The Summer of Us

The Summer of Us

by Holly Chamberlin

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780758278777
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 06/05/2012
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 184,323
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Holly Chamberlin was born and raised in New York City. After earning a Masters degree in English Literature from New York University and working as an editor in the publishing industry for ten years, she moved to Boston, married and became a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband now live in downtown Portland, Maine, in a restored mid-nineteenth century brick townhouse with Betty, the most athletic, beautiful and intelligent cat in the world. Readers can visit her website at:

Read an Excerpt

The Go-to Girl

The crisis was discovered at four forty-five in the afternoon. Fifteen minutes before ninety-nine percent of the staff hurried out of the building to enjoy their sixteen-hour vacation.

My boss, Mr. Bill Kelly, Kell for short, was frazzled. He didn't handle crisies well. What he did do well was delegate responsibility.

He came tearing into the center of our office area, what little hair he had on end, plaid shirttails untucked.

"Listen up, people. We have a problem. The idiots at the copy shop lost our proposal and we've got to recreate it. Now. It's got to be at the printer's tonight."

I watched the predictable reactions of my colleagues.

Curran, the senior designer, slipped out of the room backwards.

Norton, the copy editor, suddenly found the piece of blank paper he was holding extremely interesting.

Vera, the administrative assistant for our division, feigned a sudden hacking cough.

"Kell," she gasped, "I wish I could help, but I think I'm really sick. If I don't get home and into bed soon . . ."

Kell turned to me. "Gincy, you'll stay, right?"

"It's gotta get done," I said, shooting my coworkers a look of disgust. "I'm here."

That's me. The go-to girl. Virginia Marie Gannon.

I guess I got my work ethic from my father, though our choices of work couldn't be more different.

Dad manages a hardware store, the small, privately owned kind that monsters like Home Depot have mostly put out of business.

I'm the senior editor of the monthly publication sent to subscribers of a public television station here in Boston.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure how much of a choice my father had when it came to a career. He didn't go to college. When I was about twelve I heard a rumor from a cousin that he'd never even finished high school.

To this day I don't know the truth about that. I'd never ask Dad straight out. It would embarrass him, and though my parents aren't my favorite people in the world, I treat them with respect.

It's what you do. Work hard and respect your parents. In that way, I'm a typical Gannon. In other ways? Not so much.

Anyway, the job got done and at six thirty-five I left our office on Bowdoin Street.

By the time I raced through the door of George, An American Cafe, it was almost seven o'clock. The place was a cemetery.

"Where is everybody?" I barked to the dimly lit room. 'There's nobody here!"

A dark-haired girl about my age stepped away from the bar. I noticed she had breasts the size of Pamela Anderson's. Almost.

How can you not notice something like that?

"Uh, hello?" she said. "We're here. Me and -- Clare, right?"

Another girl, a blond one, all clean and healthy-looking, like she could star in a soap ad shot at a mountain spring or something, slipped off a barstool and joined the first girl. She nodded and looked at me warily.

Okay, maybe she had a reason to. I'd caught a glimpse of my hair in the window before charging through the door. It was pretty wild. I think I'd forgotten to comb it that morning.

I had, however, remembered to wash it. Which was more than I'd done the day before when I'd been up since four A.M. working on a report for Kell the Inefficient. Next thing I knew it was eight-thirty and if I'd stopped to shower I would have been late for a nine o'clock meeting.

You know how it is.

"So," I said. "I thought there was supposed to be a meeting here tonight. You know, to hook up with roommates. For a summer place. In Oak Bluffs."

"There was a meeting," the dark-haired one drawled, "but it seems it was over at, like, six-oh-five. By the time I got here at six-thirty, everyone had already hooked up."

She nodded toward the girl next to her. "Except for Clare. And me. I'm Danielle, by the way."

"Hey. Gincy."

"That's an unusual name," Danielle said flatly.

"Yeah," I answered flatly. "It is."

The one named Clare stuck out her hand and I stared at it. She let it drop.

"One girl told me all the good houses are taken," she said. She sounded apologetic. "I think you're supposed to rent them by February or March and then look for housemates. Not the other way around. I didn't know."

I propped my fists on my hips. What there was of them.

I tend toward the skinny.

"Crap," I said. "Well I didn't know, either!"

Danielle heaved this big dramatic sigh. "None of us did," she said. "I guess."

I was seriously disappointed. I really wanted the summer to be something special.

And then, inspiration struck.

