she faced as a sixth grader growing up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Blume created a sympathetic, first-person portrait of a girl whose family moves to the suburbs as she struggles with puberty and religion. In subsequent classics such as Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Deenie, Blubber, and Tiger Eyes, Blume wrote about the pain of being different, falling in love, and figuring out one's identity. Usually written in a confessional/diary style, Blume’s books feel like letters from friends who just happen to be going through a very interesting version of the same tortures suffered by their audience.

Blume has also accumulated a great following among the 12-and-under set with her Fudge series, centering on the lives of preteen Peter Hatcher and his hilariously troublesome younger brother, Farley (a.k.a. Fudge). Blume’s books in this category are particularly adept at portraying the travails of siblings, making both sides sympathetic. Her 2002 entry, Double Fudge, takes a somewhat surreal turn, providing the Hatchers with a doppelganger of Fudge when they meet some distant relatives on a trip.

Blume has also had success writing for adults, again applying her ability to turn some of her own sensations into compelling stories. Wifey in 1978 was the raunchy chronicle of a bored suburban housewife’s infidelities, both real and imagined. She followed this up five years later with Smart Women, a novel about friendship between two divorced women living in Colorado; and 1998’s Summer Sisters, also about two female friends.

Blume has said she continually struggles with her writing, often sure that each book will be the last, that she’ll never get another idea. She keeps proving herself wrong with more than 20 books to her credit; hopefully she will continue to do so.

Good To Know

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was inspired by an article given to Blume by her babysitter about a toddler who swallowed a small pet turtle. She wrote a picture book introducing Fudge (based on her own then-toddler son), the turtle, and older brother Peter; but it was rejected. A few years later, E. P. Dutton editor Ann Durell suggested that Blume turn the story into a longer book about the Hatcher family. Blume did, and the Fudge legacy was born.

Blume is not an author without conflict about her station in life. She says on her web site that, as part of her "fantasy about having a regular job," she has a morning routine that involves getting fully dressed and starting at 9 a.m. She has also getting out of writing altogether."After I had written more than ten books I thought seriously about quitting," she writes. "I felt I couldn't take the loneliness anymore. I thought I would rather be anything but a writer. But I've finally come to appreciate the freedom of writing. I accept the fact that it's hard and solitary work."

Blume's book about divorce, It's Not the End of the World, proved ultimately to be closer to her own experience than she originally imagined. Her own marriage was in trouble at the time, but she couldn't quite face it. "In the hope that it would get better I dedicated this book to my husband," she writes in an essay. "But a few years later, we, too, divorced. It was hard on all of us, more painful than I could have imagined, but somehow we muddled through and it wasn't the end of any of our worlds, though on some days it might have felt like it."

Her most autobiographical book is Starring Sally J. Friedman as Herself, says Blume. "Sally is the kind of kid I was at ten," Blume says on her web site.

Blume keeps setting Fudge aside, readers keep bringing him back. The sequel Superfudge was written after tons of fans wrote in asking for more of Farley Hatcher; again more begging led to Fudge-a-Mania ten years later. Blume planned never to write about Fudge again, but grandson Elliott was a persistent pesterer (just like Fudge), and got his way with 2002's Double Fudge.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      New York's Upper East Side, Key West, and Martha's Vineyard
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 12, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Elizabeth, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.S. in education, New York University, 1961
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Prologue
Summer 1990


The city is broiling in an early summer heat wave and for the third day in a row Victoria buys a salad from the Korean market around the corner and has lunch at her desk. Her roommate, Maia, tells her she's risking her life eating from a salad bar. If the bacteria don't get you, the preservatives will. Victoria considers this as she chomps on a carrot and scribbles notes to herself on an upcoming meeting with a client who's looking for a PR firm with an edge. Everyone wants edge these days. You tell them it's edgy, they love it.

When the phone rings she grabs it, expecting a call from the segment producer at Regis and Kathie Lee. "This is Victoria Leonard," she says, sounding solid and professional.

"Vix?"

She's surprised to hear Caitlin's voice on the other end and worries for a minute it's bad news, because Caitlin calls only at night, usually late, often waking her from a deep sleep. Besides, it's been a couple of months since they've talked at all.

