June 1, 2010
After getting dumped by her boyfriend, sixteen-year-old Mia Gordon is looking forward to spending a relaxing summer in the Hamptons with her glamorous cousins. But when she arrives, her cousins are distant, moody, and caught up with a fast crowd. Mia finds herself lonelier than ever.
That's when she meets her next-door-neighbor, Simon Ross. Simon isn't like the snobby party boys her cousins seem obsessed with; he's funny, artistic, and utterly adventurous. And from the very first time he encourages Mia to go skinny-dipping, she's caught up in a current impossible to resist.
The Summer of Skinny Dipping is Howells' debut book and an absolute wonderful one. Mia's always been a bit of an outsider in her world and the only person who has really made her feel like it's okay to be herself is her cousin, Corinne. So when she founds out that she's going to be spending her summer vacation with her favorite cousin and her fairytale-storybook-happy parents, she can't wait! However, she quickly founds out that Corinne has changed, and not for the better.
Feeling alone and isolated, she meets Simon, which is her quirky neighbor and they strike up a somewhat odd friendship. Mia and Simon easily become really close, he understands her. Simon teaches Mia to be more spontaneous about life and soon enough, Mia founds herself having the best summer ever.
This is no fluffy beach read and I admit that at first, that's exactly what I thought it would be... And that's what I wanted. However, this is such a lovely story about a girl getting to know herself and while I wasn't prepared for the story, I more than enjoyed it. The Summer of Skinny Dipping is a highly romantic, funny and yes, tearful story about love and life and I'll definitely be checking out more of Howells' future books.
Lush Rating: 4!