"Wait," I said. "All of the good houses might be taken but that doesn't mean there aren't still bad houses to rent. Right?"

"I suppose," Clare said doubtfully.

"A bad house?" Danielle rolled her eyes. I noted she was wearing a lot of eye makeup. Personally, I'd owned the same tube of mascara for three years. "See, I don't like the sound of that," she went on. "That means, like, a bathtub but no shower, right? Ceiling fans but no central air?"

I guffawed.

Ms. Fresh Mountain Air tried to hide a smile. "It might be worth taking a look," she said. "I . . . I kind of had my heart set on this."

There was a beat of silence and then I said, "Well, what's it gonna be? Are we going to do this or what?"

"Well, I'm not spending the entire summer in the city," Danielle declared fiercely. "The grime is murder on my skin. And speaking of murder, I just read in the Globe that street crime has like, tripled from last year. And you know how they get in the hot weather."

I narrowed my eyes. "How who gets?"

Danielle looked at me incredulously. "Duh. Criminals?"

Okay, I thought. But I'm watching closely for any signs of bigotry.

"I'm allergic to cigarette smoke," Clare said suddenly.

I eyed her keenly.

"Well," she admitted, "not allergic, exactly. It's just that I don't like it. It gives me headaches."

Danielle nodded. "And cigarette smoke stinks up my hair, not to mention my clothes. No smoking in the house. Agreed?"

I considered this.

Truth was, I wasn't a big smoker. I was kind of a social smoker. A wimpy smoker. It was the only thing about me that was wimpy. I could live with a no-smoking rule.

Still, I kind of hated to let things go.

I kind of liked to win. It was one of my more obnoxious traits. "What about on the porch?" I countered. "If there is one. Or in the yard?"

Danielle and Clare discussed this with eye language and then Danielle nodded. "All right. But if the smell starts getting in the house . . ."

"Yeah, yeah, fine. Anyway, we're jumping ahead making house rules before we even have a house."

Clare didn't answer but checked her watch for about the tenth time.

"Hot date?" I asked.

She blushed and hefted off a barstool what I realized was a suit in a plastic dry-cleaners' bag. "Oh, no! I have a boyfriend. He's working late tonight. We live together. I just want to get home before he does. You know."

I didn't at all know, but shrugged. "Fine. We'll hammer out the rules later."

"Good, because I want to watch something on Lifetime at eight," Danielle said.

She suggested a time, date, and place for us to meet for an excursion to the Vineyard; we each promised to bring any rental listings we found and Clare said she'd make an appointment with an Oak Bluffs real estate broker.

After we'd exchanged phone numbers and e-mail, the odd couple left and I gratefully settled at the bar and ordered a beer and a plate of nachos. I hadn't eaten all day. The six cups of coffee I'd drunk were eating away at the lining of my stomach. I could hear them munching.

So could the bartender, who after a particularly loud growl gave me a funny look.

I smiled sweetly. "If you could hurry with those nachos?"

I'd always hated snobs.

Maybe because I grew up among people whose idea of culture was a monster-truck rally followed by super-sized sugar drinks at the local DQ.

I was pretty sure half of the residents of my hometown -- which I not so fondly called DeadlySpore, New Hampshire -- were related. I guessed for some people, inbreeding was a goal; incest, something to kill the slow passing of rural time.

The evidence was clear, at least to me. Every single class in our local grammar school and high school had at least one member of the extensive Brown family.

Maggie Sullivan was a Brown.

Bobby Manigan was a Brown.

Petey Ming, who looked as Asian as his last name, was a Brown; I don't know how, exactly, but he was.

Basically, you threw a rock, you hit a Brown.