"You have to come up," Caitlin says. She's using her breathy princess voice, the one she's picked up in Europe, halfway between Jackie O's and Princess Di's. "I'm getting married at Lamb's house on the Vineyard."

"Married?"

"Yes. And you have to be my Maid of Honor. It's only appropriate, don't you think?"

"I guess that depends on who you're marrying."

"Bru," Caitlin answers, and suddenly she sounds like herself again. "I'm marrying Bru. I thought you knew."

Victoria forces herself to swallow, to breathe, but she feels clammy and weak anyway. She grabs the cold can of Diet Coke from the corner of her desk and holds it against her forehead, then moves it to her neck, as she jots down the date and time of the wedding. She doodles all around it while Caitlin chats, until the whole page is filled with arrows, crescent moons, and triangles, as if she's back in sixth grade.

"Vix?" Caitlin says. "Are you still there? Do we have a bad connection or what?"

"No, it's okay."

"So you'll come?"

"Yes." The second she hangs up she makes a mad dash for the women's room where she pukes her guts out in the stall. She has to call Caitlin back, tell her there's no way she can do this. What can Caitlin be thinking? What was she thinking when she agreed?

Four weeks later Caitlin, her hair flying in the wind, meets Victoria at the tiny Vineyard airport. Victoria is the last one to step out of the commuter from LaGuardia. She'd spotted Caitlin from her window as soon as they'd landed but felt glued to her seat. It's been more than two years since they've seen each other, and three since Victoria graduated from college and got caught up in real life—a job, with just two weeks vacation a year. No money to fly around. Bummer, as Lamb would say when they were kids.

"Going on to Nantucket with us?" the flight attendant asks and suddenly Victoria realizes she's the only passenger still on the plane. Embarrassed, she grabs her bag and hustles down the steps onto the tarmac. Caitlin finds her in the crowd and waves frantically. Victoria heads toward her, shaking her head because Caitlin is wearing a T-shirt that says simplify, simplify, simplify. She's barefoot as usual and Victoria is betting her feet will be as dirty as they were that first summer.

Caitlin holds her at arm's length for a minute. "God, Vix . . ." she says, "you look so . . . grown up!" They both laugh, then Caitlin hugs her. She smells of seawater, suntan lotion, and something else. Victoria closes her eyes, breathing in the familiar scent, and for a moment it's as if they've never been apart. They're still Vixen and Cassandra, summer sisters forever. The rest is a mistake, a crazy joke.

Read More Show Less

Foreword

1. Do you see more of your personality in the character of Victoria ("Vix&") or Caitlin? Why? Do you see parallels in your relationships with your friends? Have you ever known a "Caitlin?" You might start by remembering best friends and what they've meant to you.

2. What is it about Vix that leads Caitlin to befriend her in the first place? That allows the friendship to flourish? What does Vix get from her friendship with Caitlin? What does Caitlin get from Vix? And what do each of them give?

3. What do you see as the source of the lasting bond between Vix and Cailtin? Why and how do they remain so close even as they grow apart and lead different lives? How do their expectations of each other change? Do you see similarities in your own long-term friendships? In what ways have they changed over time?

4. After Caitlin talks to Vix about Phoebe, Vix thinks, "You weren't always born to the right parents. And parents didn't necessarily get the kids they were meant to raise" (p. 98). Do you think Vix was thinking of her own parents, or Caitlin's? What does this say about how she feels about both sets of parents? Do you agree?

5. How did Vix's relationship with Abby and Lamb affect her relationship with her own family? How much different would her life have been if she hadn't developed such a strong bond with Caitlin's family? Would Vix have broken away from her background on her own, without her friendship with Caitlin?

6. How much do you think their respective backgrounds shaped Vix and Caitlin? Do you think their essential characters would have been the same if their situations had been reversed? How doyou think each would have operated in the world under reversed circumstances?

7. Could there ever have been a future for Vix and Bru? Was their breakup inevitable? Could she have married him and still fulfilled herself? Do you see any parallels between their relationship and your own first love?

8. Why does Caitlin pursue and marry Bru? What attracts her to the idea of settling down and having a child? Is this something you think she deliberately set out to do or did it just happen?

9. How can Vix forgive Caitlin for marrying Bru? When Caitlin abandons her daughter? When she disappears from their lives? Why doesn't Vix ask more questions about Caitlin's life away from her? Do you think she should have ended the friendship because of any of these events?

10. Judy Blume uses an unusual technique in her novel, allowing readers to get into the minds of many characters, yet she never allows us inside Caitlin. Why?

11. What drew you to each character? With which characters did you most sympathize? Which did you find less sympathetic? Why?

12. Was the ending inevitable or tragic? Are you able to agree on what really happened? How do you feel about the ambiguity of the ending?

Read More Show Less

Interviews & Essays

On Friday, May 29th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Judy Blume to discuss SUMMER SISTERS.


Moderator: Good evening, Judy Blume! Welcome to the Auditorium. How are you this evening?

Judy Blume: Hi, everyone! Thanks for coming to the chat. I'm ready!


Kiltey from Manhasset, NY: Ms. Blume, I grew up reading your books, and although I was too young ten years ago to be reading your adult novels, I am thrilled to have this one as an introduction and an opportunity to keep reading your books. Thank you! Who do you expect will be your audience for this book? Do you think they will be readers like me, who loved your books when we were younger?

Judy Blume: So far what I've found at bookstores as I travel cross-country are wonderful women -- those who grew up reading my books and are 20- and 30-something, and their mothers, sisters, and even grandmothers! I love you all and thank you, too!


Gail Morrison from Pompano Beach, FL: Hi, Judy Blume! I am so glad to see you online tonight! When I told all my friends about tonight's chat, they all had a similar gleeful response -- "Oh, I love Judy Blume!!" What do you think has given readers such a strong emotional commitment to you and your writing? (By the way, I too, love Judy Blume! Thanks for years of the best-time reading.)

Judy Blume: I wish I knew the exact answer! I think it has to do with identifying with my characters, with feeling less alone or less weird, and there's the emotion. I'm afraid if I figure it out it will be gone!


Barb Wagner from Milwaukee, WI: Are you planning more books for adults in the future? We certainly hope so!

Judy Blume: Hey, Barb...I sure hope so. I have a notebook filled with details about another large cast of characters, but when will I write it? And will I write it? There are still so many stories to tell, and my young readers want more books too! But thanks for caring.


Janine Johnston from New Rochelle, NY: Where did the idea for SUMMER SISTERS come from? What made you decide to write it?

Judy Blume: I'm never sure where ideas come from. I'm grateful they keep coming. I think my first summer on Martha's Vineyard inspired me. I thought "What if..."And then I got a picture in my mind of a wedding, and I was hooked. What took so long? A lot of other books and projects, not to mention a couple of moves and a grandchild!!


Oren B. from Cambridge, MA: I am looking forward to reading your new book, SUMMER SISTERS, although I don't know much about it. Could you tell us a bit about it in your own words?

Judy Blume: The story unfolds over a period of almost 20 years in the lives of two women, starting in 1977, when they're 12, and going through 1996, when they're 31. It's about a friendship more intense and longer lasting than many love affairs, though there is a love affair at the center. And it's about their relationships with family, lovers and...well, characters and relationships...that's my thing. Many adult voices help to tell their story, including the men and women closest to them. Can you tell I really care about Caitlin and Vix??


Halley from Boston, MA: I read that you spend your summers on Martha's Vineyard. Is this where you got the idea for SUMMER SISTERS? Did you spend summers at a vacation home when you were young?

Judy Blume: No...I went to summer camp, and I had summer friendships. But my best friend, to whom the book is dedicated, was really my school-year sister, not my summer sister. We do spend summers on the Vineyard now. I love it...can't wait to finish my book tour and run there.


Betsy P. from Nevada: What was it like to write an adult book after such a long time? Were you nervous? What is it like to switch over into adult fiction?

Judy Blume: It really isn't any different for me to write an "adult" novel. The process is the same. I just have to get inside the heads (and bodies!) of different age groups. I like to deal with the side of me that's a grown woman...from time to time, anyway.


Jillian Richardson from Ann Arbor, MI: How much of SUMMER SISTERS is autobiographical? Did you have a friend like this when you were young?