Copyright © 2004 Elise Smith

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The Summer of Us 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
kylong-73 More than 1 year ago
The Summer of Us was a very good book. This was the first time I had read a book by the author and I truly enjoyed reading this book, I had a hard time putting this book down. The characters were interesting and funny. I found myself invested in the characters and wanting the story to continue. I would recommended this book. Read this book while on vacation or just for fun reading.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Gincy Gannon, Danielle Leers and Clare Wellman share little in common except knowing that their next birthdays mean they turn into thirty year old geezers. Each decides to spend their last youthful summer in the Cape rather than become ancient spinsters in overheated Boston. They turn up late at a room matching session at Oak Bluffs so the threesome by default become summer roommates though they never met before. Gincy comes from a small New Hampshire town that she left without a look back. Currently she works as a senior editor with Boston PBS. A loner, she has doubts about roommates. Danielle comes from a wealthy Manhattan family. She knows she is pretty, intelligent and deserves the happiness and love of an upper crust husband that she plans to catch this summer.---- Clare is engaged to attorney Winchester Carrington III after a decade together. She has major doubts about becoming Mrs. the third. This summer solace she seeks to find the ¿vanished¿ Clare. Roommates do not necessarily mean friendship. However, a support group bond forms as each of these turning geriatric women search for their inner essence while hoping to find love in the dunes.---- Chick lit fans will take pleasure in THE SUMMER OF US due to the strong characterizations. The three lead protagonists, who rotate first person narration, learn over the most wonderful summer of their lives that they have much in common. Each of these slightly flawed but feisty protagonists seeks fulfillment, love and happiness, which leads to a camaraderie. Holly Chamberlin¿s delightful buddy tale contains depth much deeper than the surface sunburn that the sub-genre often furbishes to readers.---- Harriet Klausner
ethel55 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Three dissimilar young women from Boston come together at a roommate meet and greet and decide to rent a house for the summer on Martha's Vineyard. Gincy is hard, Danielle a fashionista and Clare on the way to becoming a Stepford mold for her new fiancee Win. Somewhat predictably, the run-down cottage serves as a commonality between these three, who forge a friendship with each other. The book moved a little slow in parts for me, and unfortunately, I have read several other books this summer with a similar premise. It was a good read, just nothing terribly special about it for me.
kindergirl on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I had to make myself keep reading this until about 2/3 through, then I was curious enough to want to know how these three distructive and unlikeable characters ended their respective dramas. A book should get you interested in at least the first chapter, if not the first few pages. This book, however, takes a nontraditional approach and instead of "Chapters 1 though # you get a short looks of a few pages at a time from a different character's perspective, so you had to keep reading beyond that first couple pages to try and give it a chance. It was often confusing just who the "I" was referring to, and I would have to glance at the title of the mini "chapter" to see who it was. It did make sense to do that though - if you're going to have three equally "main" characters, you need to skip around to their personal scenarios. I did find the three girls sudden friendship a little hard to buy - they had nothing in common, and in fact, were quite clear that they didn't even like each other, then all of a sudden they were bosom buddies. A girl I've only known a few months will not know me well enough to help me plan a wedding, thank you. I did like that not everyone's story ended up in a neat, happy package - at least, not the neat, tidy happy package I expected. With that said, I"ll not be re-reading this, and won't be passing it on to anyone else.The cover bothers me, too - I get that each pair is supposed to represent each of the three characters, but the characters don't neatly fit into a certain pair. Danielle is the red, fluffy heels, but Gincy needs a ratty pari of tennis shoes - or Keds - not the pristine and PINK tennis shoes on the cover. And the blue sandals I suppose are for Clare, but they didn't seem to go with her dishwater personality either. The cover is cute, though, even if it doesn't go wtih the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gives beach reading a bad name. It was total literary pap, lacking any depth or substance. Since I was preparing to leave on a trip with friends from grade school, I was attracted to this book. When you are reading a good book you care about the characters and want to find our what happens to them. This book did neither and I finally threw it away after 200 pages. This is a book about cheap, shallow women looking for hook-ups. Skip it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jbarr5 More than 1 year ago
The Summer of Us by Holly Chamberlin Gincy, Danielle, and Claire all come together for the summer and rent a house on Martha's Vineyard. They only have the weekends and they find when they first get there they do not really have anything in common. As time goes on they learn about one another to the point they help each other out. There are very short chapters, some as short as 3 pages long. A lot of life events occur and they deal with them in one way or another. They are all single, one engaged to be married and one can be her wedding planner. They all come from different backgrounds and religions. What they find on the island with the time they do spend together makes them as close as sisters. Really a good read about the under 30 aged women, its about 457 pages long with an excerpt of Last Summer. They come to also realize that they can see themselves in others and a change is needed, to risk it all, take the next step. I rate this a 4 out of 5 because of the friendship gained and how they got there, and all the descriptive travel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mileyb More than 1 year ago
For me this was a mindless beach/summer read. The characters were each different but they interacted in a strange way and they seemed slightly flat or unbelievable to me. There were so many smaller stories going on that I dont think any one of them was done fully. It was OK for me...not one I would recommend buying.
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lfdavis8 More than 1 year ago
I liked the book but was ready for it to end. Not enough excitement for me?
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