Judy Blume: Actually...SUMMER SISTERS isn't autobiographical at all. I think after 22 books you've pretty much used up your own life. It would get pretty boring. It's imagination...though all fiction writers call on their own experiences and emotions.


Maiya from Minnesota: How old were you when you were pretty sure you wanted to write, and how old were you when you first started writing or making up stories?

Judy Blume: I never thought about writing when I was growing up. Didn't know it was a possibility. But I always had stories inside my head...just didn't share them. The writing began when I was in my mid-20s at home with two little kids and needed (desperately) that creative outlet. Writing saved my life...really...physically and emotionally.


A Nosy Writer from Morrisville, NY: So, about this notebook filled with a cast of characters.... Is this notebook where your books start? Do you think of characters first, and then stories? Also, while I'm at it, what sort of notebook do you prefer? Lines? No lines? Spiral? (Sorry...just nosy! I love all your books, and I am looking forward to your latest.)

Judy Blume: The notebook could be anything. It doesn't matter to me. I don't start making notes until I'm pretty sure I want to write about these characters who, by now, have been on the back burner of my mind for a long time. So, yes...it does begin on paper here...but it's a mess. It would mean nothing to anyone else. I always think, If I die and someone finds this notebook what might they think? Thanks for looking forward.


Cory from Los Angeles, CA: My 11-year-old daughter, Cory, has read most of your books. Since she isn't here right now, I'd like to find out which of your young adult novels is your favorite and why...

Judy Blume: I never think of my books as young adult novels...maybe because there was no such category when I began to write. I guess FOREVER could be considered YA and possibly TIGER EYES, but I think of the others as books for young readers, or maybe it should be books about young readers. Which is my favorite? I don't know. My husband likes TIGER EYES. My son does too.


Mina H. from Hoboken, NJ: How long did it take you to write SUMMER SISTERS?

Judy Blume: It feels as if it's taken all my life! I was a tough one to get right. Maybe that's why I feel so emotionally close to the characters. A couple of years of writing -- maybe 20 drafts. Last summer is when it all came together, and you couldn't get me away from my writing cabin! It was an exciting birth!


Rose from New York: Judy, I just wanted to say that I love your writing!!! Thank you for so many wonderful books, and I can't wait to read SUMMER SISTERS!!! I would like to begin a career in writing. I am currently a high school teacher.

Judy Blume: Go for it! The funny thing about writing is I don't think you decide to do it. You wouldn't do it if you didn't have to. I always say, "This is it! I'm never going through this again." But after a while I do it anyway. It's inside me. I have no choice.


Bernie W. from Oakland, CA: I haven't read your new book yet, but I am very interested. It sounds like you have taken from the terrain of your books about adolescents, and then saw what happens when they grow up! Is this true? What draws you to write about these themes?

Judy Blume: I don't know, really. I never think about themes. I never know until I read in some review what the "themes" are in my books. I just get swept away by my characters. I do identify strongly with young people. No question.


Carrie Frank from Portland, OR: It seems you have helped shape the way people not only experience but also remember the most important times of their lives. What do you think of this, as a writer? Do you think it has given you added responsibility as a writer?

Judy Blume: I do feel responsible to tell the best story I can. To work until it feels as right as I can get it. And I feel responsible toward my younger readers, especially, to tell the most honest stories I can. But as a writer you have to put everything away in order to write. If you allow yourself to think, while you're writing, you can paralyze yourself. I once was so overwhelmed by responsibility toward the kids who were writing to me -- such needy kids -- I couldn't write fiction for three years.


Ben from Springfield, IL: I just finished reading SUMMER SISTERS, and it was terrific. A really great job. You always write so beautifully and honestly about relationships, but this book also explored questions of class, in a way, and it is different from your other novels in this manner.... What made you write about this?

Judy Blume: It does explore differences in class...in how we think of ourselves. Caitlin never gives money a thought. It's just a part of her life. Not that she or her family spend...it's just there for them. Vix comes from such a different background. She understands the struggle. I'm not taking sides, though I think the struggle makes life more interesting and sometimes more meaningful...and I wonder if Caitlin doesn't miss that struggle. Glad you liked the book.


John Crowfort from Athens, GA: It seems that women seem to be your audience, and yet I read everything I could get my hands on of yours when I was younger and loved them all! Do you write for a female audience?

Judy Blume: No. I write for anyone who finds my work interesting. Last night, in Seattle, I had an audience of about 125, many of whom were guys, and I was really glad to see them. SUMMER SISTERS has a lot of male characters. All the summers Caitlin and Vix are spending together, there are three guys in that house. That makes a big difference in their lives. I love the fathers in the book. I see their side as clearly as I do the women. So thanks!


Rosa from Canandaigua, NY: Hi Judy!!!!! What an honor to be chatting with you! I absolutely love your work!!! Thank you for being such an inspiration for me! And also for your new book...I love your adult novels!!!

Judy Blume: Thanks! And my readers are an inspiration to me! I am surely the luckiest writer in the world to have such a close connection to my readers...to have your support and encouragement over all these years. My husband, George, says whenever I feel down and wonder what I'm doing all I have to do is read my email. I hope you'll visit my web site sometime -- http://www.judyblume.com.


Barb Wagner from Milwaukee, WI: How is your book tour going? Have you been able to relax now and enjoy it, without worrying so much? I hope so!

Judy Blume: The book tour is exhausting, but I am actually enjoying it! I never thought that would be possible...plus I've got George with me on this leg, and he helps me stay sane...or as sane as I ever am! Thanks for caring, Barb.


Ronnie from Wisconsin: You have so greatly influenced all your readers, and you have been writing long enough that those same readers have now become writers! How do you feel about having influenced writers both of your own generation and those who have grown from reading you when they were young? How do you think you have influenced them? Have you noticed a change in the type of fiction that is being written since you began writing?

Judy Blume: I don't think about influencing writers...ever. Do you really think I have? I'm not so sure. Yes, there are all those first-person accounts in YA and kids' fiction. Sometimes I think I've said all I have to say to that audience, but then a new character will come along, and who knows...I'll have to tell her/his story. Besides, I have a grandchild who must have another Fudge book. (And I thought I'd never have to write about Fudge again!)


Maureen from Austin, TX: Could you tell us a bit about your experience with censorship? What led to opposition against your books, and what did you do to battle it? Have attitudes changed at all in recent years?

Judy Blume: It's worse now than it was in the '70s, when I began to write. Publishers are less likely to take chances on books that might cause controversy. Puberty has never struck me as controversial. It happens to everyone! I'd rather celebrate it than hide it in the closet. I work with the National Coalition Against Censorship. They're a wonderful group (check out their web site http://www.ncac.org). They are there to help any teacher, librarian, parent, or student under fire. Censorship preys on fear, and fear is contagious. Don't be afraid to stand up and speak out. Otherwise your right to choose what to read could be in jeopardy!


Mary S from Orland Park IL: Hi, Judy. When you are in the writing process do you know the middle and end of your stories? Or do the characters take on a life of their own and demand you go another way?

Judy Blume: What I know when I begin (or think I know) is where I'm beginning and where I'm going. Everything else happens along the way. I get to know my characters by writing about them in draft after draft. The first draft is pure torture. The middle is tough! But once I get a first draft, once I find "the voice," I can enjoy the process!


Maiya from Minnesota: I'm curious. Do you remember a moment when you went from not realizing writing was a possibility to deciding to write? If yes, was there a particular catalyst?

Judy Blume: I began with imitation Dr. Seuss books. I don't think there was a particular catalyst except my own very strong need to create. I had all that angst...writing allowed me to put it to good use.


Moderator: Thank you so much for joining us tonight, Judy Blume. It has truly been a pleasure, and we are always looking forward to your next book. (And yes, you must write another Fudge book!) We hope you will join us again. Before you go, do you have any closing comments for your readers?

Judy Blume: This has been wonderful for me! Thanks so much for joining me tonight. I feel as if we've been sitting around on the floor, having a real heart-to-heart. Wish I could keep going, but it's been a looooonnnngggg day, and my fingers (and mind) are quitting on me. Lots of love.


Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. Do you see more of your personality in the character of Victoria ("Vix&") or Caitlin? Why? Do you see parallels in your relationships with your friends? Have you ever known a "Caitlin?" You might start by remembering best friends and what they've meant to you.

2. What is it about Vix that leads Caitlin to befriend her in the first place? That allows the friendship to flourish? What does Vix get from her friendship with Caitlin? What does Caitlin get from Vix? And what do each of them give?

3. What do you see as the source of the lasting bond between Vix and Cailtin? Why and how do they remain so close even as they grow apart and lead different lives? How do their expectations of each other change? Do you see similarities in your own long-term friendships? In what ways have they changed over time?

4. After Caitlin talks to Vix about Phoebe, Vix thinks, "You weren't always born to the right parents. And parents didn't necessarily get the kids they were meant to raise" (p. 98). Do you think Vix was thinking of her own parents, or Caitlin's? What does this say about how she feels about both sets of parents? Do you agree?

5. How did Vix's relationship with Abby and Lamb affect her relationship with her own family? How much different would her life have been if she hadn't developed such a strong bond with Caitlin's family? Would Vix have broken away from her background on her own, without her friendship with Caitlin?

6. How much do you think their respective backgrounds shaped Vix and Caitlin? Do you think their essential characters would have been the same if their situations had been reversed? How do you think each would have operated in the world under reversed circumstances?

7. Could there ever have been a future for Vix and Bru? Was their breakup inevitable? Could she have married him and still fulfilled herself? Do you see any parallels between their relationship and your own first love?

8. Why does Caitlin pursue and marry Bru? What attracts her to the idea of settling down and having a child? Is this something you think she deliberately set out to do or did it just happen?

9. How can Vix forgive Caitlin for marrying Bru? When Caitlin abandons her daughter? When she disappears from their lives? Why doesn't Vix ask more questions about Caitlin's life away from her? Do you think she should have ended the friendship because of any of these events?

10. Judy Blume uses an unusual technique in her novel, allowing readers to get into the minds of many characters, yet she never allows us inside Caitlin. Why?

11. What drew you to each character? With which characters did you most sympathize? Which did you find less sympathetic? Why?

12. Was the ending inevitable or tragic? Are you able to agree on what really happened? How do you feel about the ambiguity of the ending?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 459 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(316)

4 Star

(74)

3 Star

(43)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(14)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 460 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Summer Sisters

    This book has, and always will be, one of my all-time favorites! For any woman who has expirienced the ups and downs of growing up female and just trying to find your place in this world. I adored both Vix and Caitlin and found myself struggling to choose which one I identified with. Am I the smart and serious Vix or the spontaneous care-free Caitlin? I finally realized that parts of both of them are inside of me as most of us have found from time to time. From their first sexual encounters to picking husbands, Vix and Caitlin take you along with them as they venture through life. This book is not supposed to have a plot or a real climax. It is realistic story about friendship, love, and growing up. A must-read for anyone who has been blessed to know the true ups and downs of friendship....and in the end, the importance of sisterhood.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Favorite all time book

    This is my favorite book. I have read this book too many times to count and always recommend it to my friends. I think this book should be made into a movie...

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 10, 2008

    juicy summer stories.

    Summer Sisters is a book that takes place in the late 1970¿s and early 1980¿s. It¿s a course of over six summers. The two main characters in the book are Victoria Leonard and Caitlin Somers. The book starts off with Victoria working in New York City at her job when she receives phone call from her long lost best friend Caitlin. The phone call consists Caitlin telling Victoria about her wedding and asking her to be her maid of honor. The story then goes into a flash back to where Caitlin and Victoria first meet. It was late spring in 1977 when Caitlin approached ¿Vix¿ in their 6th grade class. Caitlin was the new girl, and Vix was the shy quiet girl. Caitlin bluntly asks Vix to spend the summer with her and her father down in Martha¿s Vineyard. Caitlin immediately jumped to the offer. The girls started their first summer together getting to know each other. The rest of the summer consists of the two girls having their summer crushes and the summer stories that are not to be spoken of. Over the course of the summer the girls pledge to be summer sisters for life. Years pass and the girls continue to spend each and every summer together. The girls continue their friendship even through college where Vix has a boyfriend from the Vineyard. Years pass and their friendship begins to fade, until the day Vix receives the phone from Caitlin¿.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 26, 2011

    One of my favs

    One of my all time favorites. I try to read it atleast once a year.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 20, 2012

    I loved it!

    I reccomend this book. I didn't think i would like it but i did and i read it a lot!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Read it every summer

    I am an avid reader and each summer since I was fifteen I have read this book (usually as a three hour read at the beach.....) I love the way that she gets into each persons mind....

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 27, 2011

    Trashy Book

    I bought this book because of the postive reviews, but I was wrong. It starts off with these girls only 12 yrs old and and continues with one sexual escapade after another. I don't think a book about selfish, self absorbed is entertainment. Judy Blume book was the first I read and the last.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 21, 2013

    One of my favorites

    I have read this book several times great book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Amazing

    On the back if the book it seems funny ,but also real i cant wait to read it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 24, 2014

    Adore this book!

    I absolutely love this book! I have read it every summer for the past 10 years. It's my tradition of kicking off summer. This has every element of a fantastic read. I laugh, I cry, I finish the book within a day's time. Once I start reading this book, I cant stop until I reach the last page. I hight recommend this book. Contains slight mature content.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 8, 2012

    Great find while on vacation at bed & breakfast!

    So vividly real! Takes you back in time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2012

    Excellent summer read for any girl or woman. I first read this b

    Excellent summer read for any girl or woman. I first read this book on the beach about 14 years ago. I have read it every summer since. It is a story of friendship, love, and growth. Any female should be able to relate to this book in some way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Awesome book...

    Summer Sisters reminds you of that childhood friend you will never forget. I must admit this is one of my all time favorite books I read it atleast once a year and hope that maybe one day they can make this into a movie...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 8, 2011

    Great!

    One of the best books I've ever read. I felt like I was there. I couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 28, 2011

    Good Book( but not a favorite of Judy Blum's).

    I have all ways loved Judy Blume books. I grew up on them from Fudge and Peter who always made us laugh. As I got older her others I couldn't put down. I read this one this summer and I really didn't find my self lost in this book, like her others. It was a good book, but one I could put down after reading for a few hrs. I do recommend this book but it was not my favorite by Judy at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2011

    Awesome. A most read!

    This books starts off with two girls(vix and Cailtain) who become Summer Sisters. This is full of exictment and true feelings of true frienda who share just about everything. I too read so many books by Judy Blume as a younger girl. when I was in school someone got into a lot of trouble bringing this book in to class. I belive it was 7th grade. I saw this books at Sam's Club and just remembered this was the book. I just had to buy it. I love Judy Blume. I have to say this book suprised me towards the end. I did cry at the end. I loved both Caitlain and Vix so much. I was like Vix in some many ways. When you find a friendship like this, cherish it. So many people come into our hearts. I was always told that friends come in for a season and for a reason. so hold onto that friendship like they did. It is so important and to have a special friend who you can share things with, that you can not with anyone else. thank you judy for writing this book. It truly is one of my favorites as an adult. Loved Superfuge.....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 26, 2011

    A journey

    I loved this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2011

    my favorite book of all time

    judy blume is a fantastic author. i read this book at least once a year and it never gets old.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2011

    Good book!!!

    I grew up reading Judy Blume so I looked up some of her young adult/adult books. This book was a bittersweet read for me..... it reminded me of me and my best friend, and brought me back to the fun but emotional careless days of teenage-dom.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A childhood favorite

    This book has been a favorite since I was in the 8th grade. My best friend and I happened to stumble upon it and instantly fell in love. It's one of those books you can pick up and read again and again because it brings you back to that innocence and discovery you had when you were a child.

    This is a story of two incredible girls brought together to be friends for life. It's a story of summers, love, jealously, self-discovery, and most of all that everlasting friendship you will never be without.

    Here I am almost a decade later reading this book, enjoying the ride yet again. Feeling as if Vix and Caitlin both have found their way of showing through me. This is a book for all ages and you can enjoy it for years and years to come.

    This story is a perfect example of how okay it is to be different. Whenever I think of this book there is one line that often repeats in my mind. "NBO or die". :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 460 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)